Losing weight and maintaining your ideal weight is an incredibly personal issue. Also, the pressure to be body positive can sometimes be just as tough as the pressure to look a certain way.
It’s a lot to balance. The thing is, as a body positive woman (or man), you have to empower others in all ways: whether that is to accept their bodies as they are or take positive steps towards losing weight, gaining more muscle or getting the nutrition they need. Some people want to lose weight because they’ve decided it is best for their personal health (regardless of what other people may think about them) and some just feel more themselves at a certain weight.
While I am a firm believer in body positivity, I fear it sometimes undercuts the ultimate issue – being unhealthy at a certain weight. Yes, all body types should be societally acceptable, but not when it is physically unhealthy.
I appreciate that there is a middle ground as so many people, men and women, go to both sides of extremism when dealing with a perceived notion of an ugly body. However, from a doctor primarily in this field, I know there does have to be a middle ground and there does have to be positivity but there also has to be a reality check.
So, here are some practical ways you can still be body positive as you strive to lose weight, build muscle or just improve your overall health level.
1. Replace Body Negativity with Body Neutrality
Body neutrality is about choosing to be “okay” with how you look rather than overly regretful or overly positive. This acceptance will guide you away from being over reactive in a positive or negative way. Instead of feeling bad about your body and bringing yourself down, recognize your body for what it is and declare that tomorrow you might feel better about it…or not.
Either way, it is the body you have so you go with it.
The same goes for the opposite; a young, healthy weighted girl standing in front of her mirror exclaiming she needs to lose 20 pounds is also extremely unhealthy. Eating disorders that severely cut calories affects all bodily systems including heart complications and muscle deterioration.
My best advice for body neutrality or body positivity is to do it coupled with healthy living. You can feel genuine acceptance with your body when you know you are doing the right thing for it.
2. Ditch the Daily Weigh-Ins
Numbers never lie, except when it comes to weight loss and healthy weight management. Taking a break from weighing yourself will help you get to know your body better and actually helps the body positivity cause. Also, your weight will fluctuate day-to-day based on things like muscle gain or hormones.
A number should never control you and while weighing yourself once a week can help you track your progress, weighing yourself everyday can put you into a mental tailspin. You might even find you’re reaching your goals faster with weekly weigh-ins!
3. Find Joy in Exercise
Hate dragging yourself to the gym? Don’t do it. There’s no rule that says you have to go. While exercise is necessary for most of us, it does not necessarily have to be tough or grueling of any of us!
Most people I meet have some form of movement or exercise that they truly enjoy. Whether that’s running on the trails outdoors, dancing in their living room to Tailor Swift or sweating away at their local spin class, find the way you enjoy moving. And make a plan to do it more often! It really is that easy.
Go dancing. Go hiking. Go for a swim in your pool or at a water park. There are a million ways to exercise that don’t feel like work. Find something that makes you happy.
4. Ignore the Fashion Mags
Believe it or not, magazine editors do not have your best interests at heart. In fact, a lot of their content just makes us feel bad about ourselves. While it’s tempting to thumb through the shiny magazines at your local checkout for food and weight loss tips, you’re also unknowingly exposing yourself to pages of models and marketing that is designed to make you want a different life.
Live your life! Speak with your doctor about the diet and exercise that is best for you and find a way to enjoy. Then, use Instagram to share the news with friends. Become your own fashion magazine and make yourself the leading woman (or leading man) of your own life!
5. Trade “Diet” for Riot
Anytime the word “diet” comes into our brains, most people do one of two things: become rigidly focused on every meal (weighing our food every second of the day) or immediately plan our next cheat day. Look at food as fun! If you need to add vegetables to your diet, add the ones you love. Make it fun by buying a new spiralizer to make zucchini noodles or find new ways to decorate your next acai bowl. You have no idea how many healthy ways there are to eat acai!
Healthy eating is fun. We just need to retrain our brains to find the fun and joy in it. Why do you think so many Instagram feeds have photos of food in them? When you show off your latest healthy creation, it spurs you on to do it again!
If you want to live a positive life take positive actions. Practice what you preach!
Eating a diet of whole foods and moving your body regularly will do more for you in the long run than choosing to overlook the issue by claiming it’s society “body shaming” you. (That’s not to say society has any right of doing so).
At the end of the day, do what will truly make you happy, whether that’s weight loss, building more muscle or loving the skin you’re in. Do that, and you don’t have to answer to anyone else. If you are interested in medical weight loss that is conducted by a certified doctor and consistent with good health practices, give us a call.