I don’t consider myself fully body positive. I know that this is a ‘buzz’ phrase that has several confused meanings. What I understand by being body positive is that you consider self-love above all else. It is the most important thing to you. You do not judge your body or anyone else’s. You are happy with your body exactly the way it is, and you love it.
I won’t lie. I don’t always love my body. I still have days where I want to be somebody else. But at the end of the day, all things considered, I am happy to be myself and to own my own body. I consider myself (at the moment) to be body-neutral. My body matters to me and I want to nourish it and keep it healthy, and that is my goal. However, I do sometimes go against this by feeding my body alcohol, fast food, processed food, and I do not always exercise. I consider my body to be important but I do not ‘love’ it in the conventional sense, I like it. I do not hate my body either. So therefore, maybe I am body neutral. And that is OK with me.
So lately, I have joined a new gym and have decided that I want to become fitter. And when I did this I realized, I don’t really care about my body changing shape or size. For the first time, I don’t care if I don’t get skinnier. All I care about is that I can run further, or lift more, just so I can.
If that makes sense to you, (or even if it doesn’t) I want you to read further.
Being fit does not make you less body positive (or body neutral). Just because you want to help your body to become stronger does not mean you don’t love it the way that it is.
Megan Jayne Crabbe said it excellently in her blog post about fitness and body positivity, “How many miles you can run doesn’t determine whether you’re worthy of self love. The number of vegetables on your plate don’t dictate whether or not you should hate your body. Nobody should hate their body, regardless of health and fitness.”
So yeah. I can like my body the way it is, and yet want to be fit.
Let’s get into my plans, shall we?
I joined ATP Fitness in Douglas, Cork. I love it because the trainers are knowledgeable, motivating and also a bit of fun. I do two classes a week and one personal training session. It helps keep me in the loop and focused and I am learning so much about training and how to push my body.
At the beginning I found it so hard to get into the swing of things because I was quite sore after training, but then my body acclimatized to it and I now find myself able to push myself to try new things and to lift more. I am loving the way my body is able to lift, run and move in a way that I couldn’t before. And yes, that is actually adding to my self-love.
Here is the essential point though. Just because someone cannot run, lift or move in a certain way does not mean that they are not worthy of self-love.
Here are some tips for loving (or liking) your body at every stage of fitness:
- Enjoy the journey.
Love the way your body feels when you are in the gym or not. Love how your body feels when you feed it good food, and love how you can also enjoy a cheeky night out eating and drinking what you want. Enjoy your body at each stage, if it’s changing, if it’s staying the same. Just give yourself a break, and enjoy what you see in the mirror.
2. Enjoy other things outside of fitness.
Have other interests and hobbies. Don’t just focus on improving your body. Focus on improving your mental health and your mind. Listen to educational podcasts, get involved in interesting and meaningful conversations. Push yourself to try something new.
3. Engage with people that have similar views as you and people that challenge your world view.
I don’t just mean on social media. Although that might be the easiest way to engage with people with particular interests. For example, I follow body positive bloggers, as well as fitness bloggers. And I take their points into account and make my own opinion on the subject. In real life, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Your opinion is valid.
4. Don’t take your trainer’s word as the ultimate truth.
Your trainer may be very knowledgeable and educated. But do you always take whatever one person says as the only truth? No. You listen to others and make your own opinions. I have learned this the hard way. As good as my trainers have been and as important as their opinion is, I must do what is right for me. If I have planned to train on a particular day but I come home from work in a bad mood or very tired, I can decide for myself whether training is beneficial or not at that particular time.
5. Give yourself a break
That’s all. Just give yourself a break.
Again, I would love your input. Do you think fitness and body positivity can go together? Leave your comments below.
Thanks for reading.