Every body is worthy of love and celebration. With the body positivity movement gaining traction, it is wonderfully affirming to see signs of our beauty standards being broadened. From plus-sized influencers advocating for self-love to models with visible disabilities gracing magazine covers, we are finally beginning to shift the narrative and give proper appreciation for marginalized body types.
But while you may support and celebrate others on their personal path, you may still find yourself struggling to embrace your own body. When you’ve been taught your entire life that thinness equals fitness, it can take time and effort to unlearn that harmful mindset.
We’re here to help. Here is some actionable advice to help you find your path to body-positive fitness and love yourself every step of the way:
1. Retell the story behind your “flaws.”
Instead of focusing on what your body isn’t, focus on what your body is—the vessel that allows you to perceive and experience the amazing world around you. How incredible is it that your lungs breathe in fresh air, your stomach digests food into energy, your legs climb mountains?
Every single ‘flaw’ you see is a part of you; a page in your story. Stretch marks are the physical manifestation of growth. Sunspots are memories of outdoor adventures, basking in the warmth of the summer. Laugh lines are evidence of a life well-lived, enjoying happy moments with friends and family. When you realize how much gratitude you owe your body for all that it offers you, your imperfections will start to seem more and more insignificant.
2. Track your mental progress, not physical.
If you’re the type of person that loves setting numerical goals, stick with it! But we recommend a small body-positive change: shift away from tracking your progress in pounds and focus on numbers that measure your strength and resilience. In the fit52 app, we encourage you to collect achievements that show your dedication to a healthier lifestyle—the number of workouts you’ve done, the hours you’ve put in, and the cards you’ve completed.
As Carrie Underwood advises in her book, FIND YOUR PATH:
“Don’t let the scale play mind games with you! What matters is that you feel good, that you have energy and strength to get through your day, and that you like the way you look. What matters is that you feel like the best version of yourself. When you can look in the mirror with real honesty and self-awareness and say, “Yes, this is me!” then you know you are on the right track.”
3. Reframe the way you speak to yourself.
Did you know that thinking negative thoughts can increase your risk for depression and even weaken your immune system? Luckily, the opposite is true as well! If you reframe your mindset and practice body-positive self-talk, you can actively improve your physical and mental wellbeing.
Next time you catch yourself thinking negatively about your body, pause, and instead choose to praise yourself on the details that you love. Be kind and empathetic, just as you would when complimenting a friend or loved one. It may feel awkward at first, but this “fake it till you make it” approach can do wonders in helping you develop a healthy body image.
It’s a long journey, so we encourage you to make self-love an ongoing, daily practice. Try reciting this body-positive affirmation: