Body positivity is more than just being happy about how your body looks; it’s about celebrating the body that you have regardless of weight, shape, or size. Living a body-positive life involves thinking and acting in ways that support your health, wellbeing, and self-confidence.
Achieving body positivity can take time. Something as simple as complimenting yourself each day can have a huge impact on your mental health and self-image. Try starting with these small, everyday efforts to treat yourself with love and respect:
INSTEAD OF: Thinking body positivity happens naturally.
TRY: Remembering that body positivity is built.
Do you ever look at others and think, “How are they so naturally confident?” Here’s a little secret: confidence isn’t something you’re born with; it’s built! Self-confidence takes time, hard work, and practice. Just like working out a muscle, body positivity needs to be exercised in order to get stronger. With the right mindset, knowledge, and effort, you can build confidence in yourself and orient your mind towards body positivity in your everyday life.
INSTEAD OF: Comparing yourself to others.
TRY: Focusing on personal growth.
We’ve all had moments where we’ve felt insecure comparing ourselves to others. Social media can breed these kinds of negative comparisons as we scroll through filtered photos and fixate on our flaws. But these negative comparisons are extremely harmful to your self-esteem and wellbeing, and do little to build body positivity. Instead of looking at others, stop and think about your past self. Are you stronger than you were a year ago? Healthier? Happier? When you focus on personal growth, you’ll realize just how far you’ve come in your journey, and you’ll be proud of the progress that you’ve made.
INSTEAD OF: Trying to completely change your life.
TRY: Creating a health and fitness plan that fits with your lifestyle.
Being body positive doesn’t mean completely changing your life to achieve a fitness goal. While fad diets and strict exercise routines may advertise success, chances are they’ll leave you feeling restricted, overwhelmed, and unhappy. Instead of trying to drastically change your routine, create a health and fitness plan that fits in with your current lifestyle. Small changes like walking to class instead of taking the bus, opting for water instead of soda, or adding a vegetable to your usual pasta dinner will be the most effective and sustainable way to incorporate body-positive choices into your everyday life.
INSTEAD OF: Getting down on yourself if you hit a slump.
TRY: Changing up your routine to stay motivated.
Some days, you’ll jump out of bed bright and early and go for a morning run. Other days, you’ll hit snooze two or three times and roll out of bed at noon. And that’s okay! You’re not going to be motivated every single day to be body positive, but you can mix up your workout routine if you feel like you’re in a slump. Trying out a new group fitness class format with a friend or joining a spring intramural sport are great ways to freshen up your fitness routine and keep yourself inspired and active.
INSTEAD OF: Feeling like you’re alone in the process.
TRY: Finding a wellness buddy.
Feeling confident in your body can be a long and daunting process, but the good thing is you’re not alone. Find a wellness buddy to help motivate you and inspire you to practice body positivity every day. Whether it be finding a tennis partner to hit the court with once a month (peep our Facebook group), or simply texting a friend every week to remind them of your goals, sharing your journey with a buddy will help hold you accountable and allow you to celebrate your progress together.
INSTEAD OF: Worrying about what your body looks like.
TRY: Being proud of what your body can do.
Being confident in yourself and your body is about so much more than liking what you see in the mirror. Body positivity means embracing and celebrating all of the unique qualities and abilities that make you who you are. Instead of setting appearance-based goals (for example: get a six-pack), challenge yourself to set physical and mental health goals (hit a personal record in the weight room, compliment your body once a day). Reorienting yourself to notice all of the amazing things your body can do will help you appreciate the body you have and realize that your worth is not determined by your appearance.
INSTEAD OF: Striving for perfection.
TRY: Aiming for improvement.
When you strive too hard for perfection, you start worrying about criticism and failure, which can block you from achieving your goals and accepting your body how it is. Instead of thinking “I’ll be proud if I have a really intense workout today,” say to yourself, “I’ll be proud if I make it to the gym today.” Focus on effort instead of results, and you’ll be able to better appreciate all of the improvements you’ve made towards your health and fitness goals.
INSTEAD OF: Thinking body positivity is easy.
TRY: Never giving up!
Body positivity is not something that you can build overnight. You have to make a conscious decision to wake up every day and think and act positively. But with perseverance, practice, and patience, you can make real changes in the way that you see and treat yourself. We’re rooting for every body to embrace body positivity, and we want you to root for yourself, too!