We are inspired by the words and work of Melissa Toler, a Body Justice Advocate, Writer, Speaker, Educator, Anti-diet, & Weight-Inclusive.
She is a Warrior for Change!
Learn more about Melissa and her work here.
Follow her on IG at @melissadtoler
What inspired you to change the conversations our culture has around health/ beauty/ bodies?
I wanted to change the conversation because we're bombarded with these toxic messages and we accept them as our truth. They're not.
Over time I realized how toxic the beauty and health standards are to so many people, including myself.
How does that unfold in your life and your work?
Ever since I've started having conversations about body acceptance and diet culture, I feel like I've had a huge awakening.
I'm more aware of the fear and manipulation tactics that are used to get us to go against ourselves … to deny our own inherent beauty and worthiness.
It's opened up my creativity and desire to go deeper in this work.
What was one of the first steps you took toward body acceptance?
The first huge step was to do a media detox:
I cancelled all of my subscriptions to "health" magazines
I un-followed health and fitness social media accounts that perpetuated diet culture, and I replaced them with people who spoke about body acceptance and the messiness of being human.
This allowed me to slowly let go of the lie that bodies are only worthy at certain sizes.
What helps you to ground and stay in your power?
Even though I have a love-hate relationship with it, it's one of the things that reminds me that I'm beautifully human. The way the words come (or don't) help me stay engaged in my practice.
Writing helps me to get connected to myself and to discover things about myself and about the world.
WARRIOR FOR CHANGE
Who has inspired you and why?
I'm inspired by Desiree Adaway, who is an extraordinary truth-teller. She speaks the truth and doesn't hold back.
Becoming connected with her is what helped me to find my voice and be unapologetic about what I want to say.
What’s one nugget of truth you can leave us with?
One thing I believe deeply is that we all deserve to exist peacefully in our bodies … without having to change ourselves.