Monday, 18 January 2016

Motivational Monday || Body positivity vs Your New Years Resolutions

Put one hand up if you made a new years resolution to do with health/fitness/healthy eating etc. I know my hand is up, how about you? Now put another hand up if you also think being body positive is extremely important and want to put an end to body shaming etc. Again my other hand is up. Now keep both those hands raised and try to scroll through this post... just kidding.

In all seriousness, I had an experience this morning where I was getting some tea with my friends and I just happened to mention how much my thighs were burning after doing 120 squats yesterday. Then one of my friends said "I thought you were a body positive feminist, how come you're working out?". I thought about it for a minute and realised, maybe she was right. Am I a hypocrite?

I went home confused and chatted with my housemate. I got some really valuable feedback and now I have my thoughts more in order I have come to explain how you can be a body positive feminist while still advocating for a healthy lifestyle and working out.

Trends in body size and shape come and go, if you look over the past 50 years you'll see the IN thing will change. Following the 90s, the IN thing was to be willowy and have a minute angular body similar to those we see on catwalks today. Since then not too much has changed in the media's eyes of what counts as beautiful in a Western society. However, since the 90s we have seen an internet revolution and a rise in being fashionably relatable, it is more fashionable now to be that girl who eats junk food 24/7 and does nothing in the way of exercise. The focus in the media is still on being thin but now it's about just having the luck of genes on your side that you can abuse with junk because it's cooler now to be thin without trying hard for it.

In order to combat this we have also seen a rise of the mantra "bigger is beautiful too". Curvier women or women with larger frames are stepping forward and demanding that their body be praised too and that is great we should absolutely be praising any size any shape.

On top of that I also believe we should be preaching HEALTH. As much as I believe that everyone should love their body at any size I also believe that loving your body comes hand in hand with treating your body right and by that I mean eating a balanced diet, getting your 5 a day and exercising regularly. Obviously we all have some days where we eat some junk or cant be bothered to exercise but for that to be everyday is crazy and this isn't about being strict with yourself to lose weight.

HEALTH does not necessarily have a size. I feel that when I say health is the most important thing people assume health is synonymous with thin which is not the case at all. We are all different body types so preaching a size would be absolutely futile.

I am not a large or curvy woman by any stretch of the imagination. I'm a 19 year old who is quite petite all over. I am not toned and I get out of breath when I walk up a flight of stairs too fast. I have been through stages of not wanting to look at my body without clothes on and eating junk food because it gave me the burst of serotonin I wanted. I remember eating 2 dinners and at one point buying extra food at school on top of my lunches because I thought that would give me the curves I was picked on for not having. I was miserable, but now I love my body.

I love my body and I am going to put good whole, good foods into it. I love my body and I am going to look after it as it gets stronger with exercise. This is not me obsessively pushing myself to be something I am not. This is me looking after what I have and nurturing it to be the best it can be.

Yes, lets preach body positivity but lets also preach health because if you really loved your body you would damn well take care of it.

Have a happy week!

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Maira Gall