A Google search for the term “body positivity” will give you nearly 9 million results. But body positivity is more than just an internet trend or a social media hashtag. It is a way of challenging society’s norms and a movement that advocates for people to love and support their bodies. Unfortunately, for a long time, exercising and body positivity have been looked at as polar opposites. It doesn’t have to be this way. Being body positive does not mean supporting only some decisions that people make regarding their bodies; it also means supporting those who may want to shed a few kilos or gain an inch on their biceps. Some people want to do this because they have either determined that being a certain weight is the best way to go for their own health (this is not to say that all plus-size people have health problems or that all problems can be solved by losing weight) or that they will feel their best at a certain weight. Being positive about your body and exercising can go hand in hand. So here are a few things that you can do to improve your health and your overall fitness while still remaining body positive.
- Set your goals right
While starting your fitness journey it is important to set your goals early on. What is it that you want to do? Lose weight? Gain muscle? Increase your overall endurance? This will make your journey a lot smoother. Having said this, it is important that you set realistic goals and assure and constantly reassure yourself that you will not gain the body of that actor in that movie in a span of 12 weeks. Like all good things, this will also take time. Setting your goals and expectations right will also make sure you don’t use unhealthy ways of achieving your goals.
- Throw complicated diets out of the window
Do not use complicated dieting methods where you starve yourself for hours on end. Living a healthy life does not have to be complicated. You can still eat foods you like (albeit not all the time) and you don’t necessarily have to cut out a certain food from your life just because that one diet says so. Someone once said, “Diets are a Band-Aid; Lifestyle changes are real medicine” and I one hundred percent agree with that. To lose weight, eat in a caloric deficit and to gain weight, eat in a caloric surplus. Also, of course, avoid junk food. Yes, it is that easy!
- Stop comparing yourself to social media influencers
Most people give up on their fitness goals or end up hating their bodies because they do not look like the influencers they see on their social media timeline. What many people do not understand is that most, if not all, of your social media influencers, models and even actors are on some sort of steroid cycle that helps them attain that Greek God/Goddess look. Many of those bodies are unattainable naturally, without the use of some enhancing substance. And you most definitely do not need to do that to your body or look like that!
- Make peace with exercise
If going to the gym and lifting weights starts feeling like a chore and it feels like you are dragging yourself, then maybe look at other options. Going to the gym is just one of the many ways of being fit - it may or may not be for you. You can try your hand at various things like Zumba, cycling and yoga. Stick with something that you enjoy and something that makes you want to be consistent. If you enjoy something, there’s a higher chance that you will stick with it and continue doing it for a prolonged period of time.
- Make peace with yourself
You have probably heard this before, but I think it is important that you hear it again. If you’re unhappy with life right now, then losing a few kilograms will not change anything. You need to make decisions about your body by yourself and you have to make it for yourself and yourself only. You do not need to explain it to anyone at all. You are amazing as you are, at whatever size you are. Your body doesn’t speak for who you are and nor does it owe anyone anything.
You know what’s best for you and you know what feels right to you. It is important that you find what works for yourself and don’t force yourself into making a decision based on society’s rigid rules about beauty standards. Truly accepting your body means coming from a place of love and comfort and not that of perfection. Above everything it's important to honour your body and yourself.