Last month I wrote a post about how I deal with feeling fat, something that as a woman, and an ex-anorexic, I deal with a lot. Today I want to delve a little deeper into this topic, talk about what body positivity means to me and why I feel hopeful about the rise of this movement.
This is a definition of the body positive ‘movement’ according to Wikipedia (I know, I have the best sources):
The Body Positive Movement is a movement that encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being.
And yeah, in a nutshell, this is pretty much it. It doesn’t mean not caring about your health or not wanting to improve yourself, it means accepting and loving your body exactly how it is.
Loving yourself and your body doesn’t mean you can’t change it with exercise and healthy eating – it means making those choices from a place of love and respect for yourself, not as a form of punishment.
Recently I went to BeFit, a fitness festival/expo for women which had talks, exercise classes, cooking demonstrations and lots of exercise/nutrition stands to buy things. My lovely friend Claudia was there with her brand Island Feather and she invited a few of us along to enjoy the festival.
Walking around, I noticed a real variety of people. Of course, there were some incredibly ‘fit’ looking people, but there was a range of ages and body shapes, which made me smile. The highlights of the weekend were a talk from the Girl Gains and a Vinyasa yoga class.
I had heard of the Girl Gains before, but I didn’t really know much about them. Hearing their story and their ethos, I was pleasantly surprised. They’re all about loving yourself and giving your body what it needs without punishing yourself or becoming obsessive.
The yoga class was intense, physically demanding and incredibly empowering. I pushed myself further than I had in a long time in certain yoga poses and the meditation on being ‘worthy’ at the end actually left me a little emotional.
I think what struck me at BeFit was this message of loving yourself as you are and respecting what your body can do. There was a lot going on at the festival and perhaps not everyone came away with that same message, but from the classes/talks I chose to attend, it was the biggest take-away. And that left me feeling hopeful for the future of the fitness industry.
So as I continue my mission to loving my body as it is right this moment, here are a few things I’m doing.
What I’ doing to love my body more
Looking at myself
I mean butt naked, in the mirror, really looking at my body. Looking at the way my belly curves, the way the skin on my thigh moves. I’m looking at it and giving it love. I’m cradling my belly, holding the weight in my hand and saying – you are beautiful.
It isn’t easy. Your natural reaction is to think about how much better you could look if you did X or ate less of Y, but resisting this and connecting with the body you have NOW is what being body positive is all about.
As a way of affirming it to myself and hopefully encourage others to join me, I’m being more vocal about body positivity both in real life and on social media. After all, this isn’t just an issue I’m going thorough, it’s one as a society we need to address.
Buying bigger jeans
I spoke about this on Instagram, but after accepting that my favourite blue jeans were too tight for me now – I went out and bought a bigger pair. They hug my curves and frankly, make my ass look amazing. It’s incredible how much better you feel in clothes that fit, it’s all about getting out of the mindset that the size of your jeans matters… it DOES NOT.
Not congratulating people on losing weight
OK, I’ll hold my hands up and say I definitely do this – but I’m resolving to stop now. Recently I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time and she had lost weight – the first thing I said to her was about how great and “skinny” she looked.
As we continued chatting, I noticed it wasn’t her weight-loss that was making her look so good, it was her radiance, the way she was holding herself. She was happy and it shone through. She said the same to me.
Even though I am probably at my heaviest weight right now, she didn’t see that at all, she just saw that I was happy – and I am.
It’s so ingrained in us to congratulate people for losing weight, but I want to try and shift that mentality. It’s about people feeling happy and healthy – whatever weight they’re at, and that’s what I want to focus on in everyday conversations moving forward.
Phew – this blog ended up a bit longer than I intended, so well done if you stuck with me to the end! It’s a subject I’m getting more and more passionate about and I have a lot of thoughts about it… so don’t be surprised if it pops up again here on Blue Jay.
Did anyone else go to BeFit or been to any other fitness expos? I would love to hear other people’s perspectives on the industry and how it’s changing – let me know in the comments.