A body-image coach who was slammed for having celluliteÂ is addressing her criticâ€™s â€œignorantâ€ comments.
On Monday, Jessi Kneeland, a fitness trainer and motivational speaker in upstate New York, posted an impromptu photo of herself stretching at the gym. â€œOh hey there, have you met my fancy fat? Itâ€™s these pretty dimples along the back of my legs and butt,â€ she wrote. â€œSome people think fancy fat is â€˜bad,â€™ and will try to convince you to get rid of yours, but we know better. Fancy fat is just a natural, healthy, built-in decoration. (Or at least thatâ€™s how I choose to see it.)â€
She added, â€œThere is absolutely nothing objectively true about statements like â€˜cellulite is uglyâ€™ or â€˜perfectly smooth and toned is more attractive.â€™ Those are just examples of a social reality we pass along to each other so often that our brains start to believe they must be true, theyâ€™re â€˜natural,â€™ or theyâ€™re â€˜just the way things are.â€™ But theyâ€™re not. We can change the way we see things by interrupting those old thoughts, challenging and examining them, noticing how they affect us, changing what we expose ourselves to, and finding new beliefs that affect us in a more positive way.â€
Kneelandâ€™s followers appreciated the 30-year-oldâ€™s candor. However, one man felt differently. â€œSpin it anyway u want, having unhealthy body fat like that is not natural; itâ€™s because u eat or used to eat s****y food and ur body has stored it!â€ he wrote. â€œStop eating s*** food and burn more calories that u put in ur face and it will go!â€
The trainerÂ responded to the man by explaining that sheâ€™s always had cellulite regardless of the number on the scale, and that her dimples were â€œperfectly fine and normal and healthy.â€
On Tuesday, she followed up with another photo â€” this time wearing underwear and a sports bra, with the manâ€™s comment pasted below. â€œThis comment was left by a hater, on the cellulite photo I posted yesterdayâ€¦â€ Kneeland captioned the image. â€œMe and my â€˜unnatural, unhealthy body fatâ€™â€ are just gonna be over here helping women understand that there is NOTHING wrong with cellulite (or anything else about their bodies!) and that trolls like you are ignorant and uneducated.â€
Kneelandâ€™s followers rushed to her defense, brushing off the â€œmansplainingâ€ and proclaiming love for their own cellulite.
â€œThe day I took the first photo, I was at the gym and the lighting and my body position accentuated my cellulite. I thought, â€˜Aw, how cute.â€™ It was a delightful moment that I wanted to share,â€ Kneeland tells Yahoo Beauty.
As a personal trainer, Kneeland worked with Victoriaâ€™s Secret models who had cellulite and were always unhappy with certain body parts. That experience gave Kneeland an epiphany: â€œPoor body image isnâ€™t about the physical,â€ she says. â€œIf it were, these models would be the most confident women in the world.â€
Kneeland lost motivation to change peopleâ€™s bodies and instead focused on changing their mind-set. â€œI became a body-image coach, and I teach women how to overcome the issues that cause body shame,â€ she tells Yahoo Beauty. â€œIt usually boils down to women feeling unsafe in their bodies or not feeling worthy because they canâ€™t maintain a standard of perfection.â€
Women are often given two choices, she says: â€œLove your curves, or buy into the weight-loss B.S.,â€ KneelandÂ says. â€œThere needs to be another way to have a relationship with our bodies.â€
As for that cellulite thatâ€™s not vanishing anytime soon: â€œWhy demonize something just because someone else thinks itâ€™s ugly?â€