In a radical shift against the diet culture we’ve been raised in that fuels self-loathing, the body positive movement is gaining momentum with no slowing down in sight.
We’ve been taught both directly and indirectly that we must look a certain way, a way which only 5% of the female population naturally looks. This fuels multi-billion dollar industries and keeps us constantly striving for standards that are not our own. Who doesn’t have body image issues in today’s world?
Think of all of the time and energy (and money) you’ve spent worrying about the way you look. Too much to conceive, right? It almost feels like that is what it means to be female – to doubt ourselves. To never be thin enough, lean enough, pretty enough, etc. Another way in which our patriarchal society tries to keep women down.
What if you made the bold decision to rebel against these standards and just say f*** it. What if, right now, you stopped worrying about the way your body looks. What if you did what made you feel good, not what you thought would make you look like how the world wants you to look. What if you made healthy decisions because you care about your health, not about your weight (which are entirely different things).
If you have kids, think about how absorbent their little minds are – they’re watching and listening and picking up on your self-hate. While you don’t need an external reason to be nicer to yourself, if you’re having trouble getting motivated, think of your little ones. After all, many of us grew up with dieting parents and look how that turned out.
If you’re tired of caring too much about stupid ideals and downright harmful values, consider following these steps to start changing your relationship with your body:
- Carefully craft your social media feeds
There’s no denying social media’s role in rampant low self-esteem, not to mention anxiety and depression. I challenge you to unfollow accounts that idealize thinness and promote dieting. I challenge you to follow accounts that celebrate body diversity and encourage self-love.
- Stop weighing yourself (and your food)
If you’re someone who’s been chained to a scale your whole life, this can seem scary. Take a leap of faith and don’t put yourself or your food on a scale for the next week. Instead, pay attention to how you feel. Eat flexibly and intuitively and trust your body.
- Notice and replace negative thoughts
This is perhaps the most challenging step and this change doesn’t occur over night. You are your own worst critic and it’s time to start being kind. Imagine yourself as a child and give that child the love and nourishment she deserves.
- Do activities you enjoy
Why would you force yourself to go to the gym to do something you hate? Let’s end the self-punishment and have some fun. Whatever feels right for your body and makes you happy is the activity that’s best for you.