What is Body Positivity?

It?s really easy to think that a positive body image means looking in the mirror and liking what you see. This belief will only limit you, keeping you stuck in the idea that body positivity is related to appearance.

 

Instead, body positivity has much more to do with how you care for, respect and connect with your body?s needs while cultivating gratitude for what it can do. It?s very likely that your body shape and size will change multiple times throughout your life and if you attach or cling to one certain image, you?ll likely lack acceptance while feeling powerless and frustrated.

happiness isnt size specific

It?s easy to feel like letting go of your quest for a different body shape and size means giving up. I think you?ll find the opposite is true. You won?t lose anything by letting go. Instead you?ll gain everything. Most importantly, you?ll find YOU. The you that?s been waiting patiently to start living a full and meaningful life outside of weight or body size preoccupation.

 

This is especially true if you have disordered eating patterns. You are fighting food because you are fighting your body. If you hope to make peace with food, you?ve gotta make peace with your body.

 

In the culture we live in, we aren?t naturally inclined toward body positivity. Although we come in all different shapes and sizes (naturally and biologically!), it?s easy to compare yourself to the thin ideal (or muscular ideal these days). It?s quite possible to live your whole life feeling broken and inferior.

 

You could choose to continue chasing diets and food rules until you finally meet your dream weight or body shape. OR, you could choose to find and embrace your true purpose for living which has nothing to do with the way you look. This will likely result in you taking care of your body in a way that allows you to live to your full potential, instead of living to get smaller. Don?t ever feel like you don?t have a choice. YOU get to decide.

body positive

While cultural influences may shape your expectations for what your body should look like, you hold the final judgment. We tend to be our own worst critic, being harder on ourselves than we would ever be to others. While it would be great to completely transform the unrealistic beauty standards that exist in society, a better and more effective goal will be to transform your own expectations of yourself.

 

I encourage you to take time to reevaluate the expectations you have for your body. I subscribe fully to the data we have on set-point theory. This means your body has a predetermined body shape, size and weight that it feels most comfortable at. Fighting against it will get you nowhere. The great paradox is that dieting, the method we use to lower our set-point, only works to increase it therefore causing weight gain long-term.

at way with yourself

The good news is that health can be found at your natural weight, no matter what it is, and has much more to do with how you care for your body than what size it is. The only thing between you and this reality is the idea in your head of how things should be.

 

You can live from day to day with less body preoccupation. It may not be a realistic goal to love, or even like, your body – at least at first. By deciding to put your time and energy into things you find meaningful, enjoyable and important, you give less time and attention to the size or shape of your body.

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I get it, it?s hard to let go. It feels super overwhelming, but I hope something in this blog post has given you a place to start. Maybe it?s aiming for body respect and/or weight-nuetrality rather than loving or even liking your body? Perhaps it?s to focus less on appearance and more on how your body is functioning and feeling? Maybe expressing gratitude for what it can do? What about practicing more self-compassion and positive self-talk?

 

Maybe more practical tips would include decreasing (ideally quitting) body checking, spending less time in front of the mirror, detoxing your media messages, and/or replacing negative thoughts with neutral ones (if positive thoughts feel too hard). Continual small steps forward is how you shift your mindset.

 

Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD