In recent years, the body positivity movement has made ground-breaking progress in combatting toxic body image messages spread by the media. There’s an endless stream of people to remind you that every single body is a swimsuit body, and every single one is beautiful. However, on an individual-level, the journey to true body positivity is personal.
As twenty-somethings, we’re often told our bodies are in the physical primes of our lives. In the wake of this privilege, we neglect to take care of our bodies on the inside —cue the binge-drinking, midnight McDonald’s runs, and weeks of sleep-deprivation.
“My struggle to appreciate my physical abilities was making it difficult to love my body.”
A few months ago, I realized I didn’t like how my body functioned. couldn’t stay awake without coffee, got winded after climbing a few stairs, and needed my housemate to open jars for me. Seeing the dark circles under my eyes, my lack of muscle tone, and my terrible posture, I felt like a shadow of myself. My struggle to appreciate my physical abilities was making it difficult to love my body.
Instead of accepting my damsel-in-distress fate, I faced the truth: I was lazy as hell. I was leading an unhealthy lifestyle —by choice. As a teenager, my oh-so-reliable metabolism would take care of whatever junk food I ate, so I could sit on the couch all day and never feel the damage I was doing on the inside. At the ripe old age of 21, the years of not taking care of myself were catching up and I needed to make a change.
In June, I got a membership at my local gym and, with my mom as my enthusiastic gym buddy, set a goal of attending three times per week. My workouts were focused on building stamina and strength. I also cut caffeine so I’d sleep better at night and adjusted my diet to include more protein and whole foods instead of sugar and processed foods.
After a couple of weeks, I felt different. While I never believed my fitness-oriented friends who said things like, “exercising and eating healthy make such a huge difference,” I learned firsthand that their scientifically-backed statements actually hold merit —and I know, everyone who religiously uses the ARC is groaning right now.
“With a night-in watching Netflix and eating pizza seen as the epitome of a good time, it’s difficult to remember that not everything enjoyable and easy is good for us.”
Leading a healthy active lifestyle seems like a no-brainer, but many of us are routinely choosing not to live one. Our culture is rooted in sedentary lifestyles, with a night-in watching Netflix and eating pizza seen as the epitome of a good time. We tend to take the easy way out, but it’s difficult to remember that not everything enjoyable and easy is good for us.
To me, body positivity is more than simply loving your body. It’s about making choices that actively take care of your body, even when those choices require some effort. Lifestyle changes are difficult, —imagine cutting caffeine and sugar when there’s a Starbucks right outside of your gym —but they do get easier the longer you stick with them. The decision to lead a healthier lifestyle made me love my body more than ever before.
Header Source: Quotes by Christie