What's Wrong With Being Confident
In the past several years, the body positivity movement has gained some strides. Ad campaigns like Dove have embraced women of all ages, and models like Ashley Graham have put plus size on the catwalk and covers of magazines. Airbrushing flaws until the person is beyond recognition have eased up considerably on billboards. Publications have also stopped offering ways to drop ten pounds in 24 hours, lest they start a rash of unattainable goals that result in diet disorders.
Yet, many still have fitness goals with weight loss and muscle gain in their mind’s eye. In a world where unhealthy processed foods are more the norm than natural and organic and people spend a bulk of their day in their car, adopting an active lifestyle isn’t always easy. Still the strive to be fit, sends millions to hit the gym or the track, every day.
The main tenant of body positivity is to love you just the way you are, Billy Joel style. So if you are hitting the gym, in a training routine or still hoping to lose a few pounds, is it possible to pursue these goals and still maintain body positivity?
If you follow a few tips, you can achieve both while on your journey:
Sticks And Stones
Quit calling yourself names like fat. You have fat on your body. Fat is not the embodiment of who you are. There may be spots on your physique that you want to improve, which is normal. Many of us can pinch an inch that we would rather see turn to muscle. It is fine to want to tighten and tone and build strength and muscle. However, calling yourself names or comparing your body to someone else isn’t going to help you reach your goals but it will definitely bum you out, and can even hurt your progress. According to Fit Day, negativity towards yourself can hinder weight loss. Remember all of the things your body allows you to do as you work to become healthier and be good to it. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. Cause you are your own friend, right?
All The Feels
According to Lindsay Kite, Ph.D. owner of Beauty Redefined, it is best to “focus on fitness, not fatness”. In her dissertation on the subject of body positivity, she urges people to separate their definition of fitness and weight. “You are not a “before” and “after”.” By focusing on how your body feels rather than it looks, faster results might happen.
Losing weight isn’t a bad goal to have, but one healthy mindset may be to gain strength and flexibility. Or to improve your running time or increase your kettlebell weight. By focusing on training gains, rather than the number on the scale, you may find success in both areas. Treat your body as something to sustain, rather than something needed to be fixed.
End food guilt. Exercise isn’t a punishment for eating. Food is fuel for the body and you shouldn’t beat yourself up because you had a bit more than you normally eat here or there. Some pizza now or then won’t sink your regimen. You’re human, not a robot, and you should be able to enjoy a treat without putting yourself in the stockade.
Strength In Numbers
Sometimes working towards a goal can be a solitary pursuit. It can get lonely working towards something day in and day out without any encouragement or companionship. You have to love what you are doing or really love and want the result. Instead of dreading your routine, make it something you look forward to. If you hate running, then perhaps spinning is something you’d prefer. If you are feeling like you’re on a fitness island, join a class with a group of friends who have a positive vibe and will cheer you on and support you. If your brunch crew swear by a Pilates class with a cult-like fervor, maybe it is something you will love as well. If you spend time with people who complain about their bodies or how they feel, you may want to do the same. Work together to achieve your goals, but remember to go at your own pace. Everyone has a achieves milestones at a different rate. Having a group to give you positive reinforcement can help to motivate you to not only meet your goal but keep your body positivity intact.
Redefining your goals may very well help you reach them. If you are hoping to make progress by looking at yourself in the mirror and hoping to see a fit model, you may give up on yourself when you don’t see that reflection. If you take stock of the progress your body is making and notice the small changes, you may stay invested. Measure by a different yardstick. Are you less stressed and calmer throughout the day? Do you get better quality of sleep on days that you work out? Is your stamina improving? How has your flexibility progressed? Set your goals for a realistic timeframe: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Adonis.
Make sure to celebrate yourself, whether it is small gains in your fitness regimen or the things you like about yourself that need no improvement. Whether it is the strength you have that allows you to do 50 pushups and handstands or the fact that you like how you look in a tank top, give yourself props, high five yourself, and if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Even if you haven’t met all your goals, honor the small wins and give your body credit for the millions of things it accomplishes every day.