Body Positivity has gained traction in the last decade and appears to be making a lasting impression. The message is clear, we can and should accept our bodies regardless of our size, shape, or what society has to say about it.
Go on any social media platform, wellness website, or blog and you’ll be sure to hear about body positivity. It has changed the way companies like Dove market and do advertisements. Even the Miss Teen USA pageant eliminated the swimsuit competition in place of athletic wear.
The assertion of body positivity and empowerment is something I strongly believe in. It is a belief that encompasses every facet of my life. Loving oneself, caring for your body, and practicing acceptance is important. The question I have been asking myself is, does accepting your body mean not challenging yourself? And, do people really understand what being body positive means? I know before writing this article I did not understand it completely.
I have realized that these concepts are not exclusive. It is possible to accept and love your body while also working towards goals. It is the same idea as being successful. If you are a business owner you wouldn’t stop working on your business when you reached some mild success. At the same time, you can be happy with the place you are in your business. That is how I feel about being body positive. Just because you love yourself as is does not mean you should never challenge yourself to grow as a person.
Accepting your body does not mean neglecting your health. Having a positive self-image does not mean to hell with exercise and healthy food. What it does mean is to never wait to love yourself. It is about living in a way that gives energy and strength to handle anything life challenges you with. It means you can and you should accept yourself at every size, shape, and phase; while not settling with where you are and working towards the best version of you.
That will look different depending on who you are and what you want. That is why success is difficult to measure. It is not a one size fits all idea. Measure your success by the progress you have made and not the result. It was only until I stopped looking at the results and started enjoying the process that I was able to be body positive.
Being consistent in my actions was how I began to really love myself. Eating well and moving my body is just the way I learned how to do that. Taking care of my physical body had a clear impact on the way I saw myself. The way I saw myself had a positive impact on the way I saw everything else. It helped me to change my mindset and be more positive. Thinking more positively, I was able to challenge beliefs about my body that were not serving me.
I stopped searching for perfection and began to enjoy the process. I was surprised at how much life changed in a short period of time. I believe when we are taking action towards what we want in life happiness and confidence are sure to follow. The inclination that we should all feel good about ourselves all of the time is unreasonable.
I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to love yourself at different times in life. Feelings, positive or negative are normal. It is how you deal with those feelings that matter. It is what you do in life that makes a difference. After the birth of my second son Liam, I was 200 pounds. I was at 220 before I gave birth which was the most I had ever weighed.
Forget about the weight, I did not feel like me. I did not feel like accepting my body as it was. Honestly, the idea of body positivity made me feel even worse. I remember feeling at that time that I was not supposed to feel how I felt. I was supposed to accept my body as it was but I couldn’t.
That is exactly the motivation I needed to change my life. For me, that uncomfortableness with my body is what pushed me to make changes. Living healthily is what helped me to love myself regardless of how I looked. It is a lifestyle that allows me to feel good about myself while still going through the process. It may be easy for some but not for all of us. That is okay, we are all different.
We are constantly changing, growing, progressing, and experiencing new things in life. It takes reflection about ourselves to decide whether where you are is where you want to be. Forget about how you look, I am talking about how you feel. The benefits of eating clean and moving my body surpass any theories or ideologies.
It is my opinion that when our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions are in harmony that is health. When we love our mind and body we are purposeful in our actions. Those actions are in harmony with our beliefs about ourselves. It is important to challenge yourself mentally and physically. That looks different for all of us.
Society and culture is shifting in a direction to be more accepting and compassionate with another. The archaic beliefs about body image are on their way out. My hope is that with these changes the actions that promote health do not get thrown out the window too. I challenge you to find a balance between gratitude for what you have and a healthy hunger for more.