Staying body positive all the time is hard, frankly, it’s impossible. We are so used to seeing and hearing messages of body hate, that we have become accustomed to the feelings of low self-esteem that so many of us are dealing with. Even the most positive of body positive activists have days when they look in the mirror and shudder – but that’s not our fault, sometimes it’s a challenge to stay positive about our bodies.
We are not to blame for the way we feel about our bodies, that’s society’s crap to deal with, and it’s important to remember that you are in control of how you feel about your body, how you relate to your body and the way that you treat your body. So, what can you do on the days where you feel down about the way you look? Here are 7 Things You Can Do When Body Positivity is Hard…
1. Have go-to body positive mantras for when you get stuck on negative self-talk
We’re living in a world that pours body image ideals down our throats – we can’t walk down the street or open a magazine without being faced with body shaming language and photographs. Inevitably, these messages that we are being force-fed are bound to have an impact on our self-esteem and will likely spark a tirade of negativity within your inner monologue. But when this happens, do you have to listen to that voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough/not thin enough/not worthy of love, do you hell! You can overcome these negative discussions but having go-to body positive mantra for when you get stuck on negative self-talk – replace the hate with affirming declarations of love to yourself.
2. Make a gratitude list
Often, we forget to take stock of the things around us that we are thankful for, through no fault of our own. We are led to believe that there are always improvements to make with our appearance and we rarely afford ourselves the luxury of recognising the things that we DO have as opposed to the things that we DON’T have. To do this, grab some paper and jot down ten things about your body beginning each one with ‘I am thankful for…’ When you’ve finished, pop it in your bag or purse, and whenever you feel that you’re getting low about yourself, whip it out and have a read.
TOP TIP – when writing your gratitude list, make sure you are really thinking about the things that you are thankful for. It is easy to think generically when it comes to our bodies, but make it personal to you.
3. Cleanse your wardrobe
Raise your hand if you wear the same things day in day out. Now keep your hand up if at least a third of your wardrobe goes unworn because it doesn’t fit you or you don’t like how it makes you look. If your hand is still up, then it’s time to cleanse your wardrobe! Many of us stick with the same items of clothing because one day, they might just fit again – but c’mon, all you’re doing with this tactic is making yourself feel like crap because the clothes are the wrong size for your body. Cleansing your wardrobe is incredibly therapeutic and well worth the time, it might just pull you out of the negative funk you’ve fallen into. Remember, clothes are supposed to fit you, not the other way round!
TOP TIP – why don’t you sell or donate your unwanted clothes? That way you’re either making some money for (YAY) more clothes that fit you right, or you’re helping a worthy cause with your donated clothes.
4. Know that you’re fighting an industry that profits from you hating yourself
If you’re finding body positivity hard right now, then sit down and really think about why that is? Why do you feel that you need to be thinner or more toned? Why do you feel that you need to go on a food detox? Why do you feel pressured to join the gym? The answer to this, is money. We are fighting an industry that profits from you hating yourself meaning that when you are made to feel like crap about your body, the powers that be expect you to want to do something about it. Meaning more £££ for them as you’re paying for the weight-loss materials that they’ve made you think that you need. Listen up! You do not need to conform to a society that is trying to milk you for your money and you certainly do not need to conform to one that is trying to milk you for your self-esteem.
5. Read body positive books
When body positivity gets tough, the tough read body positive books. There is something comforting to know that you’re not alone in the fight for more realistic body image representations and more acceptance. If you’re finding body positivity difficult, then grab a cuppa and settle down with one of the below books, you’re not alone!
- Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
- Body Positive Power: How to Stop Dieting, Make Peace with Your Body and Live by Megan Crabbe
- Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon
- Bawdy Love: 10 Steps to Profoundly Loving Your Body by Lauren Marie Fleming
- Dietland by Sarai Walker
- Shrill by Lindy West
- FAT!SO? : Because You Don’t Have to Apologize for Your Size by Marilyn Wann
6. Challenge your toxic relationships
It is so important that you take time to think about your relationships. We are creatures of habit, and without knowing it, we might have been surrounding ourselves with people who pollute our attitudes. Those who body shame and perpetual dieters can be toxic to the way that you relate to your body, they can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and it will all be hidden under the guise of ‘only caring about you and your health…’ Bullshit. Those who surround you should support your beliefs, desires and passions (NB: this isn’t the same as agreeing with them, but they should respect them at least). If you feel that those around you are detrimental to you and your self-esteem, then maybe it’s time that you had a conversation with them.
7. Be realistic about your body positivity
Lastly, you need to be realistic about your body positivity. No-one is body positive all the time. No-one loves themselves all the time. There are times when your body might fail you, where you might be overcome by body shaming messages, where you might just feel like shit… and you know what? These are nothing to be ashamed of. None of us are immune to feeling down about our appearances, and sometimes we just have to ride these things out. If you’re suffering with low self-esteem then please reach out, please connect, please find support and love, because you are not alone. Body positivity can be tough, but I’d put money on you being tougher.