Like many movements of our age, the Body Positive Movement has extended to a point where it is arguably being overreached. We should all feel good in our skin and love ourselves the way we are, but we shouldn’t be afraid to want more from our bodies, nor should we be afraid to celebrate or show off our fit bodies we worked so hard to achieve.
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Being Fit in a Body Positive World means listening to others feel the need to tell you their excuse for drinking alcohol or eating certain foods. It’s feeling like you have to defend yourself for wanting to eat healthy or start a workout program. Where is the line between helping others feel positive about themselves and tearing down their fitness goals?
What does it mean to be fit?
There are so many explanations for what this means to different people. For some it means they can fit into the same size they were wearing in High School, others it’s being able to run a mile without being out of breath. Some view fitness as a certain number of pushups, or even an average score in their favorite sport. There really is no right or wrong, but as a body sculptor I look at my own physical fitness to mean I can do things like carrying heavy bags of groceries up the hill with ease, putting my own carry-on bag in the overhead bin of a plane, or moving the living room furniture by myself. Many of my clients come to me not because they want to be thin, but because they want to look like they can kick your ass.
The body-positive movement has been around for a long time officially beginning in the 90s when a psychologist started up her own body-positive organization after struggling with an eating disorder. Today, thanks to social media it is a mainstream movement where the term has a different meaning depending on who you ask.
> Loving your body in spite of flaws
> Feeling confident about your body
> Loving yourself
> Loving your body’s shape and size
I want all of the above for every person on the planet. However, there must be a line between telling someone to love themselves the way they are and tearing down the goals, dreams, and hard work of those who desire for a body that can do more for them today than a month ago, 6 months ago, or a year ago.
How to maintain body positive ideas when discussing health goals?
When someone mentions that they want to improve themselves, we should cheer them on, and push them forward in their venture.
If a friend wants to lose ten pounds, don’t say, “But why? You look fine as you are.”
Instead, try this… “What inspired you to go after that goal?” or “Goals are important, I am currently working towards XYZ. Have you worked out how you will achieve your goal?”
When a friend tells you they don’t like the way they look or feel in their own skin, ask them “What would make you feel better?”
When a person comes to you and they are feeling sad, depressed, and frustrated, tell them “You matter, things are rough right now. What would help you to feel better today?” Follow it up by asking, “What can you do today so that you also feel better tomorrow?”
We must change the conversations we are having not just with each other, but also with ourselves. If you really want more energy to spend with your kids, or to feel confident wearing a swimsuit in public but have not started the work to get yourself to that point, ask yourself, “What are you afraid of?”
We all know fitness is not one of those things that just happens overnight. We cannot just expect that by following a specialized diet for a few days, weeks, or months that we will immediately look great and keep that look for the rest of our lives. In fact, we can’t even guarantee that if we change nothing about our fitness we will continue looking the way we do today. Our bodies are constantly changing, so it is important we continue to change and work on our fitness, health, and nutrition as well.
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