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Body Positivity Challenge

Our world today makes it extremely challenging to love yourself and your unique body. With a constant parade of unhealthy and unrealistic body types on every advertisement, social media forum and movie, its nearly impossible to think positively about the body you’ve been gifted. There’s a lot going against us. Realizing this gives reason to fight against the norm, to develop body positivity rather than falling down the rabbit whole of thinking we’re “not good enough.”

Body love doesn’t happen magically.

With a little work we can begin to fall in love with ourselves and recognize all we have to offer. All relationships take time, energy, attention and compassion to nurture their growth, especially our relationship with ourselves. The more we feed our minds with negative thoughts the more likely our thoughts are to trend in that negative direction. By intentionally nurturing ourselves with positive & compassionate thoughts, we can generate momentum to flow toward kindness & self-love.

Negative body talk doesn’t only impact you, it impacts those around you, making others feel like it’s ok to talk down to themselves. This is especially important to keep in mind when young people are around. Childhood and adolescence is when we begin gathering concepts about self-worth or lack of. Teaching younger generations to love their unique body will support a future with more body positivity.

It’s time we stood up for ourselves, and our bodies, by putting a stop to negative body talk. But where do we start? This month, I challenge you to partake in at least one body positive activity every day. Here are a few ideas:

  • No Fat Talk. Stop commenting on how “large” your thighs are, or how you hate your belly, especially when young people are around.
  • Re-direct negative body talk, even when it’s coming from your parents, elders, friends or a stranger. Develop a sense of strength and pride in your body and be ready to defend it. Practice this in the mirror so you’re prepared when the opportunity arises. Here are some examples:
    • When responding to someone’s negative comments about your body try responding with something like:
      • “Actually, I am really proud of the unique body I’ve been gifted.”
      • “Unfortunately, our society has an unhealthy and unrealistic perception on what a ‘healthy’ body looks like and I believe my body is beautiful.”
    • When noticing a friend or family member talk negatively about their body try redirecting them:
      • “You know Katie, your body doesn’t define you. You have so much more to offer including your intelligence and intuition.”
      • “Don’t focus on how you look, but how you FEEL. If those pants don’t make you FEEL good, then wear something that does.”
      • “All of our bodies are uniquely beautiful in their own way. We shouldn’t let society mandate what ‘beauty’ looks like.”
    • Write down a positive quality about yourself, unrelated to your appearance.
    • Wear an outfit that makes you feel great. Don’t look in the mirror before walking out the door.
    • Identify a body part you love and why.
      • For example, “I love my strong legs because they allow me to explore canyons and mountains.”
    • Give compliments with intention by focusing on something other than physical appearance, such as a quality of someone’s personality.
    • Refuse to compare yourself to others. When you find yourself doing it, STOP and remind yourself of the mantra: “A flower does not think of competing with the flour next to it. It just booms.”
    • Abstain from social media for an entire day, or at least limit your time to no more than 5 minutes.
      • Have you ever noticed how you feel after scrolling through facebook or instagram. Does it uplift you or push you down? Become picky about who you follow and how much time you devote to social media.

Now the hope, of course, is this challenge will continue beyond a month and these daily practices will inspire those around you to embrace body positivity. Crown yourself as a body positivity warrior and allow those around you to realize there is a different way of treating ourselves: with compassion and love.

For more inspiration and information on body positivity, check out this infographic by Eating Disorder Care, inspired by some of the body positive warriors of the world.

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