The Body Positive movement has done SO much work in breaking the myths diet culture and social media have taught us. The hashtags #bodypositive and #bodyneutral have become one of the most used hashtags in this past year. Which clearly means there is an amazing shift going on. Perfection is perceived as being boring and not real and showing your flaws on social media is being praised. Can I just say I LOVE this SO MUCH?! I could bawl my eyes out.
Having said this, I think there's a huge difference between being body neutral and being body positive.
I have ALWAYS aimed for Body Positivity and I still am, but I think there's even more power in being body neutral. Our bodies are ALWAYS fluctuating and changing throughout our lives. If you can make peace with that concept in itself. Now THAT'S POWERFUL.
There's no point in loving your current body with the exception that it can only be loved when it's X amount of kilos or fits in X size jeans. You can ABSOLUTELY love or accept your current body and be OK with whatever your weight will be in the next coming weeks, months and years to come.
Especially for women; our hormones can dictate our whole being. Our outlook on life, our fat storage and so much more. We have the ability to get monthly periods, get pregnant; a woman's physiology is just plain AMAZING.
Maybe one day I'll write a whole essay on how awesome we female species are.
Body neutrality for me means that I don't put too much emphasis and importance on my looks anymore. Every single day I try to think of all the things that I want to be known for. I hope my friends and family will think of me as genuine, loving, nurturing, funny, witty, confident and maybe some other things. None of them have anything to do with my weight or looks.
I definitely still love to wear cute clothes, do my make-up and dress up now and then. There's nothing wrong with that. I just do whatever makes me feel comfortable. Sometimes that means I might look like a homeless person and not washing my hair for a week and sometimes that means wearing a tight dress with over-the-knee boots. Or wearing something which shows off my bloated belly instead of covering it up. Or going on a date knowing I'm insanely bloated, on my period and I having a break-out on my forehead but still make it work, because you know; I'm funny and witty.
And you know what?! Nobody except for you cares about that. The other person only sees your personality shine through all of that exterior nonsense. I would NEVER judge a person or even notice if they'd gain a couple of pounds, were bloated, didn't wear the best outfit or anything. And if you do: you might need to go into therapy. Just saying...
Anyway, here are my 5 tips.
1. Stop following social media accounts that make you feel unworthy and start following body positivity accounts
Basically do some deep cleaning on your instagram or any other platform that makes you feel like shit. I'm still doing this every single day and I'm so happy to see so many women and men are sharing the REAL side of life. Life is not meant to fake it until we make it. This brings me to my second tip.
2. Listen to helpful podcasts, look at helpful quotes and photos on body neutral/weight neutral/body positive Instagram accounts and read articles about these topics
These are personally one of the best things I can do for myself on bad body image days. Knowing that you're not alone in this fight is also really comforting. I always look at inspiring photos and quotes on instagram which relate to my story. Some of my favourite Instagram accounts and women who have recovered from an eating disorder are: @ownitbabe, @kristamurias, @victorianiamh, @bodyposipanda, @bodypositivememes
3. Be grateful
So simple, but so true. I know it's really hard to be grateful when all you want to do is cry about how shit you feel. You are allowed to cry and feel sorry for yourself, but sometimes we need a little kick in the butt and tell ourselves: "okay, so I'm definitely not feeling great about how I look. But there are people out there who have a way tougher life than I do. Look around. Take in the little things. I have a roof over my head. I can breathe. I can communicate. I have been giving a life. Let's not take this for granted." I know, I know, I know how hard this can be.
But TRY. Please TRY to acknowledge and appreciate what you DO have.
4. Get out of your head, find distraction & tell someone how you feel
Try some gentle movement like yoga or take a walk if you can. If you can't; deep breathing and stretching can get you out of this fight or flight modus. Don't punish yourself by doing an intense workout which you didn't feel like doing. If you feel like punching someone in the face, take it out on a punching ball. Be my guest. But don't do it because you feel like you HAVE to. Always put "being gentle and kind to yourself" to the forefront.
Distraction can also come into the form of creativity such as arts and crafts, painting, whatever floats your boat. For me it is bedazzling my accessories with rhinestones or meeting up with a friend. I ALWAYS tell someone how I feel that day. It can be a voice message, a phone call or just saying it to someone's face. I can't fake how I'm feeling and it always gives me such relief to share my feelings and seeing it from another person's perspective.
Don't be hesitant about their reaction. 9/10 times you'll be pleasantly surprised.
5. Stop weighing yourself
I can't emphasize this enough. I'm part of the anti-scale-movement. Kidding. But not really. At all. I haven't weighed myself in three years and I'm not planning to for the rest of my life. A number doesn't say ANYTHING about you and stepping on a scale only makes your demons talk louder.