15 August 2018

Live in the moment

If you struggle to accept your body the way it is, you’ve probably promised yourself, “I’ll do it once I lose weight”, at least once. When we’re insecure, we start postponing our life, telling ourselves that changing our body is the most important priority, and that life can start once this impossible goal has been achieved. Megan knows this habit well; she used to turn down family outings, trips with friends, and even quit jobs in favour of focusing on losing weight. The first step to being body positive is to start living your best life. Not next week, not when your diet is over, not 10 pounds from now. Today.

Start posing for photographs

Being insecure is a lot of work, especially when it comes to photographs. Finding the right angle, the right lighting, the right slimming outfit, the right friends to hide behind – it’s exhausting and unnecessary. We might even avoid taking photos all together, purely out of the fear that we’ll be too embarrassed or ashamed to post them on social media. Photographs are wonderful keepsakes, testaments to the wonderful life you live. Embrace the body you’re in by posing confidently for the camera. Your future self will thank you for the memories.

Ditch the #fitspo community on Instagram

Different social media communities have found about one thousand new ways to define what the perfect body should look like. They claim to be part of the body positivity movement, but they are actually selling a very specific idea of what we need to become. #StrongIsTheNewSkinny #RealWomenHaveCurves #DogsLikeMeatNotBones

Remember that your body is perfect the way it is. It does not have to be ‘toned’, ‘defined’, or ‘filled out’ by an #instablogger charging £80 an hour for their coaching services. These pages market different products and diets, but their message is the same: your body is bad and it needs to change. Stop following these accounts and just do what feels right for you.

Start a diet culture detox

The word ‘detox’ might bring to mind images of models posing with packets of skinny tea (read: laxative), recipes for the Beyoncé’s weight loss drink (read: laxative with cayenne pepper), or juice fasts (don’t get me started). This is a different kind of detox. Megan thinks of it as “self-esteem spring cleaning”.

First, throw out any weight loss pills, creams, oils, or lollipops that are taking up space in your cupboards. Throw out all zero-calorie foods that you do not enjoy. Toss any diet books, appetite-reducing hypnosis tapes, and weight-loss magazines into the pile. Burn everything. Okay, so you don’t actually have to burn them. But get rid of them.

Delete calorie counter apps off your phone, unfollow people that make you feel like your body needs a “reboot”, and post a fire selfie for good measure.

Start exercising for performance and enjoyment

How many hours of your life have you wasted doing exercise that you hate? These can include, but are not limited to: fat-burning fitness classes, hour-long treadmill runs, evenings spent on the stairs to nowhere. If you spend your workout watching each second tick by slowly and painfully, then you should stop. Instead of aiming to burn 300 calories each day, aim to work towards a new fitness goal that will bring you pride and satisfaction. Instead of lugging your exhausted body to the gym, find a sport you enjoy and play it with your friends.

Body positivity

Throw out your bathroom scale

Consider this as part of your diet culture detox. “Every time we step on to the scale hoping to see that magic number, we’re handing our happiness over to a hunk of metal, plastic, and glass. We’re letting whatever digits pop up dictate how we feel about ourselves for the whole day.” By throwing away our scale, we are giving power back to ourselves. Body confidence is all about empowerment.

Dress for success

Society has given us countless rules when it comes to dressing according to our weight. It seems as though the less conventional our body types are, the less things we are ‘allowed’ to wear. We start banishing clothes we actually like from our closets because we wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing them. Life is too short. Wear the clothes you like without shame or guilt. Throw out any clothes you are ‘saving’ for a smaller version of yourself – your new goal is to be happy where you are right now.

Learn about the history of body trends

Another reason to love museums: they are full of paintings and statues of beautiful women with different body types than the ones we see on TV. It’s important to remember that skinny hasn’t always meant perfect, that in the past, voluptuous women were the ideal. The ‘ideal’ body is always changing, mostly because there is no such thing as a perfect body.

Take the pledge

In Megan’s book, you will find a page for you to cut out, complete, and display proudly on your wall. This is a pledge to stop dieting forever, and to start giving your body the respect it deserves. Look at it every day and remember the commitment you’ve made to yourself.

Get mad

No one was born hating his or her body. We are coached from a young age to feel insecure, and to buy products to fix this problem. “Get mad about the first time you were ever made to feel bad about your body. Get mad about the fact that the average age for girls to start dieting is eight years old. Get mad about all that wasted time spent only half-living. Get mad about not being able to turn on your TV, open a magazine, or walk down the street without being sold the idea that your body is wrong.”

Talk to yourself the way you would a friend

You wouldn’t tell a friend that they are ugly or unworthy because of the way they look, so why tell yourself that? Your body has brought you a long way, helping you to achieve so many goals and dreams. Be kind to it, support it in the same way it supports you every single day.

Megan’s story of how she overcame a life-long battle with her body is as funny as it is inspiring. Body Positive Power for the win.

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