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Can we be kinder to our bodies in 2021?

By:
Monika Sidhu (@funkymonk_)

When the hot girl prophet Megan thee Stallion went on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert last month, she explained where the premise for her TikTok famous song “Body” had come from: 

“In the beginning of Quarantine, I felt like I definitely gained the quarantine 15, and I was literally in the living room looking at myself like “wow, girl, you really done it. What are you even eating? Why are you baking so much? How many honey buns can we eat?!” I was looking at myself in the mirror and I was like ‘you know what? You look good though, we should dance about it.” 

“The hook came from me dancing in the mirror admiring my fluff -- that’s how we wrote the song,”

Megan’s words resonated with me that day. 

In fact, it felt like somewhat of a sign. Up until that point, I realized that for the entirety of the pandemic, I had been fighting myself and my toxic thoughts about my own weight gain -- and I know I was not alone.

Initially, with so many private gyms switching to Zoom or IG Live, and with so many personal trainers starting to offer home workout options, I figured it would be reasonable to keep up with my fitness routine and keep going with business as usual. 

But as the pandemic progressed, and the true weight of its accompanying stress and tests became apparent, I was quickly proven wrong. 

During a time that gyms have been operating at limited capacity or outright closing down, and when ordering comfort food has become an honourable way of supporting local businesses, the reality of not being able to maintain my existing health and fitness became overwhelmingly clear. 

But upon my random decision to tune into the Late Show that night, I stopped and thought to myself, why can’t I also “embrace my fluff?” 

The truth was that while I could embrace my fluff, I just wasn’t doing it.

Instead, I was comparing myself to others and judging myself for my own shortfalls in comparison.

However, upon seeing the Houston rapper speak about celebrating herself rather than bringing herself down, I knew it was time to reconsider my bad attitude. 

***

The insecurity or “fear” of weight gain has followed many of us since the beginning of the pandemic, when we first heard the term “quarantine 15” being thrown around -- not unlike the idea of the “freshman 15,” which insinuates weight gain tied to comfort, new setting and/or negligence. 

There has also been a sentiment circling online since the beginning of the pandemic, that if you’re not taking advantage of this time off, especially to better yourself or your body, then you’re never going to get anything done. 

If we tie all of this in with being overwhelmed by images of perfect bodies all over social media,  it can be pretty easy to not be so kind to yourself. 

In fact, when expressing my newfound kindness for myself and my body for helping me get through a pandemic, I was met with objections that I should be striving for the body and work ethic of my old self. I was told I shouldn’t settle based on my new found body positivity. 

However, reflecting on this reminded me that my old self was also a person who wasn’t happy with her body.

I look back at my pictures from when I was at the alleged “top” of my fitness game, and I quickly become very torn. 

That version of myself would make sure to workout a minimum of four times a week and somehow always found the energy, but that version of me also didn’t feel as if she was ever thin enough. 

That version of me would torture her mind over the extra calories consumed for the day, and more importantly, that version of me was simply not happy with herself.

If anything, the pandemic and this lockdown has made me more aware of these negative feelings that I used to have towards my body.

So why is it that finding happiness in our bodies is viewed as settling? Isn’t that what we should be striving for?

This sentiment came back up as Buzzfeed released their Body Week series this past week, which is a collection of writers speaking on their own journeys with their bodies. 

Writer Scaachi Koul contributed two pieces to the series: one documenting her experience with tights intended to make your butt look bigger, and another speaking on why the 1,200 calorie diet needs to be left in the past.

While both of the articles resonate with me, reading the latter impacted me the most. 

Unfortunately, a  lot of women can attest to the stress of feeling like they need to keep their calorie intake within 1,200 calories, especially with the added pressures of social media. Koul’s piece was an honest and vulnerable account that so many can relate to. 

While the piece was quite obviously about ditching this diet, Koul herself had to tweet out asking readers to stop trying to give her diet tips.


It was another clear cut example that even when we chose to stop policing our own bodies with such scrutiny, some other jackass is always going to try to do it (I know a few aunties who are always going to take a jab at my weight no matter what), but it’s about finding the confidence within ourselves. 

It’s about allowing ourselves the room to be human. 

***

Two days ago, Megan dropped a VLOG on her Youtube channel titled “Hottie Bootcamp - Thee last cheat meal.” 

At first, before watching, I hoped there wouldn’t be any messaging that insinuated anything other than continuing to love oneself. 

I was nervous she might retract some of the body positivity statements that she had made only a month earlier. 

But, of course, the Hot Girl never disappoints. 

The video appears to be the first of several documenting Megan’s health journey going forward.

After indulging in some of her fried favs she addresses her fans, “this journey isn’t necessarily about me losing weight, this is about me getting healthier in general and me seeing how I can transform my body in the healthiest way possible."

This quote was also the caption to her Insta post promoting the video and is another way that Megan was speaking positively to her fans and reinforcing that it’s about maintaining a healthy life above anything else.

Like Megan, I am going into 2021 hoping to incorporate a more consistent level of fitness back into my life. This time, however, I want to focus on my health, and not my past obsession with gaining weight.

In 2021, we have no idea what’s ahead of us. But the very least we can do is be kinder to ourselves and not feel indebted to unrealistic standards -- especially during a pandemic. 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

About the Author: Monika Sidhu is a freelance multimedia journalist based out of Brampton,ON. She loves covering all things arts and culture and enjoys telling untold stories coming out of her community. Monika recently graduated from Western University receiving a Master’s of Media in Journalism and Communication. In her off-time, you can find her discovering new music, spending time with her dogs or hiding the fact that she is binging reality tv shows.

5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.

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