Body Bullies and Happy Tears in This Month's Go Get It Guide

By , Alicia Capetillo, Editor at SparkPeople
Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!

Smile: Happy Tears

Sometimes life is scary and depressing and just plain sad. Whether it's a tragic event, a news story or just a bad self-esteem week keeping you down, we can all use a reminder that there are uplifting stories and beautiful people out there doing beautiful things for this world.
This month, Ellen DeGeneres delivers with a video montage of her favorite stories of everyday heroes. If you're an Ellen fan, you may have seen some of these stories (as a Saints fan, I have the Drew Brees and best friends story bookmarked for days when I need a good cry.). Watching these videos all at once, watching the kindness of strangers, of friends and of people for eight minutes is an important reminder that there are good, great and selfless people in this world. It's also a good reminder that you should always keep tissues at your desk because I forgot and ended up wiping my face with my shirt sleeve until it was drenched.


Spark: Celebrities, They're Just Like Us!

Perhaps you've seen it flipping through an issue waiting in the grocery checkout line or maybe you have a subscription so you never miss an edition, but you've likely seen Us Magazine's "Stars—They're Just Like Us!" feature. I used to have a mild obsession with the wordsmith behind their taglines for the sheer enthusiasm and excitement they were able to pack into just a brief caption, bringing the red-carpet-worthy, flawless, celebrities back down to Earth. There's just something about knowing that "They Carry Their Cords!" (Harrison Ford), "They Pump Gas!" (Heather Locklear) or "They Use Baskets!" (Alexander Skarsgård) that erases the glitz and the glamour and reminds us that they're just regular people, too.
Last month, two stories reminded me that, as many of us can relate, celebrities also endure harsh body image critiques. After the birth of her daughter, tennis superstar Serena Williams penned an emotional and powerful message to her mother, thanking her for all of the lessons and strength she learned as a result of her mother's influence. The letter focuses primarily on how her mother made her proud of her curves, her muscles and what her body is capable of achieving, rather than feeling insecure about being too big or too masculine.
She writes, "I am proud we were able to show them what some women look like. We don't all look the same. We are curvy, strong, muscular, tall, small, just to name a few, and all the same: we are women and proud!" She notes that her baby girl has her arms and her legs, which makes her fearful that her daughter might undergo the same body criticism she's endured since she came on the professional tennis scene in 1995.
Then, in a story in ESPN the Magazine, Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy opened up about years of internet trolls casually, often cruelly, reminding him of his weight via social media. For years, people commented on his love of Chinese food, calling him fat and doing things like photoshopping his stomach to make him look like Santa Claus.
"Ever since his weight became a public topic during his four years in Green Bay—which included two 1,100-yard seasons—Lacy had read those kinds of comments and brooded in silence, convinced he couldn't win," the article says of Lacy, who grew up in Louisiana and found food to be a comfort after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina. "Responding would only give his tormentors a smirk of satisfaction, knowing they'd wounded him. If he worked hard, got back in shape through yoga and P90X, maybe then the jokes would fade. Except they didn't fade. If anything, they multiplied."
It's easy to think you're the only one with body image issues. After all, with everyone's social media feed full of joyous photos and "Great news!" updates, it certainly appears that people seem to be more confident than you could ever dream. But those are pictures and words on the internet, not reality. Our bodies are with us forever and each one responds to outside factors—exercise, healthy eating plans, stress—differently. We stress that what works for one body doesn't always work for another because it's the truth. There will always be those people who can eat whatever they want and somehow lose weight, and there will be others who look at a doughnut and have to buy bigger pants.
What the haters fail to see is what that body can do—being one of the greatest tennis players of all time like Williams, a powerhouse running back like Lacy, a plus-size yoga inspiration, a mom who wears her tiger stripe stretchmarks with pride after three babies or a phenom female boxer who learned her thunder thighs are awesome.
So whether you're an elite athlete dealing with internet trolls and rude reporters, the girl next door who hears the boy next door commenting on a belly roll, or a confident-on-the-outside executive who still can't get over feeling like their thighs are too thick, it's good to remind yourself that most everyone has some big or small issue with their body. You're not alone. Trolls are usually trolls because they're hiding an insecurity themselves and feel it's easier to be mean than to own up to their issues. The next time someone makes you feel bad about the way you look, invoke the powerful beauty of Williams or the strength of Lacy or the confidence of any number of body positive ambassadors, cast their (wrong) opinions aside, smile and know that if Serena can be better than the digs and critiques, so can you.
How do you deal with body bullies? 

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I had an encounter with body bullies about two-three months ago. It set my fitness and eating lifestyle back a whole bunch. I realized that sometimes it’s better to comment via Spark People than it is to attempt to encourage people via Facebook. Report
I have to admit I don’t know any of these people that are so rich but still worry about their bodies, so it doesn’t do much for me, I would rather read about real people Report
Most of us are too busy with real life to worry about the angst of celebrities who rake in money through endorsements. I'm sorry they are worried about their body image. Try going to India where people are dying due to unsafe jobs like cleaning latrines by hand. Report
One of the greatest ways to combat body bullies is to just plain ole get on with your life and be happy right where you're at. There's always time to improve, and EVERY SINGLE one of us has the responsibility to improve; it is not a unique thing. So, just turn your back and get on with the business of being happy. Who knows, that bully might just want to join you and learn some lessons him/herself.
So true Bill! I finally learned to stop "bullying" myself and be more of a friend! :) Report
Great blog post. Sometimes we even bully ourselves. Report
This was a good one for me to read today! Thanks for posting this!! Report
good points Report
Great article. My biggest bully was my mother until she pasted away. I even told her that when she bullied me about my weight that it triggered me to go and eat something stupid but she just couldn't not bully me. I do believe that this body acceptance movement is now hurting people. Yes accept that you can't look like a runway model but you need to realize that the extra weight and unhealthy eating is HURTING YOU. There needs to be a balance but bullying someone isn't going to help them realize they need to make changes. They have to come that realization on their own but doctors need to be honest with their patients. Report
Thought provoking Report
I love this article. Report
Great story! Put some things in perspective. Let the haters hate and us sparkers keep sparkling! Report
Make your haters your motivators, SparkFriend! They don't know my story and we all have them. Report
Absolutely Report
I love this article! Report
Popular meme: haters gotta hate. We don't have to pay them any attention. Report
This hit home for me. I kept shaking my head yes when I realized I felt and dealt with some of those examples. It took years to deal with the emotional scars.

My biggest bully was and is a close family member who says what she says and defends it bc "she loves me". I feel stronger bc I see it for what it really is, bullying.

My lifestyle change and recent weight loss (over 200+ lbs) hasn't made her happy. She's critized it more than I can count. But it's taken all my life to finally get to this point. To KNOW my weight loss and healthy lifestyle of eating is for me. Not for any bully. Report
People who try to bully are in every walk of life, weather it is your body, your house, your car, your job, nothing is good enough for them, but if you look at their life you find the reason they are bullying you is that something is missing in their life. Just ignore them is something you have to take to heart, they know how awesome you are, now you have to think the same! Report
thanks Report
heartening. Report
Wow! I needed this. Thank you so much for this article. Report
Thank you for this inspirational post. It reminded me that sometimes my biggest bully and cheerleader is myself. I just need to remember which voice to listen to more. Report
Bullies are everywhere Report
helpful Report
Thank you for sharing. I was able to get some new incentives from your blog. Have a great day. God Bless. Report
One of the things about aging is you simply do not care any more--think what you will of me, I am who I am. However, the other thing about aging is you NEED to adopt that "who cares" attitude to a degree because you're aging and need it more--however, it is also a careful balance between not caring what others think and giving enough self care and attention not to let things go down hill faster than aging requires. Report
Thank you Report
Thanks for sharing Report
Thanks for a great article :) Report
thanks. Report
Love this! Trying to remind myself every day to be more positive Report
I think we are our own worst critics. Report
Excellent Article. Report
I think that Ellen is very sincere, she is a very loving and giving person! Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
nice article Report
Great article! Report
Thank you Report
We are our own worst critic even without body bullies. Instead of listening to bullies we have tip buck up our own self respect and confidence. Report
Fabulous article Report
Excellent article Report
great article Report
@Mandieterrier1: I'm right there with you! Look, folks: if the shoe fits, wear it; otherwise, stop being so sensitive. It's one thing to develop positive self-esteem (which, by the way, comes from MASTERY and ACHIEVEMENT); it's quite another to use "body acceptance" to excuse unhealthy behavior. It has gotten to the point where doctors avoid discussing obesity with their own patients for fear of offending them. Report
Good article Report
Well done! Report