Body positivism, as you might well know, is a growing trend among people who may have struggled with body image and confidence. It may come naturally to some people to be positive about their body always. However, most people are self-critical, and many tend to hide their bodies away or attempt to change their bodies to fit societal ‘norms’.
I am one of those people. I developed an eating disorder because of my obsession with changing my body and my intrinsic idea that my body was not good enough the way that it was. It took me a long time to recover from this damage that I did to myself. And my skewed way of thinking, made stronger by images on social media, the media in general and society’s expectation of what a body ‘should’ look like, led to self hatred for a long time.
I am going to share my tips with you, of how I got to this place in my life.
I have worked hard on learning to accept and love myself, to feed my body the nutrients (and not-so-nutrients) that it needs, and to learn to exercise, not because I hated my body, but because I loved it.
Tips for starting a body positive life:
- Stay away from diets, and diet products.
I’m telling you. Remove all diet products from your kitchen. It is so relieving. Dieting is unhealthy, and it is proven that it does not work in the long term. It can actually lead to mental health issues such as anorexia, bulimia and other disordered eating behaviours. The reason that diet culture is so huge is that it makes its fortune by manipulating people into thinking that they must fit a certain body type. Weight Watchers, Slimming World and other diet companies now brand themselves as a ‘lifestyle change’ but in reality, they are still making money by getting people to develop a very restrictive way of eating. Restriction leads to binge-ing, leads to disordered eating behaviours and ultimately weight GAIN. Its unsustainable in the long run. My advice? Practice intuitive eating instead. (I’ll talk more about this in another blog post.)
- Dump the Scales
I’m serious. DUMP THEM. First of all, who cares what you weigh? And also, your body fluctuates depending on what time of the day you eat, how much you eat in one sitting and also due to body changes such as menstruation or IBS. So it is basically inaccurate and should not reflect who you are as a person. Jamila Jamil has an interesting new project to show this – iWeigh. Check it out on Instagram.
- Stop following people on social media who make you feel bad about your body!
Unfollow those people who promote thinness, extreme fitness or disordered eating habits. You can easily spot them on Instagram by hashtags such as #thinspo #weightlossinspo or #bodytransformation. Unfollow celebrities or influencers who promote skinny teas or weight loss laxatives. That is seriously SO unhealthy. Instead, follow people who may use the hashtag #bodypositive or #bopo. (#bodylove, #selflove or #loveyourself are some others to look at.)
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Check out my blog post on How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
- Wear What You Want
That’s it. Seriously. Wear what you like, what you feel comfortable in, and stop trying to fit in to those size-too-small jeans! In fact, do yourself a favour and ‘Marie Kondo’ your wardrobe. Throw out or give away all those clothes you no longer fit in to. Get rid of the clothes that make you feel ‘not yourself’. Start developing your own style and wear what you love, regardless of your size!
- Use positive affirmations
Practice saying positive things to yourself every day, about your body and mind. One of my favourites is: “My worth isn’t defined by my weight. I define my worth and I am worthy.” But Google it! Find an affirmation about your body that means something to you. Write it down and say it to yourself EVERY DAMN DAY until you start to believe it.
- Read some powerful books, listen to body positive podcasts and do some body positive courses!
Immerse yourself in the world of body positivity. I’d advise you to look up Megan Crabbe aka BodyPosiPanda. She is my HERO of body positivism. I read her book ‘Body Positive Power’ and it changed my world view. There is a whole community of body positive activists, working hard to create a world where you are accepted at any size.
So that’s basically it. If you have any other ideas about body positivism please leave me a comment below. Let me know how you get on adapting these tips into your life.
Thanks for reading.