The road to Body Positivity…someone hand me a map?

5 ways I’m trying to be body positive

I recently made the decision to un-follow anyone on Instagram who (when I looked at their posts) made me feel bad about myself. I felt super guilty about this. I assumed I was being a bit petty, after all, it isn’t their fault they have amazing bodies and perhaps if I were more determined I would be inspired by someone in their peak physical fitness not intimidated or shamed by it. Alas, I am but a fragile millennial….groan.

Despite my inner conflict, I did hit those unfollow buttons – I really wish there was an option to unfollow but then leave a really polite explanation. In their place, I decided to follow some more realistic idols, brands and the #BodyPostivite hashtag (thank you insta for that new feature). My feed is now less ‘Abs’ more art, less ‘fitspo’ more fun and it is a welcome change.

This urge to want to follow women who are happy in their own skin suggests a shift in my mindset, which is great but what I have realised is simply following a hashtag, just isn’t enough. I’m not even halfway to being #BodyPostive about myself and I need to learn how to change that.

I have been following #BodyPostive for about 2 weeks now, always eager to see who’s made the Instagram stories. In that 2 weeks, I have shamed myself, cried at the sight of my body and convinced myself I should basically be without love because of my appearance. Here are just some of the ways I have referred to myself in the last fortnight, some in my head some out loud.

  • Fat
  • A Potato with hair (yep personal favourite – my bf’s most hated phrase I think)
  • Fat dumpling (still food related)
  • Gross (probably the most used day to day)
  • Disgusting

Not exactly the life-affirming mantras spoken by someone close to being at peace with their appearance. 

So how does someone at this level of self-loathing become one of these #BodyPositive pioneers? I’ve been doing some research on what the world is recommending for women like me and sharing the five I most identify with.

Don’t criticize other peoples bodies. 

Most of us have done this at some point. Maybe not all in the same way or for the same reasons, but even if it’s just in your head I’m afraid to say like me you are guilty. *Confession time* I have realised that I am judgemental of those who are overweight and don’t appear to be ‘healthy’. Please don’t confuse my use of the word ‘healthy’ with someone who should want to diet, I simply mean eating a varied diet that nourishes your body (no calorie count in sight). When I go to the supermarket and I see an overweight family or couple and their trolly is full to the brim with ready meals, crisps and sugary drinks, I judge. I assume that their lifestyle and appearance somehow determines their happiness and success in life, which is total bull sh*t. 1. Who am I to judge anyone’s trolley (miss 4 tubs of hummus and dips) and 2. I have no idea about their life and how good or bad it is. In fact, they are probably way more happy than I am. I feel making the effort to judge these people less will hopefully rub off on how much I judge myself.

When you look in the mirror point out all the things you like about yourself.

I feel I’m way to British for this and when I did a mental list of things I liked it came down to two… two things on my entire body!! My eyes because y’know for eyes their okay and my hair which although turning a bit grey is pretty damn good. I feel this tip is phase two of being Body positive.

Your clothing size/weight is a very small detail

Now, this I can get onboard with. I don’t even own a pair of scales because that number means diddly squat to me and in regards to clothes size, well I’ve been cutting out my clothing labels for about a year now. It’s certainly made me listen to my body more as I have no ‘sorry step’ to tell me if I’ve put on/lost weight etc, but it has also made me embrace my wardrobe more. I used to avoid certain clothes if they weren’t a size 10 but with no label eye-ballin’ me I can’t remember what size it is so I just wear what makes me happy.

Move your body every day

I really want to embrace exercising to be healthy and fit and set goals like ‘ run 10k’ as opposed to ‘Lose 10 pounds’. Setting different standards for yourself is sure to move your concentration away from that belly roll right?

Don’t get mad at yourself

This is going to be a tricky one for me. I have a very ‘all or nothing’ personality and I think this is the same trait which has made me quit on things in the past. If I take on something and I’m not mastering it straight away I lose interest as I assume I’m rubbish and I’ll never be able to reach said goal. What I need to be doing is looking at the little milestones like “hey you did 10 burpees that 5 more than you could do yesterday” or “well done you, you only called yourself a potato with hair once today – that’s progress” 🙂

There’s probably no straight road to #BodyPositivity and I think for me that will be the hardest thing to accept, but I’m going to persevere and try and love my butt, belly and everything else as much as my lovely boyfriend does. Although he’s tired a lot so his opinion is questionable…. kidding!

The above suggestions were taken from Buzzfeed, Body Positivity and Bustle

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