When I first started to identify with the body positive movement I was neck deep in myfitnesspal.com and counting calories. I began to wonder if it was really possible to focus on losing weight and become “body positive.” It almost derailed my journey to self acceptance.
I was stuck in a logic loop that said that in order to become healthy I had to change my outward appearance. I couldn’t love my body, or myself, until I hit a certain weight. Luckily, the dark side of the health industry did not win the battle for my soul.
Of course, as I’ve talked about in my previous posts, focusing on becoming body positive has lead to a healthier lifestyle. The conundrum really solved itself. Unfortunately, I hear all too often about women who love the idea of loving themselves but they have too much weigh to lose.
Becoming body positive is not about ignoring my health, or pretending like the rules for healthy living don’t apply to me. Fruits and vegetables are still an important part of my diet. Soda is bad for me, and I’m doing very well with kicking it to the curb and detaching from the sugary teet. I still struggle with finding well rounded, healthy, meals that appeal to everyone in my family. I am confident I would be having these struggles either way. It’s the way I go about these struggles that has drastically changed.
In my previous post, I talk about how I’m winning the war against emotional eating without having to wage a single battle.
It’s about health. Honestly, it’s not about losing weight anymore. I no longer buy into the mind-washing BS that I have to be a certain size to enjoy my life, or to be viewed as a decent human being. Because I’m learning to love my body, and all the wonderful things I can do with it, I want to treat it with care. My focus on eating better comes from a more caring and loving place, making it easier to focus on. It’s not fueled by shame, fear, or rules.
It’s about doing things I love. I’ve found physical activities that motivate and inspire me to move my body. I don’t know if I would have found the confidence to explore hiking and dancing without the body positive movement.
I hope you notice what is missing. My health goals aren’t about conforming my body to the unattainable standard of beauty. It’s about living life to it’s largest potential.
We should all want to be as healthy as we can possibly be. We only have one life, one body, and treating it with care is so important. The problem is that we live in a time when so many people confuse healthy with skinny. Not every skinny person is healthy. Not every fat person is unhealthy. Health is not an outward appearance thing. Being healthy is not about how pretty you look. Once I separated pursuing health from pursuing beauty, it made it much easier to focus on trying to live a healthier life.
I have to admit, most of my lifestyle isn’t about pursuing healthy habits at all. I hike because I love the outdoors, and the feeling of exploring something new. I walk because it’s a great way to socialize. I dance because I love synchronizing my body with music. (Let’s be honest, I also like to pretend I’m a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.) I found hobbies that recharg my soul. Yet, because of these hobbies I exercise, and sweat, more every week than I used to in a year.
The healthiest thing I ever did for myself was become body positive. I can honor my body’s unique needs without guilt and shame. I realized that my path to being healthy is something very personal and specific to my body. I could explore what options were right for me.
It’s okay to be body positive and focus on a improving health. Being body positive means being free to find the path that is right for you, and works with what your body needs. The movement is all about recognizing that every body is different, and each person has different needs and health issues. Whatever it is that makes you feel fulfilled and happy, go for it.
It’s your life. It’s your path. It’s your decision. Don’t believe that you have to hate yourself in order to be healthy.