When it comes to body image, we’re told to either embrace our curves or shave off a couple of pounds to reach our health goals.
While it’s hard to commit to one movement, I found a happy medium between both: practicing self-love while leading a healthy lifestyle.
Traditionally, we believe skinny is beautiful. From Pinterest fitness pages to Tumblr “fitspo” blogs, people are encouraged to strive towards a lower weight or BMI (body mass index) for aesthetic and health benefits.
I’m sure everyone has seen the fitness clichés such as “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” or “no pain no gain” written over pictures of mason jars full of lemon water or Miley Cyrus circa 2012.
Many people believe encouraging weight loss is productive. After all, it inspires people to strive towards better health and a body that conforms to beauty standards. But others argue that it’s only effective in motivating people to lose weight because it makes them feel ashamed of their current body, exercise regime or diet, also known as “body shaming.”
On the other hand, the body acceptance movement is gaining popularity.
This movement consists of people of all shapes and sizes who work to nix body guilt and shaming by loving their bodies instead.
In short, the movement re-appropriates what it means to be beautiful.
But while the body positive community seems to promote arguably healthier attitudes and better self-image, critics say that it glamourizes obesity and promotes unhealthy attitudes.
Both sides are flawed and neither hold the key to perfect health or body image.
Instead we need to practice parts of both philosophies simultaneously — such as eating healthy and working out while also practicing radical self-love.
I’m pretty happy with my thick thighs and sporadic gym use. I play sports when I feel like it and enjoy an order of mozzarella sticks once in a while (without hating myself afterwards).
And to me, that seems healthy. Trying to be okay with the hand you’ve been dealt while simultaneously trying to be the best you can be is much more manageable than slaving away on a treadmill every day.
Moreover, it’s because I love myself that I want to treat my body well. Whether it be through leading an active lifestyle or having cheat days here and there.
After all, we can only change ourselves so much. It might just be easier to start loving who we already are.
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