We have all been there, we stand in front of the mirror, look at the reflection staring back at us and judge!! We judge the lumps and bumps, the spots, the wrinkles, the saggy bits, and we internally criticise ourselves for how we look.
We compare ourselves to the filtered images on social media, advertising billboards and magazines, and we put ourselves down and judge ourselves as second rate in comparison.
The reality is though, that even the people on the billboards don’t look like the people on the billboards in real life. They have cellulite and wobbly bits, wrinkles and spots, stretch marks and scars. They are human just like us.
In the past, we have all probably seen the front covers of gossip mags where some ‘hot’ celebrity is snapped on the beach having fun with their friends and they circle their cellulite or muffin top and draw the worlds attention to it… really? did you have to?! The media make us feel that if we don’t look airbrushed then we aren’t good enough.
Well we are here to say that this is just absolute rubbish, and we need to love our bodies for what they do for us, not what they look like!
Join the Body Positivity movement!
Body positivity isn’t just about how we view our own selves in the mirror, it’s about how we view everyone. And, that regardless of shape, size, colour of skin, gender, sexuality or disability, we are all amazing!!
The movement aims to help people understand how media messages contribute to our relationship with ourselves, including our feelings about food, activity, our health, identity and how we practise self care. It aims to improve our well being, and to love ourselves for who we are.
Like everything, the Body Positivity movement has been subject to criticism, with its critics stating that it still places too much focus on the appearance of our bodies, when we are more than that – in fact we have to agree with this too – Be Strong’s idea of Body Positivity is that we should be focusing more on what our bodies can do for us, rather than what we look like.
Being more Body Positive the Be Strong way
We want everyone to love and care for their bodies, and feel happy with their lot. So we have come up with some ways in which you can become more body positive, the Be Strong way.
1. Adopt Body Neutrality – Accept that it’s ok to love some parts your body, but not like, or be indifferent towards other parts – this means you are taking the pressure off yourself to accept and love every aspect of your appearance, when you perhaps really don’t!
What parts of your body are you proud of? Focus on those instead of the bits you don’t like.
2. Nourish your body – Whilst we clearly have a focus on weight loss at Be Strong, it isn’t actually the be all and end all for us. What we are really interested in, is people understanding how to live a healthy lifestyle and enjoying doing so, for as long as possible. That includes eating well. It doesn’t always have to mean focusing on calories, but it does mean eating food which is nourishing – food that gives your body everything it needs – not just empty calories, or food that makes us feel good in the moment – rather food that allows us to feel good for the long term.
3 – Exercising regularly – Because exercise energises us, helps to improve our mood, keep our mental health in check and also helps us to love our bodies for what they can do. Exercising is amazing for helping us to age well, keeping our bones and muscles strong, improving the density of our bones, which is so important as we age. The more we exercise the less likely we are to have slips and trips, protecting ourselves from injury. It allows us to reduce our disease risk to ensure we live long and healthy lives which in our view is the biggest act of body positivity and self-love going!!
4. Compliment others and learn to take a compliment yourself – Telling other people that you like their outfit, they have lovely eyes, or you see how hard they work in an exercise class, not only gives them a little boost but it gives you a boost too, when you see the smile on their face. If you can find the positive in others and let them know about it, you may also start to see more of the positive in yourself. When we are kind to others, it opens us up to being kinder to ourselves.
Taking a compliment is hard for a lot of us. We seem to have an inbuilt response to receiving a compliment, which is to talk it down. Do you automatically tell someone where your outfit is from, and how much it cost, if they say that you look nice? Do you laugh off a compliment about your smile or your eyes? Well now is the time to learn to take these compliments – and it’s easy to do – in fact it’s easier than all the other responses we might give. Simply say ‘Thank you!!’ and feel the glow inside. When you say ‘thank you’, you are focusing on what that person has said to you, rather than the negativity involved in talking it down. Practice this when someone compliments you next.
5. Focus on what your body can do – All of our bodies are amazing machines. We all have a different set of challenges, and we all achieve amazing things every day. Celebrate everything your body achieves mentally and physically, whether you get out for a lunchtime walk, can run 5k without stopping, complete a challenging project at work, get all the housework done, bills paid, hold down a job, whilst sorting the rest of the family out. We are all amazing and there will be people looking at you and thinking ‘I don’t know how they manage to do all that!’ Make sure you acknowledge what you, your body and mind, has achieved every single day.
6. Banish negative self-talk – Give yourself a little rule – if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. Negative self-talk only digs us deeper into the pit of negativity. Treat yourself as you would treat those you love.
7. Surround yourself with positivity – Is your social media feed dragging you down? Is it full of airbrushed images of so called ‘beautiful’ people? Maybe it’s time to do a little spring clean of your newsfeed and remove anything that makes you feel negative about yourself. Search out positive people, with a positive, yet honest outlook on life, not just those who share the airbrushed selfies, and ‘best life’ posts. Find your tribe!
8. Be your own competition – Forget how everyone else is performing and focus solely on being the best version of you, instead of feeling like second best to someone else. Life would be very boring if we all looked the same, and were able to do the same things to the same standard. We are all awesome in our own way and any progress we make is to be applauded. Make sure you applaud your own victories then strive to beat yesterday!
9. Dress to impress (you!) – Put away those clothes that don’t fit you right now (whether that’s the ‘thin clothes’ or the ‘fat clothes’) in a suitcase, and focus on what’s in your wardrobe that makes you look and feel a million dollars. Whether that’s for a workout, a day at work, a trip to the supermarket or a night out with friends. You don’t need a huge wardrobe to look and feel great, a few staple pieces that fit well and make you feel great, can go a long way. The world is your catwalk and you have to own it!!
10. Do something nice for yourself – Make sure you take time out to do something nice for yourself regularly. We often get so wrapped up in looking after everyone else we forget to look after ourselves. A bath, a walk in nature, reading a book, getting lost in a great movie, or a trip to the beach can do wonders for us. Make sure you reward yourself with these simple pleasures, for all that your body does for you.
Body positivity is more than just feeling positive about our appearance, it’s about looking after ourselves, keeping ourselves well and being proud of who we are.
This week, start to develop your own body positivity and practice some of our top tips. If you have any ideas on how we can be more body positive, share them in the comments below.