Embracing the Truth Behind Obesity in Body Positivity

Embracing the Truth Behind Obesity in Body Positivity


The body positivity social movement that encourages acceptance of all body types, has been a beacon of hope for many. It promotes self-acceptance regardless of body color, shape, weight, or function. While this mindset is empowering, it can sometimes overshadow the physical implications of conditions like obesity and chronic overweight states. The complex relationship between body positivity and being overweight, the difference between overweight and obese, and the potential consequences of body positive quotes will be covered. How we can navigate this landscape with a balanced perspective approach

Body Positivity and Obesity: The Media's Role

In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the representation of obese and overweight women in the media, more so than men. This can be attributed to the societal pressure women face regarding their physical appearance. By featuring more diverse body types, the media aims to challenge conventional beauty standards and promote body positivity. It's essential to remember that obesity affects both genders and the health risks remain the same regardless of gender. 

This approach has its pros and cons. On the beneficial side, it helps to break down harmful stereotypes and encourages self-acceptance. On the other hand, it can inadvertently promote unhealthy lifestyles if not balanced with the promotion of regeneration of the body. Body positive quotes like “feeling beautiful has nothing to do with what you look like” can be taken to the extreme, making obesity seem acceptable. It can seem like the body positivity movement promotes obesity, but this is a misinterpretation. 

Body positive quotes like the picture shown below may have the unintended risk of being interpreted that obesity is acceptable if a person feels good about their body image. 

Image by Freepik

Prolonged states of obesity can put unnecessary strain on joints, leading to wear and tear. This can potentially cause more serious conditions such as Class 3 obesity, the most severe form of obesity. With the increasing normalization of being overweight and potentially class 3 obesity in the movement, it's crucial to understand the implications and the need for a balanced perspective. 

Image by macrovector on Freepik

Understanding The Difference Between Overweight and Obese 

Obesity and being overweight are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Overweight refers to an excess amount of body weight that can come from muscle, bone, fat, and water. Obesity specifically refers to an excess amount of body fat. The difference between overweight and obese is measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI), an imperfect but useful indicator of body fat levels. Class 3 obesity, also known as severe or morbid obesity, is characterized by a BMI of 40 or higher and can lead to serious health complications.1 

Different weight types are classified by the following BMI ranges:

  • Underweight: Less than 18.5.
  • Normal weight: 18.5 to 24.9.
  • Overweight: 25 to 29.9.
  • Class 1 obesity: 30 to 34.9.
  • Class 2 obesity: 35 to 39.9.
  • Class 3 obesity: Greater than 40.1 

The Underlying Causes of Obesity

Obesity is not just about overeating or lack of exercise but can be a complex condition with multiple contributing factors including genetics, environment, and lifestyle. It's a symptom of a larger issue, often tied to our indoor sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy dietary habits. 

Chronic states of being overweight or obese put a significant strain on the body, especially the joints, heart, and other vital organs. This is not sustainable in the long term and can lead to a host of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Image by macrovector on Freepik

A Balanced Approach to Body Positivity

Body positivity should not be about glorifying obesity or being overweight. It should instead be about promoting self-acceptance while also encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. It's about recognizing that our worth is not defined by our weight or size, but also understanding that our health matters. Body positive quotes may provide short term results for a person's mentality but long term may breed complacency.

Looking at one's weight objectively is a crucial first step. This involves understanding the difference between overweight and obese, recognizing the health risks associated with each, and taking steps to address them. Prolonged states of obesity can put unnecessary strain on joints, leading to wear and tear. This can potentially cause more serious conditions such as Class 3 obesity, the most severe form of obesity.

Image by storyset on Freepik

Looking at Weight Objectively: A Functional Patterns Perspective

FP is a training system that prioritizes health and function, and offers an alternative perspective on weight management. It emphasizes the importance of movement quality over quantity, promoting sustainable weight loss. FP encourages individuals to look at their weight objectively to focus on optimizing humans primary functions of standing, walking, running, and throwing. We have found that vanity follows function as it relates to training the body this way. 

We champion the idea of delayed gratification through The Movement Elimination Protocol to improve standing posture and walking or running efficiency instead of other forms of intense training. We advocate for moderation and impulse control as part of a sustainable approach to weight management.


Body positivity is a powerful movement that has done much to challenge societal beauty standards and promote self-acceptance. However, it's crucial to remember that being body positive doesn't mean ignoring the potential health implications of conditions like class 3 obesity and chronic overweight states. The difference between overweight and obese can mean a significant increase in the risk of comorbidities.  

"Health is not about the weight you lose, but about the life you gain" is one of many body positive quotes worth remembering as we navigate our body positivity journey. Let's strive to accept our bodies while also consistently taking care of our health and controlling our impulsivity.

For more insights and guidance on weight management, check out The Functional Podcast or Functional Patterns Results.

Learn more about Functional Patterns and weight management in the following resources: 


  1. Cleveland Clinic. “Class III Obesity (Formerly Known as Morbid Obesity).” Cleveland Clinic, 2022, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21989-class-iii-obesity-formerly-known-as-morbid-obesity.
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