We all want to feel good in our bodies.
More importantly, we should all feel good about our bodies. To feel good in the body you have, also means to feel good about the body you have.
And yet, according to this study,
In a survey of 50,000 men, 41% of men felt self-conscious of their weight and their bodies and 60% of women felt the exact same. While both men and women suffer from the impossible body image ideals placed on society, women seem to be more affected by these ideals.
If you do a quick Google search for “body positivity” guaranteed you will find most images that show up have to do with women instead of men.
There has been an ongoing battle between what society accepts as beautiful and what is actually beautiful when it comes to body image and the ever-evolving body positivity movement.
To combat the negative thoughts we have about our bodies, we need to know how body positivity works. We also need to find reasonable solutions that remind us how beautiful we are, no matter our shape and size.
How We See Ourselves vs. How Others See Us
Have you ever been walking down the street, sitting in a coffee shop, or watching a video on TikTok, and you see someone who is so stunning in their own skin, you almost envy them for the love they have for themselves?
Have you ever stopped to think someone looks at you and feels the exact same thing?
You might be shaking your head and thinking, no way, “I’m not beautiful at all.” But we can assure you, you definitely are.
We are our worst critics. That has always been true. We say more negative things about ourselves than we do positive things.
When we look at ourselves in a mirror or window’s reflection, we are only seeing a sliver of our mannerisms, our facial expressions, or the tiny flab of fat that exists on our legs, waist, and arms. So, of course, we are quick to judge.
But we are not seeing the whole picture.
When strangers or the people who look at us, they notice so many other things we don’t. They get to see how we laugh, how we smile, how we move, how we interact with others and every sweet mannerism that makes us who we are. They see as us we are and not the negative and warped idea that exists within us.
This is why body positivity and learning to love and accept our bodies and ourselves are becoming more critical than ever.
It’s time to break the cycle of body shame and start embracing body positivity.
What is Body Positivity?
The buzz phrase “Body Positivity,” means challenging how society views the body, promoting the acceptance of all bodies, and helping people build confidence and acceptance of their own bodies, and addressing unrealistic body standards.
Body positivity recognizes judgments made based on race, gender, age, health, sexuality, disability, and so on.
It also helps people understand how popular media messages contribute to people’s relationship with their bodies, including how they feel about food, exercise, clothing, health, identity, and self-care.
About the Body Positivity Movement
he term “body positive” emerged in 1996 when a psychotherapist and an individual who had been through treatment for an eating disorder founded thebodypositive.org.
The site offers resources and educational materials designed to help people feel good about their bodies by taking the focus off of losing weight through unhealthy diet and exercise efforts.
In its current form, the body positivity movement began to emerge around 2012, initially focusing on challenging unrealistic feminine beauty standards. As the movement grew in popularity, the original focus on acceptance of weight started to shift toward a message that “all bodies are beautiful.”
As the body positive movement progresses, we see younger generations, and even some older ones, embrace the idea of loving your body and yourself precisely as you are.
What Does a Positive Body Image Look Like?
While body positivity has become increasingly popular, people continue to be confused about exactly what it means.
Part of the reason why body positivity is so misunderstood is that there are so many different definitions for what the movement means.
Depending on who you ask, body positivity can mean:
- Appreciating your body despite flaws
- Feeling confident about your body
- Loving yourself
- Accepting your body’s shape and size
Body positivity also means enjoying the body you have and not beating yourself up over changes that happen naturally due to aging, pregnancy, or lifestyle choices.
Major Culprits of Body Shame and Negativity
There are many different culprits for body shame and negativity, many of which are what you would expect–magazines, news, television, and social media. However, Instagram played a pivotal role in the rise of the body positivity movement.
And in recent years, many magazines and companies have incorporated efforts to be more body positive in their publications and marketing efforts.
Some magazines have stopped airbrushing models, while companies like Dove and Aerie have developed marketing campaigns incorporating body positivity messages.
Even notable celebrities like Alicia Keys are taking a stand on body image and beauty standards by reverting to more natural looks and using less makeup in the media’s eye.
But probably one of the biggest culprits for how we think about ourselves comes from the people who surround us, especially in our younger years.
The behaviors we learn and the ways we learn to talk about ourselves are learned from birth to the age of 7, and then there’s being in high school and going through puberty, which didn’t make anything easier.
Body Positivity Doesn’t Mean Losing Weight
You might be thinking the only way you will be able to love yourself, or for anyone to love you, will be to shrink down to a skinny mini.
This kind of mentality is damaging because it encourages:
- Eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia, overeating, etc.)
- Body dysmorphia (a body image disorder)
- Repeated body checking (looking at yourself in a reflection)
- Body preoccupation (the constant thought of what you weigh and look like)
- Body dissatisfaction (a general dislike for your own body)
- Body avoidance (i.e., wearing baggy clothes to disguise yourself)
We want to be so kindly and lovingly clear:
You don’t need to lose weight to be beautiful or feel positive about your body. You just need to change how you think about yourself and push other people’s ideals out of your headspace.
This is a daily practice, and we will give you tips on how to practice body acceptance.
6 Tips for Body Acceptance
There is no one way to learn how to love who you are in your own skin.
If you’re already in the habit of talking negatively about yourself, here are some tips for breaking the habit and creating a new cycle of self-talk when it comes to your body image and general love of self.
1. Positive Affirmations
Look at yourself in the mirror every day and say this, “I love and accept who I am, as I am, in this very moment. I am perfect, whole, and complete.”
Try doing this daily and indefinitely and see how thoughts of yourself change over time.
2. Dress Your Size
We revert to skinnier or baggier clothes hoping it’ll make us feel better about our bodies, yet it doesn’t help. What does help is dressing for the size you are.
Dressing in clothes that fit you and make you feel comfortable can give you that confidence and make you feel good in the skin you’re in.
3. Try Meditation
There are numerous self-guided or mindfulness classes geared toward helping you change your mindset around body acceptance. If incorporated into daily habits, you’ll be amazed by how fast you start feeling better about yourself.
Meditation turns your gaze inward and helps you feel good from the inside out.
In prioritizing your mindfulness, you focus on personal wellness, self-approval, happiness, and satisfaction.
As you tend to your inner beauty it will radiate out, making external beauty standards more and more irrelevant.
4. Think in Terms of Health and Not Weight
A proper diet will improve your energy, mental outlook, sleep and reduce stress, anxiety, and even inflammation.
We encourage people to eat healthy and eat what they love in moderation. You can still eat healthy and enjoy your favorite foods from time to time.
The key is removing the link between health and weight. If you struggle with this, trade any emotional eating (or not eating) for journaling.
Put all your thoughts down on paper and burn the paper if you have to.
5. Spend Time Being More Aware of Your Thoughts
Avoid saying things like, “I’m so fat,” or “I feel so ugly today,” or “I hate how I look in these pants.”
Each time you’re triggered to say something cruel about your body, say something positive or tell yourself one thing you love about your body.
6. Get Moving!
The Physical Therapy axiom, “Movement is the best medicine” is a truth that affects us on all levels.
Movement, even if it’s a short walk around the block or a hike with your friends, stay moving. It can release endorphins and help you build healthy daily habits that will keep you feeling good about yourself.
Try to get up and move every day. Yes! Even if you don’t want to. Your body will thank you.
If you’re limiting your exercise because of pain, lack of conditioning, stiffness, lethargy or self-consciousness, seek a physical therapist.
For more tips on how to be more body positive, go here.
Why it’s Important to Accept Your Body
When we learn to love ourselves in the whole wonder and magic that we are, our lives change in ways we never expected.
So why is it so important to accept your body?
- It teaches people how to respect you and interact with you.
- You’re more likely to do more of what you love.
- It allows you to be more confident in who you are.
- You’re less likely to emotionally purchase things you think you need to feel good about yourself.
- You seek no one’s acceptance but your own, which in turn allows you to make healthier everyday decisions.
- As we are kind to ourselves, we, in turn, are kinder to others.
- Decreases bullying and judgment for all parties.
Accepting our bodies is important mainly because we all have better things to do than worry about how we look or how people think we look.
There are so many more exciting things to do in life than be negative about ourselves!
What Altru Integrated Health is Doing to Promote Body Positivity
We are genuinely encouraged that our culture is finally growing to be more accepting, more inclusive.
There is a very healthy power and motivation in the body positivity movement, which speaks to our core values. With this, our goal is to make it the reality inside you.
As the mindfulness instructor at Altru Integrated Health, we always encourage people to be who they are, as they are, in the moment.
When we are fully aware in the moment, life is pouring through us with such exuberance and joy that all judgments evaporate.
This exuberance and joy are something we can all experience. It just takes some education, some patience, and some retraining.
Reclaim Positive Thoughts of Yourself With Altru Integrated Health
Altru Integrated Health is a health and wellness facility that highly encourages body positivity. It’s part of our very mission.
When people step into our facility, they feel welcomed, loved, accepted, and like family. We can help you find the healthiest diet for you and your body type.
Our aim is to help you feel your best.
We do this by coaching you to prioritize feeling the best that you can whether that’s mentally, physically, and emotionally.
As a result, you’ll be able to show yourself love, respect and honor by paying attention to your body’s needs while also celebrating yourself and quieting your inner critic.
With the combination of these things, you’ll become the best version of yourself without trying to be someone that you’re not.
If you are interested in seeking assistance and guidance in body positivity and want to learn more about incorporating healthier self-talk habits into your life, learn more about our mindfulness classes, or contact us to schedule an appointment or attend a class!