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The Militant Baker blog had a fun eight-year run, and you're welcome to peruse the archives if you like!

If you'd like to connect with me now, you'll find me:

  • Running Joy School, a group container for learning how to access more joy, authenticity, and connection through Patreon

You're also more than welcome to join my newsletter (a pretty straightforward way to stay in touch), and my IG lives here.

See you soon!


I'm unsure what I love most about this picture.

Maybe I love it because I'm not smiling and that's a rare thing to capture in a photo. It could be because there are magnificent rolls and stretchmarks that are unapologetically visible. It's possible that I love it because it speaks to the sentiment that "I'm fatter in real life" which makes me grin. Or, perhaps it has to do with the fact that my hair looks fucking phenomenal. More than likely, it's a combination of all of the above.

Regardless, I adore this image and I'm thrilled that I can view it through such a loving lens.

In all honesty, this is exactly the kind of picture I would have immediately deleted when I first started blogging, but things have changed in the last five years. I was unaware that my partner snapped it during one of our porch hangouts and when he showed it to me... I was stunned at how beautiful I found both myself and the image. Instead of being repulsed by my authentic body, I was entranced. This was an unexpectedly  pivotal moment for me.

It's striking in it's black and white contrast, sure. But I also loved how few boxes it checked when it comes to what we collectively imagine when we talk about "flattering" photos.

Sonya Renee Taylor, who founded The Body Is Not an Apology (seriously visit this site if you haven't already and buy her goddamn book too!) has been posting "unflattering pictures" for years and now hundreds of people have joined in on this "Bad" Picture Monday challenge.

Her reasoning behind this concept is simple: "Shame is ugly. YOU ARE GORGEOUS."

The "Bad" Picture Monday site explains:

If You Want To Talk About Physical Health, We’re Probably Going To Talk About Mental Health First

In March, I attended a “health and wellness” retreat for women held in a lodge that rests at the bottom of the Okemo mountains, surrounded by a forest and a few sleepy towns. As someone who is known for their immersion in body politics and mental health, I was invited to participate in their program in exchange for feedback. 

While I was in the back of a shuttle, driving up the icy, winding road to the lodge the night before the retreat started, the realization started to sink in that their primary focus was centered around treating binge-eating disorders and that there was definitely a chance that this could go horribly wrong. As I grabbed my bag out of the trunk, I inhaled and forcibly exhaled while shaking out my shoulders, in preparation for entering the building that hosted I program I knew very little about. My breath was hyper-visible in the freezing air while I silently berated myself — What the fuck did I sign myself up for?

Bright and early the following morning and still uncertain of everything, I settled into a cushioned wooden chair next to a fireplace for the first workshop of the week. I listened to the Clinical Director describe the 40-year-old institution’s history and their specialized focus. There was an immediate emphasis on how they pride themselves on always being sure that the latest science and innovation inform their programs. The director went on to detail that the co-owner holds multiple degrees, including a Bachelors in Psychology, a Masters in Nutrition, and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry & Metabolism. 

These sentiments rang with antagonistic familiarity in my ears.

They brought to mind the myriad of times that I've heard medical professionals use similar rhetoric to bolster their relevance, only to follow up their proclamations with the same outdated fatphobic and shame-based recommendations that have plagued our “health care” system for centuries. 

The science that proves that shame, bias, and stigma are catastrophically harmful in the long run (and that we are incorrect in how we assign “blame” to weight) has existed for quite some time.

Researchers documenting these findings have talked about the countless times they've shown pages and pages of evidence that contradicts old theories around weight and health in front of doctors and, almost without fail, the findings are disdainfully skimmed and quickly dismissed in the name of tradition.

I slumped slightly in my chair and resigned myself to a week of (at best) marginally progressive medical indoctrination; if I were lucky, perhaps I would hear a few updated findings, but I was still prepared to participate in workshops whose messaging would likely cling to what is socially respectable in our fatphobic culture. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.


When I read the tweet above from @MrsSarahAnn on Twitter, I was overjoyed to see someone normalizing an action that so many of us do in a simple and universal way. (True story: my therapist has actually "prescribed" more Netflix when I was going through a rough patch.)

The life-changing part for me, happened when I reposted this on my Instagram with my favorite shows* (she originally mentioned Friends) and the question: "Fellow Anxiety Identifiers, what do you watch/have on rotation?

(*I apologize to the hardcore GBBO fans who view calling it the "Great British Baking Show" or GBBS as sheer sacrilege; I have since repented and promise to sin no more!)

The responses blew me away. I watched lightbulb after lightbulb go off as folks listed their favorite "comfort blanket watches" in addition to their amazement that they weren't the only ones who did this particular action to relieve anxiety. Amongst the copious amounts of shows listed there were also innumerable comments like the ones below:

"Oh my gosh. I always felt like something was wrong with me for doing this. I suffer from severe anxiety and I’m so happy to see this is normal."

"This is me, I thought I was the only one!"

"This was exactly what I needed to see today! Sometimes, I feel really guilty for watching too much TV but it's the only thing that makes sense and the only way I feel better some days. I really appreciate that you posted this. It gives me permission somehow."

"Oh my goodness, it feels really good to identify this! I get annoyed with myself for binge watching tv shows or reading non-stop, but it really does help my anxiety to break out of my own life and worries and concentrate on a different story. This makes so much sense. Thank you!"

"Ugh you know those moments when some quirk you had as a child or teenager gets recast as an indication of the very real issues you're dealing with as an adult? ....yep."

And then there was one comment that summed it all up into one sentence: 

"I didn’t know this was a thing... I always just thought I had terrible coping skills."

As someone who has worked with countless individuals and assisting with the development of a list of coping skillsalso called survival strategies or wellness tools—I'm fairly accustomed to seeing lists being filled out with everything from taking medication to making crepes to hot showers to taking a walk to petting an animal to having sex (alone or with others) to brushing hair to listening Harry Potter audiobooks and beyond. The options literally, ARE infinite.

There's never been an "official rulebook" for what or what isn't a helpful coping skill because we are all unique in our needs and what makes us feel safe/better.

Does it up your happiness? Does it ground you? Does it bring some peace? Then list it and use it! List and use them all!

And, total transparency, this is simply my personal opinion: After working in behavioral health for the better part of a decade—and also working on my personal recovery!—I don't think that (when it comes to most things, items that harm others being an exception) "terrible coping skills" actually exist.

When I say this, I say it in the context of: we do what we need to in order to survive and if you're still here on this earth, it means you're nailing the survival game!


If I could hit a golden buzzer and blast some wildly tear-inducing, empowering song while glitter rains from the sky for you... I TOTALLY WOULD.

Where the "Maybe I should change some of my coping skills...?" part can come in is if/when we feel like the tools we're using are no longer working for us or we'd like to try something different that jives a little more with our current goals.

It's in those moments that we get to play around with other tools and ideas that may serve us better.

Until then, I'd love to suggest the idea that most of our "coping skills" are wonderful, shame-free, and "normal" actions that we take to keep ourselves alive and (hopefully) thriving! I'm here to cheer you on as you figure out more of what those things are—you are the expert on yourself after all!—and as you keep adding to that "wellness toolbox."

I believe in you, my friend. I really do.

I'd love to hear what some of your coping skills/wellness tools/survival mechanisms are that YOU enjoy! If you feel like sharing, just let me know below!

Offering you permission (only if you want it, of course) to not only survive but thrive,

🎵 SPEAKING OF WELLNESS TOOLS: Each morning starts with some music that lifts my energy and more often than not, you can find me singing along or dancing in my office before sitting down to work. I've made four (free) kick-ass Spotify playlists for you (my current fav is this one) and I'll be adding more as we go along. Add 'em to your library and dance like no one (or everyone!) is watching! 



How do you accurately summarize the one person who you feel has single-handedly changed the world (and your personal life) in more ways than you can explain?

Sonya Renee Taylor: author, poet, spoken word artist, speaker, humanitarian and social justice activist, educator, and founder of The Body is Not An Apology movement. 

"Taylor has won multiple National and International poetry slams, including the 2004 U.S. National Individual Poetry Slam competition, the 2005 DC/Baltimore Grand Slam competition, the 2007 Ill List III Slam competition, the 2006 Four Continents International Slam competition and has performed for audiences across the US, New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands, including in prisons, mental health treatment facilities, homeless shelters, universities, festivals and public schools across the globe."

Sonya Renee Taylor, aka my favorite human on the planet.

(via | via | via)

While looking for incredible quotes written by Sonya, I came across this praise (but really, a love letter) I wrote years ago:

Sonya Renee Taylor’s work within the body acceptance movement has single-handedly changed my life as an activist. Sonya is one of the only voices in this movement that incorporates ALL bodies and ALL issues; bringing the focus beyond individuals and onto the fact that we can eliminate prominent toxic social injustices by incorporating inclusion, understanding and love. She is truly a force to be reckoned with and thanked for her priceless contributions towards radical change.

Years later, I stand behind this 100%.

(via )

To be totally honest, the "current" part of this Current Crush is a lie. I've known Sonya for half a decade and she has been changing my world before we even met in person. The crush part? Well, it couldn't be truer. The love between us is deep... and there's a damn good reason.

I quote her with reverence in every lecture, panel, workshop, and presentation I give or participate in. Every single one- whether it's through a presentation in Phoenix (below) or in a keynote lecture about fatphobia in Paris. Her work has formed the core of my mission and the amount of gratitude I feel for her messaging, writing, and work leaves me speechless at times.

For the past few years, before I share her philosophy, quotes, and praise while speaking, I've prefaced her with the fact that if the world were on fire (which arguably, it kinda is) and I could only choose one person to save for the next version of civilization, it would indubitably be her.

(This was only awkward once when my mom was in the audience and I had to apologize for this prioritization... however I still believe she's the best thing to ever happen to this world and would be the greatest gift for the next.)

#1) What Sonya has taught me about healing the world and the importance of bodies - the largest driving force behind all of my work - which came from a comment she made on a Bitch Magazine article:

The Body Is Not An Apology is an international movement committed to cultivating global Radical Self Love and Body Empowerment. We believe that discrimination, social inequality, and injustice are manifestations of our inability to make peace with the body, our own and others. Through information dissemination, personal and social transformation projects and and community building, The Body is Not An Apology fosters global, radical, unapologetic self love which translates to radical human love and action in service toward a more just, equitable and compassionate world

Or, in other words:

“I began to realize that while all issues were not specifically about the body, the impact of all issues were felt on the body and how we felt about bodies informed our social, political, economic and cultural landscape. I began to see the key to social change, equity and justice as the work of making peace with bodies.”

Let all of that just soak in.

(via | via )

#2) What Sonya has taught me about healing work and it's worth:

I am often asked if The Body is Not An Apology is a non-profit organization and I, with great conviction tell people NO! TBINAA is a for-profit Benefit Corporation and here are my top 5 reasons why:

1. I believe social change needs to be at the center of our economic systems, not the margins.
2. Those doing the most impacting work should not have to scramble in competition for small pots of foundation funding.
3. As long as equity and justice work is considered “charity” it will always be what we fund last and cut first.
4. I know that if we leverage our resources we have the collective economic and social power to ensure that everybody with a body has what they need to thrive.
5. Lastly, I believe that radical self-love is an economic principle that moves us from a Detriment Buying © model (using our money to pay for things that further our feeling deficient, unworthy, numbed out and disconnected from our bodies and our world) to Best Interest Buying ©, a model that asks us to allow our economic investments, whether they be a latte or a stock portfolio, to be a reflection of our commitment to radical self-love for our own lives and for the lives of others.

What if every time we bought something we asked ourselves, “Is this purchase a reflection of my radical self-love values? Does this purchase remind me that I am a brilliant, powerful contributor to equity, justice and compassion for myself and for the world?” When we say YES to that question, we shift the very nature of our economic system from one of scarcity to one of abundance. Our services at TBINAA exist as a reflection of these principals. With Radical Self Love, we all profit!

This was sent through the TBINAA newsletter no less (subscribe if you haven't yet!) and #3 has changed the way I will see money distribution forever.

#3) What Sonya has taught me about the journey towards liberation and self-love:

You don’t have to get to radical self-love. You came here that way. You have never seen a self-loathing toddler who says, “I really hate the way my skin looks.” Those are messages. We know these messages are external because these are things we adopt as we get older and people start to tell us stuff about our bodies. We didn’t come here believing those things. We came here unobstructed from understanding our divinity and awesomeness in these bodies. Over time, more and more obstructions are keeping us from accessing who it is we inherently know ourselves to be. Radical self-love is unobstructed access to the awesome you that you’ve always been. It’s unobstructed access to the amazing and enough human being that you have always been.
- From Bitch Magazine's "No Ordinary Love" interview

(via | via | via )

This last image is one of my all-time favorites; an awkward "in-between moment" where we embraced with such enthusiasm that our true selves were captured perfectly and she used this image as one of her "Bad" Picture Monday images which included this caption:

Talk about the spirit of "Bad" Picture Monday being summed up in an image! I was having a radically beautiful tingly moment with the EPIC Jes M. Baker! Which means despite how I look in this photo, there is NOTHING HERE BUT RADICAL BEAUTY and LOVE!

#4) What Sonya has taught me about the importance of "Bad Pictures":

 As you read this, 300,000 people on-line are untagging, deleting, burying deep in the recesses of the junk folder, pictures they consider “bad”. Social Networking has created a digital army of perfect smiles and brilliantly coiffed heads who all believe the only pictures that should be seen are the ones where we look “good”.  “Bad” Picture Monday reminds us that there is no “bad” way to inhabit a body

Her reasoning behind this concept is simple: "Shame is ugly. YOU ARE GORGEOUS."

If you're not constantly checking out change that!
(For more on why "unflattering pictures are important, check this out!)

#5) The most important thing you need to know right now?

Sonya's book called The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love JUST LAUNCHED and it's been described as "church" buy so many people I've lost count. 

I will add myself to that list.

Buy it. Read it. Let it soak in. Let it change the way you see, interact with and heal the world. If there was one person to guide you on this journey, Sonya is it.

Sonya, you have taught me that you absolutely can lead with love and I'll never be able to thank you enough for this.

PS: Make sure you follow her through the links below
(and subscribe to her newsletter!):

P.P.S. You can bring Sonya to your event here.
P.P.P.S. Her tour dates and cities can be found here. If you can go, GO!
P.P.P.P.S. Check out the other Current Crush posts here!


You may have noticed that my blog headline (and personal messaging) changed a year or two ago from "Lose the Bullshit. Love Your Body" to "Lose the Bullshit. Liberate Your Body." This was a purposeful word change that, to this day, I still support wholeheartedly.

I’ve long preached the importance of body love, the proposed goal of falling head over heels with your physical appearance and celebrating it for how it looks regardless of how it fits (or doesn’t fit) into society’s definition of beauty. Body love asks you to achieve a 180-degree mental change; instead of “hating” your physical self, it insists that you can adore it for the way it looks regardless of what others may say. 

In theory, it’s a lovely thought—worshiping your body because it’s yours, because our beauty-centric culture is designed to be exclusive—to reject complete assimilation seems like the ultimate victory.

What I have come to realize, though, is that asking someone to achieve body love can quickly become another unattainable prerequisite, much like the desire to change our body into what is deemed desirable. 

When we focus solely on learning to “love our bodies,” there is a possibility that we are simply replacing the obsessive hatred around them with an equally obsessive love.

And hell yeah! That’s progress, right? Love is so much more desirable than hate; trading one negative emotion out for another more positive feeling is a glorious stepping stone.

But body obsession is still body obsession.



I've been searching a term that encapsulates the trend of body positive content I've been watching spread like pink and purple wildfire a for a couple of years now and, well damn. It took a while.

The conversation around body love/body positivity/BoPo has become so fractured and seemingly uncontainable that I often find myself talking about it using air quotes; often resorting to simply calling it "Whateverthefuckthisthingis."

I air quote A LOT.

SO g'bless a whimsical technicolor leopard creator for finally, in a moment of inspiration, giving me the perfect description for something that until now, I couldn't put my finger (or a name) on. 

Lisa Frank BoPo. I presumptuously designate it: a thing.

While the term may be "new", I highly doubt you're unaware of the messaging I'm alluding to. If you've been a part of almost any "body positive" (I'll stop using quotations at this point, but know that every time I use that term, I'm always implying it) online conversation—particularly on Instagram’s platform—there's a really good chance that you've been scrolling through Lisa Frank BoPo for a long-ass time.

Lisa Frank BoPo is what I (now) call the branch of body positivity that:

  1. isn't intersectional
  2. focuses on white and often thin bodies, and
  3. refuses to dig into the deep and critical political issues around comprehensive body liberation and, instead, relies on topical positive messages to keep us all feeling cheerful, and--most importantly: comfortable.

This particular lens of body positivity has gained an enormous (and seemingly unstoppable) following—which isn't surprising, as it has taken the original focus of Fat Acceptance and purposefully replaced its polemic aims with palatable conversations. 

There are, of course, divergent ideologies even within the militant Fat Activism movement: voices that disagree on topics like labels, weight loss and other fundamental concepts. But after the confetti-like explosion of what was (and is) called Body Positivity in 2015's mainstream media, I needed a name for what I was witnessing unravel in all its multicolored and purposefully attractive splendor.

Lisa Frank BoPo: Glittery, colorful, and endlessly positive. Also: shallow, uncritical and exclusive. When you add all these things together, it's no surprise that Lisa Frank BoPo is popular AF.

This “movement’s” palatability isn't an accident though—it is diligently ambiguous about things like health, superfat bodies, racism, trans issues, white supremacy and other relevant  political body ties that can quickly become "hot button" topics. This can then lead to emphatically and unseemly (read: controversial and unpopular) divisive threads. While individual users may be unaware of the purposeful reason behind its popularity, it is in large part easily loved because it prioritizes vagueness and erasure, enabling an effortless dance around these critical issues with the dangerously disarming chant of "I just want us all to bake a cake out of rainbows and smiles and all eat it and be happy!

Not literally, of course… but kinda.

This is easily enhanced by influential accounts on Instagram, where content is hyper visual: leaning towards the “pretty” images without the need for written content to achieve success. This practice can highlighted by conventionally attractive, thin bodies posting pictures in swimsuits and using hashtags like #EveryBodyIsABikiniBody or models promoting covertly disguised weight loss products and using #BodyPositive in each caption. 

I will sincerely own that when I started blogging, my body liberation content was naively cheerful, selective in its content and yes, definitely carried the lightness (and only the lightness) of a pink cat with angel wings. I was a Lisa Frank BoPo enthusiast. I've been there. I've preached it. I believed all of it. Exclusively focusing on “good vibes” was a natural first step in my personal journey, as it is for others as well. Sometimes, it's all we can absorb when we start approaching the concept that, perhaps, we don't have to hate ourselves for the rest of our life.

After all, send a person who is brand new to the concept of “not hating their body” my way, and they'll likely run the opposite direction screaming at the first mention of how medical records have nothing to do with worth. Lisa Frank BoPo offers a strangely approachable first step into the world of challenging body ideals and issues. It's a step in the right direction, yes! But I want to make sure that we don't step onto that first rainbow painted stepping stone... and stop there.

I want to make sure we keep moving.

We’re always seemingly walking a tightrope when it comes to these concepts and my balance is often shitty, so I’m not the one to show you how to do it perfectly. But I CAN share what I’ve learned from falling off a million times in hopes that it helps you on your tenuous journey.

After November 8th, it was clear that more political content needed to be shared through my social media channels, and I vowed to myself that I would make this a priority. These articles (largely shared on Facebook and Twitter because of the linking/sharing opportunities) were vehemently met with "Can you please stop talking about politics and get back to body positivity?"

This generated a post in which I explained that the two are inextricably connected, and clarified for me that the new form of body positivity I was seeing on Instagram (and surrounding platforms) was, while reaching more people, becoming more harmful than helpful. 

Guys, it's important you know that I'm not a rainbow hater. I use unicorn, enthusiastic raised hands and sparkly heart emojis just as much as anyone. I still share memes of cats with googly eyes on the back of their heads. I can see the appeal of Lisa Frank BoPo. I'll even go so far to say that for some, it might be a much needed first step into the giant and overwhelming world of confronting diet culture and beauty standards. BUT (notice the giant, bold but), I'm gonna say it again... I think it's really important to emphasize that we don't stop there.

Fuck yeah, I wanna bake a cake out of rainbows and cover it in smiley faces and eat it and be happy with you! I AM SO IN.

I also want to talk about the Eurocentric ideal and how it's created a huge market for dangerous whitening creams, how Black trans women have the highest murder rates in the country/world, how trans youth have a 40% suicide rate and are denied their identity (and safety) more often than not. I also want to talk about how health is NOT an obligation, how our medical industry is biased, how inaccessible cities are for people with disabilities, how white supremacy is alive and thriving and how we never mention mental health when we talk about wellness.

I want to talk about all of those things AND post pictures of flower covered cakes, little yellow birds who give you cute pep talks and amazing jumpsuits! Not instead of, but and.

We can do both, and if we find ourselves being exclusive because it's outside our comfort zones (or we might lose followers who take issue with these subjects), maybe it's time to look at our motives and priorities. And then especially do both. It is critical for all of us that we keep moving forward, learning, doing better and making progress. The platforms I share these on are usually Facebook, Twitter and my blog but this applies to Instagram as well, especially if it's the only platform used.

Instagram is important because visibility and representation is important. What we see can rewire our brains; science backs us up on this! (It's all here with a nice NPR summary here.) But I am now convinced that in order to create actual change, we have to start at the back. We need to amplify the most marginalized voices. The most harmed groups facing oppression. We all have work to do on this; me included.

I am certain that no matter how "radical" I feel my politics may be to the majority, there are those who would easily categorize my messages as more perpetuation of chirpy messaging that isn't and never will be political enough. There will always be those who believe that I cause harm by not doing enough... and I would agree. I have so much room for improvement and when I have the space and capacity to do more, I must. I can, and I will. 

Body liberation is not an endpoint journey. It's a fluid continuum of education, awakening, apologizing and doing better.

To be perfectly clear, I am not asking for perfection from anyone.

To do so would perpetuate the harmful internet myth that the public figures we follow aren't human. We already ask so much from ordinary individuals, none of which are perfect and I enthusiastically include myself in this group. We're not commodities to simply be consumed and bridled with impossible demands, yet this is what happens more often than not. So to demand perfection? That would be detrimental to us all.

All I ask for is progress.

Unstoppable learning. Active listening. Stepping back and looking at our uncomfortable biases. We are all sizeist, racist, ableist, ageist, etc and it comes from our upbringing. But it doesn't need to be so. We need to do the work to actively fight these prejudices, instead of pretending that they don’t exist within us. If we do, world changing things can (and will) happen if we responsibly harness the energy that is gaining power online every day.

It’s not that Lisa Frank BoPo is wrong. 
It’s just that it’s not enough.


(This is in no way affiliated with the Lisa Frank company- simply a description for a current trend.)


So, I've gained weight.

I know it. My partner knows it. My family knows it. My friends know it. The jerks who spend too much time on Reddit know it. And if you've followed me along my journey for the last couple years, I'm sure you know it too.

This experience isn't unique. In fact, it is entirely possible you have gained weight at some point in your life — maybe even recently!

After coming to terms with my “new” bodily features, I started sorting through my thoughts (while mixing them with a fair amount of good ol' logic) to figure out what this does and does not mean for me. So far, I've come to these undeniable conclusions:

What it DOESN'T mean:
  • My value as a person has decreased.
  • I am now broken and must be fixed.
  • I have failed myself and everyone around me.
  • I must return to “old me” in order to be happy and successful.
  • I am going to lose all my friends.
  • Supergirl is a riveting show that everyone should watch (sorry, Supergirl fans).
  • The world is going to end.

What it DOES mean:
  • I've gained weight

Seriously. That's all it means. We want to make it so complicated, but in reality... It's just that simple.
Have you gained weight? The above applies to you too. Catastrophe averted!

There are many reasons why my weight gain has happened; some completely "out of my control" and some totally "within" it. But regardless of why, none of these reasons need to be explained or apologized for because the only person I am accountable to when it comes to my body is me.

I'll say that again: The only person I am accountable to when it comes to my body is me.
(This also applies to you.)

Not surprisingly though, this physical change has come with a large amount of mindfuckery. After all, I had just become comfortable with my body (thanks to an arduous amount of body love work over the years) — now, that body shape I learned to love was no more. Now I needed to re-learn how to love my body with all its new features.

Goddamnit, Life.


But I have to do it again. Because even if my body doesn't look like this forever, it looks like this right now, and right now is real and valid.

And if I'm going to be totally honest, this change is a good thing for me mentally.

Real Talk: My body is going to keep changing for the rest of my life. If it's not weight gain, it will be aging. If not aging, it could be an illness. If not an illness, it could be any number of things that will cause inevitable change, which will require me to to learn to love the change.

Change is nothing if not constant, and this is where body acceptance comes in. It's taken me a while to learn that body acceptance isn't necessarily just about learning to love your body right now....

I watch this change happen everywhere. My mom has only recently learned to embrace her body shape (C-section stomach and all!) but is now trying to come to terms that her metabolism is slowing. A reader shared that she learned to love her plus body and then developed a disease that caused the loss of her hair; she is now on the journey to learn to love this part of her too. Another person is trying to cope with losing skin elasticity. Someone out there is learning to love their new skin condition.

You get the picture.

All of these things are very real, possible, and have nothing to do with a person's beauty or worth. But we tend to forget this.

Many ask me if I am going to try to become the two-years-ago version of myself again.

My immediate reaction, when I first considered the option, was yes. After all, I'm only human. I've been raised in this bullshit-spewing society too.

But after real thought, it's a resounding NO. This sends my brain the wrong message, that size is the end-all, be-all — and it most certainly isn't.

Trying to return to my body from two years ago is ultimately the most harmful thing I could do to myself.

Rather, I am going to check in with myself about my life habits — focusing on my behaviors instead of my body.

Am I doing anything I feel is damaging? Would I like to change anything to improve quality of life? Ultimately, what is best for me in the grand scheme of things?

These are the things we can look at if we really want to take the focus off of body standards and onto a healthy life: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Our value does not lie in our weight, hair, bellies, skin, or even physical health. These are all just components of our outsides, and our outside is only one part of “us.”

Now, what you do and feel about your body is your business. I'm not here to tell you what to do or how to think. But I am here to suggest — take it or leave it! — that there is likely going to be another change (or 10) that will happen in your lifetime.

Change is nothing if not constant, and this is where body acceptance comes in. It's taken me a while to learn that body acceptance isn't necessarily just about learning to love your bodyright now — though this is a great first step! It extends far beyond that, and also includes deconstructing the actual reasons behind body hatred: learning why we've decided that we're not OK in general.

It's about dismantling the thought that there is a “perfect” body to achieve. It's sometimes about letting go of the belief that you are nothing more than your body.

Tall order and slightly confusing, I know. But this is what I'm working on.

Changing bodies are a great reminder that body love and acceptance (deep, deep down) isn't about bodies at all, but rather a profound and untouchable acceptance of the fact that you are wonderful — no matter what.

Try practicing this belief. Try cultivating total self-love. Try letting go of unattainable goals and focusing on the amazing things you are and your body is.


Well then, read this instead: Fuck society's standards, my friend. You are awesome, no matter what the scale or mirror says. You are a valuable human and deserve happiness above all else. And you get to decide what that happiness looks like for yourself.

¿Comprende? Now go get 'em, Tiger.


This piece was originally published on Ravishly <3

Like this blog? Then you'll probably love my book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. TNOWTFG "is a manifesto and call to arms for people of all sizes and ages." Learn more here.

Want to hear me speak? I'd love to visit your campus or come to your event! You can find more info here or you can just email me at themilitantbaker at Cheers!



It was only a few years ago that a search for “body positive children's books” would have brought up a disappointing and limited amount of options.

But it is officially 2016, and our world has progressed! HURRAH! The measly list is no more!

The human brain is so easily conditioned and without a word being spoken, the simple elimination of everything except for the “perfect body” in any form of media is enough to instill belief in our young ones that unless they have that desired body, they do not deserve to be seen.

One way to counter this is to fill our children’s line of vision with as many diverse bodies as possible through literature. Bring all sizes, shapes, ages, sexes, genders, abilities, and races into your home and normalize the incredible diversity in our world. Give your child a world in which they AND others belong and deserve to be seen!

Here are 20 diverse children's books for your home that will do just that:

1. Your Body is Awesome: Body Respect for Children: "By learning about all the wonderful things bodies can do, and how each body is different and unique, children will be inspired to take good care of their bodies throughout their lives. Promoting respect for body diversity among children will also encourage kindness and help prevent bullying."

2. It's Okay To Be Different: "It's Okay to Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and confidence in an accessible, child-friendly format featuring Todd Parr's trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes."

3. I Am Jazz: "From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way."

4. Amanda's Big Dream: "We can show kids that there are more respectful ways to view bodies, that they can follow their dreams in whatever body they have, and that self-care is nourishing in and of itself, not something to be undertaken for weight control. This is a 'feel-good' kind of book, with great messages about body respect, eating well, honoring emotions." — Linda Bacon, founder of Health At Every Size


5. Little Miss Jessica Goes to School: "Based on the true life of author Jessica Smith, Little Miss Jessica isn't your average hero. Sure, she's smart, funny, and charming, but Jessica only has one hand. Little Miss Jessica Goes to School is an inspirational book that celebrates the differences, not the deficiencies, that different children and different bodies have." — Bustle

6. Brontorina: “Brontorina has a dream. She wants to dance. But Brontorina is [...] too large to fit in Madame Lucille’s dance studio. Brontorina does not have the right shoes, and everyone knows you can’t dance without the proper footwear. Still, Brontorina knows, deep in her heart, that she is meant to be a ballerina.” (Spoiler: the dance teacher is awesome and moves the class outside!)

7. Meet ClaraBelle Blue: "Meet ClaraBelle Blue [...] introduces you to a snazzy little preschooler with major moxy — and a hot pink wheelchair!  In Meet ClaraBelle Blue, you see ClaraBelle face the naysayers in her class, and show them all the things she CAN do, and how LIKE THEM she really is, regardless of her challenges." (Bonus: This book was written by the very fabulous Adiba Nelson!)

8. Big Hair, Don't Care: "Lola has really really REALLY big hair, much bigger than the other kids at her school, but that doesn't stop her from telling anyone who will listen just how much she LOVES her hair! It´s not always easy being a kid. Designed to boost self-esteem and build confidence, this beautifully illustrated picture book is aimed at boys and girls who may need a reminder from time to time that it's okay to look different from the other kids at their school."

9. Daddy, There's A Noise Outside: "This engaging story begins when two children are awakened by noises in the middle of the night outside the window of their inner-city neighborhood. Both their Dad and Mom spend the next morning explaining to them what was taking place in their community."

10. Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon (coloring book): "Re-creating nursery rhymes and fairy tales, this radical activity book takes anecdotes from the lives of real kids and mixes them with classic tales to create true-to-life characters, situations, and resolutions. Featuring massive beasts who enjoy dainty, pretty jewelry and princesses who build rocket ships, this fun-for-all-ages coloring book celebrates those who do not fit into disempowering gender categorizations, from sensitive boys to tough girls."

11. Girls Are Not Chicks (coloring book): "A subversive and playful for for children, and adults, to examine how pervasive gender stereotypes are in every aspect of life. This book helps to deconstruct the homogeneity of gender expression in children's media by showing diverse pictures that reinforce positive gender roles for girls."

12. Jacob's New Dress: "Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear 'girl' clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles."

13. SuperNatural (coloring book): "SuperNatural is a fun fresh coloring book for colorers of all ages. Featured inside are 17 inspiring superheroes with gloriously curly natural hair. The SuperNaturals have teamed up to solve the world's problems. The only thing they're missing is a bit of color and style."

14. Sex is a Funny Word: "A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers. Much more than the 'facts of life' or 'the birds and the bees.'"

15. My Princess Boy: "Dyson loves pink, sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses. Sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He's a Princess Boy. Inspired by the author's son, and by her own initial struggles to understand, this is a heart-warming book about unconditional love and one remarkable family."

16. Stephanie's Ponytail: "None of the kids in her class wear a ponytail, so Stephanie decides she must have one. The loud, unanimous comment from her classmates is: 'Ugly, ugly, very ugly.' Steadfast, when all the girls have copied her ponytail, she resolves to try a new style. With true Munsch flair, each of Stephanie’s ponytails is more outrageous than the last, while the cast of copycats grows and grows."

17. Gender Now (coloring book): "Gender is something relevant to all of us because we all express gender. You may or may not be transgender. You may or may not know a transgender child. The truth is that doesn't matter. We are all on this planet together.Gender Now is meant to provide reflection and support unity by showing multiple genders standing together. It is a specific opportunity to create balance and awareness by including gender expressions that are under-represented in our current culture."

18. Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match: "Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. And don’t even think of asking her to choose one or the other activity at recess — she'll just be a soccer playing pirate princess, thank you very much. Unfortunately, they don’t always make sense to everyone else. Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol — can't she just be one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her."

19. El Deafo: "Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful — and very awkward — hearing aid."

20. I Like Myself!: “High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves--inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here's a little girl who knows what really matters.”

Are there any other titles you would add to this list? Leave them in the comments below!
 (This piece was first published on Ravishly, because... well, they're rad.)

Like this blog? Then you'll probably love my book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. TNOWTFG "is a manifesto and call to arms for people of all sizes and ages." Learn more here.

Want to hear me speak? I'd love to visit your campus or come to your event! You can find more info here or you can just email me at themilitantbaker at Cheers!


While searching for some old college essays a while ago, I stumbled upon a forgotten Photobucket album that held 48 pages of memories from the last 10 years. I was thrilled to find this photographic treasure chest and eagerly clicked through them, reliving every moment that I had captured. It's so strange, the things that old photos can evoke. 

I could somehow remember the smell of my dorm room, the dust in the abandoned apartments upstairs, that specific monsoon season, those nights smoking cloves in a hoodie, that visit to a park in Baltimore, those tears on top of a parking garage, that drive to nowhere, those feelings of hopelessness, that moment of ecstatic joy, that museum trip with the Renoir exhibit, that afternoon spent listening to Jenny Watson and drinking Highlife in the backyard, that week spent on the circus train, and that cup of espresso in Venice. 

The evolution of me becoming who I am today; my many faces and multiple facets. It all came back to me with such force, it nearly knocked the breath out of me. It was unexpectedly powerful. 

I then noticed how beautiful I was in all these old pictures, and immediately connected this with how much thinner I used to be. I wasn't skinny, but I was not fat in the way that I remembered, and this shocked my nervous system in a way I can't explain.

I became hyper aware of how I felt sitting in my current body, and how I didn't see it reflected in any of the photos on my screen. I was instantly attacked by the cruel teachings of society that I've internalized my entire life.

So I wasn't as fat as I remembered back then. Why did I remember always feeling like I was twice the size that I was? How was my body dysmorphia so extreme that I felt like I was an embarrassment to those around me? Why did I hate myself so much? How could I not see?

The spiraling continued.

Maybe I'm even more of a failure now than I was then and maybe I should lose weight to become like Old Me again. Maybe I would meet more people if I looked like Old Me. Maybe I would succeed more if I looked like Old Me. Maybe I would be happier if I looked like Old Me. Maybe Old Me was better.

And then I caught myself.

I realized that Old Me hated everything about herself. I can see the beauty so clearly now, but she had no idea. She loathed every piece of her body and wished she could trade it in for anything else. Anything. Her self-esteem was nonexistent, though she pretended this wasn't the case. Old Me wanted to die instead of live in that body and I wish I could have hugged her and told her how exquisite she was.

And then I started to sob.

I sobbed for the girl that was so beautiful on the inside and the outside but couldn't see it. I sobbed for the girl who spent years missing out on magical parts of life because her perspective was poisoned. I sobbed for the girl that repeatedly punished herself for not being good enough. And I sobbed for every other person out there who believes the same lies that she did. I sobbed because these lies destroy lives.

And then my answer came. Retrieving the body of Old Me wouldn't change a thing. I'm fatter than I have ever been and somehow I happier than I have ever been. I have a career and mission in life. I have more fulfilling friendships. I am solid in my beliefs. I believe in myself and my purpose. I have learned how to heal. I have people who love me, a partner who adores me, a lover who worships me, and goals that I'm achieving.

I am the happiest I have ever been and this simply proves that happiness is not a size

Happiness is a state of being. Happiness is about finding what you love about yourself and sharing it. Happiness is about taking what you hate about yourself and learning to love it. Happiness is an internal sanctuary where you are enough just as you are, right now.

There is a comic by Toothpaste for Dinner that has a drawing of a fat man saying "I hate myself." The next frame is him as a skinny man saying "Nope, that wasn't it." Every time I read it I smile at the profound truth. It's far more difficult to treat our mind and bodies well until we learn to accept them. Nothing good comes out of finding the flaws and harboring resentment towards ourselves. 

Years ago I was more "conventionally stunning" and hated everything about my body; hurting it repeatedly on purpose. I am unconventionally beautiful now and I find myself with more good days than bad. My life is no where near perfect, but I'm learning to love myself. Just the way I am. Right now. And I am happy.

And isn't that what it's all about?


(Note: This is an updated post from 7/13 before the diluted Body Positive movement became mainstream in 2015. I left the term "body love" in the title per the original post but it's important to know that I am speaking of the concept of body liberation. You can read more about body liberation here!)
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