'It's kind of weird to hear a big girl say, "I love my arms"'

It’s easy to say you embrace body positivity. The idea of self-love and acceptance is (or should be, at least) universally agreed upon. But once you declare to the world that you’re body positive, how do you fend off darker thoughts? What makes you choose to be body positive every single day?

At this year’s TheCurvyCon, a two-day event that embraces body positivity and curves, lifestyle influencer CeCe Olisa moderated a panel on how to be body positive in every area of your life. (The panel’s title? “Do It With the Lights On,” advice everyone can get behind.) She spoke to panelists Whitney Way Thore, Ashley Nell Lipton, Loey Lane, and Chanté Burkett about their decision to be body positive and stay body positive. Olisa posed the deceptively simple question: “How do you stay body positive?”

For body-positive blogger Chanté Burkett, the answer is to find the parts of herself that she loves to look at in the mirror, and focus on those. “I try to play with the parts of my body I love,” she said. “Anything that’s bothering me, I try not to worry about it.” Some women may appreciate their booties, others their smiles, but for Burkett, it’s arms. “I think about what I love, love, love, like I love my arms,” she told the crowd.

Olisa homed in on the statement, which she noted was a rare feeling in the plus-size community. “I feel like it’s kind of weird to hear a big girl say, ‘I love my arms,’ so I kind of want to hear you say that again,” she said. Burkett went ahead and shouted her love of her arms from the rooftops.

For My Big Fat Fabulous Life star Whitney Way Thore, the more she sees of her body, the easier it is to be body positive. “I actually like to be naked all the time,” she said. It’s not just about comfort — Thore’s philosophy is to get herself comfortable with her body by way of (over)exposure. “I think it’s a really big help in staying body positive. Always facing, never avoiding, normalizing yourself to yourself. And I mean, who doesn’t like being naked?” she said.

Burkett, who admitted to peeling her clothes off “from jeans to wig” the moment she gets in the front door, agreed. “My rule is, we all should be walking around naked,” she said.

If you take one piece of advice from the panelists, let it be to take your clothes off. You won’t be alone; Olisa asked the crowd, “Anybody else like to be naked in the audience?” and cheers went up all around. After all, who needs clothes when you have curves to show off?

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