The night that I went to the gym to work off a 100-calorie pack of pretzels was the night I realized I was in deep and something needed to change. There had to be a different way.
I could begin learning to love and accept myself and fuel myself properly with not only good nutrition, but self-love, self-kindness, and compassion, or I could carry on like this – a slave to the number on the scale who was miserable, despite having arrived at her “goal” weight.
Thus, my journey began into the world of nutrition and personal development.
Fast forward, years later and many clients later (and a whole lot of self-love later), I began to discover not only what worked for me, but what worked for others who were body positive.
Here’s what I discovered about body positive people.
More importantly, here’s what can allow YOU to begin appreciating your body too – no diet required…
1. Exercise to feel good, NOT to make up for what you ate, or more importantly to allow yourself food.
Body positive people focus on the act of moving their body and how it allows them to feel (i.e., less stressed, euphoric, grounded) – not the outcome of how it will make their body look. In other words, they’re mindful about their movement and present when they’re in the act of moving their body. With the present as their focus, they also don’t use shame of their past actions to motivate them (i.e., eating too much). And they don’t use exercise as a way to “allow” themselves more food later.
Exercise here is a way to connect your mind with your physical body – becoming one – in a beautiful moving meditation that allows you to exclusively focus on the now. A simple practice you can try: write in a journal how you feel before a workout and then write how you feel after a workout.
2. Donate clothes that are waiting on your weight.
It’s very common to be holding on to those pair of skinny jeans we haven’t worn in years because someday we may “get there.” In fact, it’s not uncommon to have a huge closet or dresser section of clothes you may “someday” wear. But by holding onto these old clothes, whether you know it or not, you’re holding onto old energy and reminding yourself everyday that you’re just not there. Motivating? I think not.
Donate the clothes that are keeping your energy stagnant and focus on clothes that make you feel good in your body and skin. This alone will motivate you to take better care of yourself, which is always the first step in any wellness journey.
3. Focus on what your body allows you to do, not what it isn’t.
Body positive people have the tendency to focus on what they’re grateful for and this includes their gratitude of what their body allows them to do. They don’t body-bash their “thick thighs;” instead they praise their thighs and thank them for allowing them to walk, hike, and move and groove.
It’s a radical shift in perspective when you can begin to appreciate the things you take for granted – like a read a book – that your body allows you to do. Jotting down a few of these things daily is a beautiful way to change your mindset.
4. When it comes to how you fuel your body, be mindful.
There’s no “off-limits foods” for body positive folks, but there is a practice most of them follow, mindful eating. The largest piece to this is honoring their hunger and fullness. And to be able to do this, they’re very in-sync with their physical being.
You can journey down this path too by using a hunger scale and tuning-in to your body. The scale goes from 0-10. Zero on the scale means you’re at “empty” and starving. Ten means you ate so much you feel sick. Five means you’re neutral. With this in mind, you want to eat when your body gets to a three or four, and you have physiological hunger pangs. And you finish your eating experience when you’re around a six or seven, meaning you’re satisfied. Basically, there are no extremes here. It’s simple (but a practice) and takes us back to how we ate as kids – you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
5. Add creativity and fun back in your life now (stop letting your size hold you back).
Body positive people don’t wait to interview, buy a new dress, or sign up for a class until they reach their goal weight. Because usually they don’t have a “goal weight.” Instead, they focus on choosing actions, people, foods, and a mindset that allows them to feel good long-term.
Take action by doing the thing you’re waiting to do! This is likely what you need the most in order to propel yourself forward into making the choices and creating the life you ultimately want to live.
6. Listen to your body on a whole new level (don’t force yourself to exercise or eat something you don’t really want).
At their core, body positive people do things that make them feel good, not that make them “thin.” Their focus is long-term health and joy, not a number on a scale. That being said, they also listen to their body on a deep level and aren’t afraid to say, “NO.” They’ll pass up on dessert, if they’re full (even if everyone is eating it anyways). They’ll choose to read instead of hike on vacation, if they need a break and some soul time. They’ll tuck into bed early and decline a night out, if tired. They listen and most importantly, honor what they need.
You can practice this too by looking inwards and not being afraid to listen to what your body is telling you and speaking your authentic truth.
7. Practice radically honest self-reflection.
Body positive people aren’t afraid to dig deep for their truth. They’re aware if they’re engaging in negative self-talk, eating past the point of satisfaction, or just generally having a really bad day. But they don’t judge themselves for it. They’re aware of it, dig a little deeper (if needed), and then move forward.
You can begin practicing this by not judging yourself when things don’t go according to plan, but just noticing it. What this really means is don’t go down the path of negative self-talk. Practice awareness, not judgement. This awareness will undoubtedly guide you to making the best choices for you and where you are, as you continue through your wellness journey.
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