Fitspiration. Body positivity. Thin shaming. Fat shaming. Thinspiration.
The words we use are powerful. They affect every aspect of our relationship to ourselves and the world we live in. Most weight-loss blogs focus on just one part of a weight-loss journey: losing weight.
But consider some synonyms for losing weight from Word Hippo: starve, pauperize, depreciate, deflate, depress. Faced with these words, why would anyone want to undergo that trauma?
Enter Authentically Emmie, a body positive fitness blog written by Emily Ho. Emily is a professional writer who has chronicled her struggle with weight and weight loss, starting with her first blog in 2009. Named “Skinny Emmie,” that blog has since changed from a weight-loss focused blog into what it is today: the beautiful story of a journey of self-acceptance and love that centers on health and wellness rather than appearance and judgment.
But this transformation was neither quick nor easy, and Authentically Emmie reflects all of the challenges and triumphs of Emily’s journey. From her struggles with binge eating to a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s, a thyroid disorder that affects the immune system, Emily has learned what it means to suffer through cycles of weight gain and loss. She shares what she has learned with her blog readers, in public appearances, and on social media, including Instagram.
A recent sponsored post for a lingerie company typifies Emily’s message: loving yourself is not tied to weight or appearance. Seems counterintuitive to couch that in terms of lingerie, and Emily expressed her trepidation about doing the photo shoot and whether or not what she feels would match what she sees:
“I just want the photos to match how confident and beautiful I finally feel on the inside. My body image and reality never match, and the last thing I want to do is have worked so hard on my body image to only see flaws reflected back.”
And the result?
“I saw photo after photo of sarcasm and side-eye (2 of my default faces), lots of laughter, body rolls, faded stretch marks, and a round belly. None of which made me feel bad. Quite the opposite – I saw confidence and beauty that even at a much smaller size, I’ve never been able to recognize. My outside matches how I feel on the inside. Imperfect and flawed, but also strong, accomplished, resilient, and beautiful.”
This honest expression of her doubts and fears, right alongside of her reflections on what it means to truly love yourself are what make Authentically Emmie a blogger we love. Emily’s posts encourage readers to meet themselves where they are. There is no place on her blog that doesn’t radiate positive, healthy motivation, love, and understanding.
That’s not to say that Authentically Emmie doesn’t include frustration or challenges. In a picture-filled post that features natural wonders, Las Vegas-style entertainment, and plenty of food, Emily shares how she celebrated her “divorceaversary” with her first trip to Nevada. Authentically Emmie actively combats stereotypes as she explores, travels, and enjoys everything life has to offer.
It can be easy to take all of the sponsored posts for granted and just assume that Emily is getting paid to write positive things about products, but even here Authentically Emmie stands apart from other blogs of this type. Oprah recently discovered Authentically Emmie and featured Emily’s tips for weight loss and healthy living. This was a big boost for the blog, but one of the things we love most about this blog is right there in the name. The mission of Authentically Emmie is to foster body positivity, and even though Emily is featured on Oprah’s website and may see a big boost in blog traffic, Emily doesn’t let Oprah off the hook when it comes to Oprah’s focus on weight loss as a way to feel better about yourself.
Emily is authentic down to the core, pointing out that weight loss is not imperative for feeling good about yourself. Many bloggers might pander to the sponsor or the link to a famous person, but Authentically Emmie doesn’t go that route, choosing instead to re-emphasize that body positivity can occur at any number on the scale.
The body positivity movement is relatively new but building momentum as research grows as to what it means to be healthy. Body positivity defines a healthy body weight not using body mass index (BMI) as an arbitrary measure but as:
“[The] weight your body is when you are living a reasonable life. It is the weight at which your unique body seems to ‘settle’ when you are not obsessing about food and exercise. It is the weight your body may try to ‘defend’ if you diet, or (conversely) if you eat more than your body is hungry for.”
Authentically Emmie embraces this definition and shares the experience of one woman who has shed the typical definitions of health and beauty to find her own authentic experience of loving the body she is in.