Tired of the hamster-wheel? Had enough of diet, exercise, binge – repeat? Sick of whipping yourself half to death in search of an impossible body? Maybe it’s time to think Body Positive.
Let’s face it, most of us weren’t born to be supermodels. Even on our best days, few of us look like demigods. Pop down the local swimming baths and you’ll find perfection in short supply. A bit of a bulge here, a bit of a sag there. Here some cellulite, there some bingo wing. More washbag than washboard.
But here’s a question – who on earth said our bodies should be perfect? When did we fall for that snake oil? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to stick two fingers up at the glossy mags, the billboards, the airbrushing and the marketing men and start accepting ourselves as we are. Maybe it’s time for some Body Positivity?
What’s it all about?
Put simply, the Body Positivity Movement is about accepting our bodies as they are. No, chances are you don’t look like David Gandy or Kendall Jenner, but is that a good reason to make yourself miserable? We reckon not.
Born in 1996, the Body Positive Movement wants us to accept the body we were born with, along with all the natural changes that take place as we grow up and grow older. It’s about separating our sense of who we are from what’s happening to our bodies. It’s all about learning to live comfortably in the skin we’re in.
It’s also about looking after our bodies. Not with mad diets and crazy workouts but with good habits – that means healthy eating, exercise that feels right, getting enough sleep and taking care of ourselves. It’s about learning to listen to the natural appetites and rhythms of our bodies and giving them what they need.
What Body Positivity isn’t
Body Positivity isn’t about self-punishing or self-hating. It’s not about starving yourself, bullying yourself or making yourself miserable. But nor is it about giving up. We have bodies, and they know what’s good for them. They know that slobbing out, eating junk and never exercising makes them feel rubbish. It’s all about getting the balance right.
Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance
From the minute we open our eyes we’re pumped full of images of happy people in perfect bodies leading amazing lives. And that’s because those images are good at making us feel bad – with the added twist that we’ll go out and buy something to cheer us up.
But Body Positivity says – enough. At its core, it’s about self-acceptance. It says stop comparing yourself to impossible perfection and learn to live with – and love – what you’ve got. Forget about what others might or might not think – and learn to accept, and enjoy, the wonderful thing you are.
The five core competencies
At the heart of body positivity are five core competencies, five steps to changing the way you think and feel about your body.
Forget about all those mixed messages – find out what works for you. Don’t get fixated on weight. Learn what nurtures.
Start learning to listen to your body. Take a note of what works, what doesn’t. Let your body become its own authority.
Learn to love yourself
Give up on the self-hating. Junk the shame. Cultivate acceptance – and a sense of humour. Bodies aren’t perfect – enjoy yours. There’s not another quite like it in the world.
Declare your own beauty
Most of us grow up with a rigid idea of what’s beautiful. But humans aren’t dolls. Better to love the living body you’ve got than a stale idea of perfection.
Learn to love – and laugh – with others. We’ve a lot more in common than you think.