I used to think that people with a positive body image simply were thin and muscular (and thereby fit our odd Western standards), so how could they not like and appreciate their bodies?
Or I used to think that I couldn’t like my body until I lost weight, until I actually deserved to love it. In my current shape, it just wasn’t right to have a healthy body image. I had to be ashamed if I weren’t thin.
But, as we know, nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve learned, thankfully, quite a bit since those days. That’s why I wanted to share with you some of the things that people with a positive body image know. The real stuff. Not what you read in women’s magazines or see in weight-loss commercials.
1. That it’s important to take good care of your body.
2. That our body does a lot for us, even though we’ve bashed it over and over and over.
3. That exercise is meant to be enjoyed, so you only practice the physical activities that are fun and truly make you feel good.
4. That you’ll still have days where you probably hate your body and your life. And that’s OK.
5. That your negative thoughts are not actions. So just because you feel bad about your body and want to restrict your food or over-exercise or miss that get-together doesn’t mean you will. It’s just a thought. You can choose to act on it or not.
6. That a positive body image means more than liking your thighs, butt and belly. That it encompasses not just taking good care of yourself but also honoring your body, respecting your boundaries and seeing doctors for regular appointments and when you’re sick.
7. That sleep does a mind and body good!
8. That you always have time to take care of yourself.
9. That you’re more than a few body parts. You’re an entire, amazing package.
10. That you’re worthy and deserving of respect at any size, shape or weight.
11. That weight loss isn’t a magical elixir for everything that’s wrong with your life.
12. That ads and magazines are preposterously Photoshopped so that the actual actresses and models don’t even look like that. That’s why they have to “train” so hard for their fashion shows. (And by train hard, I mean engage in super unhealthy habits.)
13. That eating is flexible and enjoyable.
14. That you can wear whatever the heck you like, not just supposedly slimming black clothes or bulky cardigans and sweatshirts.
15. That you don’t have to wait to lose weight to pursue your dreams. You can. do. it. right. now. (And I hope you will.)
16. That people who make mean remarks about your body are jerks, and their comments are more about them than you.
17. That just because everyone around you is dieting doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest thing to do. (If everyone was jumping off a cliff…just kidding.)
18. That your feelings are not scary or to be avoided at all costs. Instead, they provide you with valuable information about your needs and the actions you might want to take.
19. That having a positive body image is a process. Day by day. It might seem oh-so impossible at first but if you start small, it’ll improve.
20. That you deserve to love your body at any size, shape or weight!
What would you add to the list?
* Inspired by Alisa Bowman’s post “What Happily Married People Know” on her blog Project Happily Ever After. It’s an awesome, honest, hilarious and helpful blog. I’m not married but I read it regularly.
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Last reviewed: 2 Dec 2011