387-When Body Positivity Doesn’t Work

by | Apr 15, 2024

When Body Positivity Doesn’t Work

When Body Positivity Doesn’t Work

Body positivity has become a popular movement in recent years, with the goal of helping people feel confident and comfortable in their own skin. However, for many of us, the concept of “body positivity” has fallen short in achieving its intended purpose. In this podcast episode, Brianna and I dive deep into understanding why body positivity doesn’t always work. We explore what can be done instead.

Understanding Body Image

The first step in unpacking this issue is to define what body image truly means. Brianna explains that body image is not just about how we see ourselves in the mirror. Rather, it encompasses four key aspects: perception, affect, cognition, and behavior.

It’s important for me to recognize that body positivity has been co-opted and distorted from its original roots. It started as a social justice movement led by fat, Black, and queer women. The modern interpretation of body positivity has often been reduced to simply “loving the skin you’re in.” This fails to address the deeper, systemic issues at play.

The Limitations of Body Positivity

One of the main reasons why body positivity doesn’t work for me is that it fails to address the core issue: societal pressures and ingrained beliefs that equate our worth with physical appearance. We, as women, have been conditioned by these forces to believe our value comes from how we look. This constant pressure makes true self-acceptance a difficult feat.

Furthermore, the pursuit of body positivity can sometimes be driven by a desire for safety and conformity, not genuine self-acceptance. Brianna eloquently exposes how diet culture has rebranded itself under the guise of “health and wellness,” while still clinging to the harmful narrative that thinness equals worth.

Rebuilding Self-Esteem

If body positivity is not the solution, what is? We move beyond body positivity by emphasizing self-esteem work. Brianna and I champion rebuilding our sense of value and worth outside the limitations of our physical bodies. This requires us to unpack the ingrained beliefs and narratives, and consciously choose a more holistic and empowering definition of our worth.

Motivation also plays a key role in this journey. I differentiate between feeling obligated (“having to”) to do something driven by shame and fear, versus truly desiring (“wanting to”) to do something fueled by self-love and autonomy. This mindset shift is critical for creating lasting, sustainable change.

Embracing the Journey

Ultimately, the work of healing our relationship with our bodies is an ongoing process. As Brianna states, “as long as we have a body, we will have to continue to pull back the layers.” The key is to approach this journey with compassion, patience, and a willingness to explore the deeper emotional and psychological aspects of our self-image.

Brianna (Bri) Campos (she/her), LPC, is a licensed mental health counselor based in New Jersey. As a body image educator and the founder of Body Image With Bri, she’s passionate about all things body image and practices through the lenses of Health at Every Size® and Intuitive Eating. She specializes in body image education including her unique framework on body grief.

What you’ll learn listening to this episode:

  • The true definition and origins of body positivity, and how it has been misinterpreted
  • Why body positivity alone is not an effective solution for healing our relationship with our bodies
  • The importance of rebuilding self-esteem and redefining our worth beyond physical appearance
  • The difference between “having to” and “wanting to” when it comes to self-care and wellness
  • The understanding that body image work is a lifelong journey, requiring ongoing self-exploration and growth

Mentioned in the show:

Free Resources and Training

Connect with our Guest:

Website – Bri Campos

Instagram – Bri Campos


Podcast Stephanie Dodier


I’m Stephanie Dodier – Non-Diet Nutritionist and Coach. I help women fight diet culture by reshaping their mind not their body. I have been hosting a million downloads podcast- It’s Beyond The Food for over 8 years and created the Going Beyond The Food Method™️, which was born from my own journey with a 25 years dieting career  and has since grown into a global movement.

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