My journey to being body positive is still a work in progress. I hope this short little blog will make at least one person feel better. Remember, you are amazing as you are and you need to take care of yourself and your needs, always!
TW: Eating Disorders, body dysmorphia, disordered weight and body image
My journey to being body positive is still a work in progress. In the past, my body perception has been swinging considerably. I suffered from a borderline eating disorder, over-exercising with an unhealthy attitude, and pursuing unachievable ideals of body image. With time, these behaviours not only revealed to be unsustainable, but also harmed my relationship with other people and my overall quality of life.
Having realised how much these tendencies were hurting me, I decided to change and I have started doing things I love and rejoice from small activities in life. The first step I took towards body positivity was allowing myself to consume foods that I enjoy. Just because something is not a “fit” “fat-free” option, it doesn’t mean that having it will harm you – especially because, believe me, you won’t want to have it all the time! Freedom of nutrition led me to the second stage for achieving body positivity. Which is, realising you are so much more than your body! What makes life worth living is enjoying quality time with friends and family, laughing, working hard towards your objectives, learning, and experiencing new things. I started to prioritise these activities rather than obsessing over food and exercise, and my quality of life has improved considerably. Not only, but I have achieved so much more thanks to this positive mindset! Thirdly, I learnt to listen to my body and understand its needs. You don’t have to exercise obsessively to exhaustion. Just be active doing something you love! Very important to me has been dancing, which gives me joy and helps me discharge stress with healthy and inspiring physical exercise. The final necessary step for body positivity, towards which I am still working, is stopping to compare yourself to others. We are born with bodies that are different and we must learn to appreciate it. Our bodies are what enables us to be healthy, enjoy quality moments, go places, achieve objectives, and much more. We should always be grateful for what we have and remember to take care of our bodies in the way that each of us individually feels the most appropriate and positively impactful for a good life.
I think body positivity is sometimes interpreted in a shallow way and associated only with learning to love physical imperfections that distance us from the beauty standard. The deeper interpretation of it is, instead, that there is no such thing as a beauty standard to compare to. Beauty is subjective, and there is nothing more beautiful than a happy, positive, rich soul to spend your time with. Remember that, if you listen to it, your body will tell you what it needs, without any need to overthink. Trust your body, and trust your feelings. At the same time, however, I am aware that we live in a very judgmental society around body image. So I want to stress how important it is to be sensitive about the existence of body negativity and try to not trigger it around vulnerable individuals. Being a good neighbour and refraining from making body-related comments can have a huge impact on the people around you, spreading positivity, confidence, and generally helping them with their wellbeing.
Finally, being body positive to me means accepting the physical attributes we have been given, embracing all of the activities that our bodies allow us to do, and enjoying all of out features that make ourselves who we are. Body positivity can be so impactful to improve people's professional and academic performance, as well as social interactions.
I hope this short little blog will make at least one person feel better. Remember, you are amazing as you are and you need to take care of yourself and your needs, always!