Weighing In On Why The BPC Doesn't Promote Healthy Living

Weighing In On Why The BPC Doesn't Promote Healthy Living

The Body Positivity Campaign has seemed to have turned into a safety net for being overweight.
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The Body Positivity Campaign has seemed to have turned into a safety net for maintaining an overweight body. Even though body positivity should be associated with all bodies, it has started to become biased towards those who are overweight. Let me just preface this by saying, yes, everyone should be confident and no one should ever be accosted for their weight or lack there of, but there comes a point where health starts to play a factor in your everyday life. That’s when it should become a cause for concern.

Everyone has the right to love their body; however, I think the Body Positive Campaign has become a way to excuse large amounts of weight gain unhealthy eating and life habits. Before you jump down my throat for saying this, let me tell you more about myself. I’m not a petite person, and I’ve always struggled with feeling confident in my own skin. However, I don’t base my confidence on my body, sure, do I feel better when I’ve been working out and eating healthier? Of course. But my body will never be long and lean, regardless of whether or not I work out everyday. With that being said, let me get back to my point.

In the past couple of years a lot of new “Plus sized” models have surfaced and started their own body positivity campaigns. Ashley Graham blazed the path with her cover shoot for Sports Illustrated and her bathing suit line “Swimsuits For All”. Now popular Instagram personality, and spokesmodel for Aerie, Iskra Lawrence, has started doing work with NEDA, and organization for eating disorders and how to help those recovering from those disorders. These are both great causes and both these women are doing incredible things in their communities, all while inspiring so many women around the world. However, I feel like a lot of people aren’t recognizing that, yes, they might be considered “plus” sized, but they’re still incredibly healthy. It’s no secret that they both work out daily and eat well, with junk food in moderation. This is broadcasted almost every day on both their Instagram and Snapchat stories. With that being said people who turn to these two ladies for inspiration might also be using them as a sort of a safety net for their own personal weight.

More often than not I see women who are posting pictures of themselves saying that they love their curves and that they don’t care what anyone says. Stay with me now. I’m not saying that those women don’t have the right to feel beautiful, because they do, 100 percent, but most times those same women are living unhealthy lifestyles. Basically, all I’m trying to say is that you should love yourself, and by love yourself I mean realize that being curvy and being an unhealthy weight are two different things. There should come a point where you take a good long look in the mirror, so to speak, and make peace with the fact that you need to start living a healthier lifestyle.

This doesn’t make you any less worthy of body confidence. However, I’m just trying to talk about the uncomfortable subject of telling people they should be healthier. If anything, if you struggle with your weight, making a change in your eating habits and small changes in exercise will just make you feel better, no matter if you loose or gain weight while doing it. Exercise shouldn't be something you do as punishment for body but rather something that makes you feel better both physically and emotionally. I feel like that is what the Body Positive Campaign was set up to endorse, but somewhere along the way it veered off into a different direction.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Art Of Staying Calm Isn't A Waste Of Time

We live in such a fast-paced society that taking a break is often viewed as a waste of time.
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We have all been there – those situations that make you want to fly off the handle. The ones that stress you out to no end and leave you shaking your head and wondering if the struggle you’re going through is even worth it. When those moments happen, it can be very difficult to stay calm and evaluate the situation.

I have times where I just want to fall to the floor because it seems like I'm in a losing battle with the mountain of work I have to do.

When those moments happen, it is important to remember the art of staying calm.

Sometimes it is important to remove yourself from the situation that is stressing you out so you can evaluate it and come back with fresh eyes and a fresh mind. It is always more difficult to solve a problem if you continue looking at it in the same way forever.

It can feel like when those moments come there is nothing you can do to destress or solve the problem, but the key to solving the problem is de-stressing.

We live in such a fast-paced society that people are often looked down upon for taking time for themselves to collect their thoughts and assess a situation, but those who do this are often the most successful.

It can be incredibly difficult to take time off. Many don’t view taking a break and coming back later as an option. In many situations though, it is the best option.

Of course, if there is a time-sensitive issue it can be incredibly difficult to take the time to carefully evaluate it, but I have the unpopular opinion that taking a break is often one of the only ways to fix whatever the issue is.

If I am having trouble writing, or with a math problem or even if I’ve just gotten into a disagreement with someone, I try to remove myself from the situation for a little bit.

Stepping back and taking time to yourself is often viewed negatively.

If you aren’t stressed to the max all of the time then sometimes it can feel as though you aren’t doing all that you can do, or you aren’t doing as much as everyone else is.

That is not the case, though. People who take breaks are often more productive than those who do not because they are able to step back and look at a situation differently.

Many people believe that taking a break is a waste of time, but it has been proven that those who take breaks may have a boost in their performance.

Not all breaks are created equal, though. Venting about a problem to a coworker and trying to hype back up with caffeine have been shown to cause more fatigue because they do not address the underlying issue of fatigue.

Next time you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, instead of staying on task, maybe meditate, take a walk, play a game or even learn something new.

Cover Image Credit: pxhere

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Less Sweet Tea And Other Small Changes I Made To Start Living Healthily

It all started with cutting back on the sweet tea.
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I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself a healthy person until recently. I’ve always loved fatty, sugary, greasy foods, and I was always the slow kid in gym class. Seriously, I was one of the last of my fifth-grade class to finish the mile run, and the teacher decided it was a bright idea to get the fast kids to chase me so I would make it all the way. My first semester of freshman year, I continued my unhealthy lifestyle. A quick rundown of my usual meal just for perspective…

Breakfast: 2 Pop Tarts and a Starbucks frappucino from the vending machine

Lunch: Guacamole cheeseburger, curly fries, and sweet tea

Snacks: Cookies, cheese balls, and/or fruit snacks

Dinner: Buffalo wings, fries, and sweet tea (again)

On the weekends, I often had quite a few liquid calories that really added up, if you catch my drift. (I’m talking about soda...obviously.)

And of course, little to no exercise. The freshman 15 hit me hard, but even worse was my perpetual exhaustion. I was always falling asleep in class, crashing from all the bad carbs I was consuming. After my class finished at 11 a.m., I would go back to my dorm, crawl back in bed, and have to set an alarm to wake up for my 5 p.m. Then I’d stay up until 2 a.m. to do work, socialize, and check my phone, only to wake up at 6 or 7 for class.

Second semester, I realized that I wanted to make some changes in my life. I was tired of never having energy and honestly feeling kind of shitty, emotionally-speaking. I knew that in the past when I’d tried to live healthily, I had attempted everything at once and then burned out after a week. This time around I knew that I had to start small and work up to a healthy lifestyle. I slowly implemented a few changes.

I decreased and eventually completely eliminated my sweet tea intake. I was appalled by how many calories I was consuming daily, so I started with cutting back on the liquids. First, I decided that I would only have sweet tea with dinner and stick to water for lunch. Gradually I started having water with dinner, too. One day a few weeks into my water-only consumption, I decided to have a sweet tea for dinner again. After one sip, I was surprised to find that the tea was sickeningly sweet, and I wished I had gotten water instead. Drinking water all the time actually recalibrated my taste buds so that they recognized when something had too much sugar!

I switched to coffee with less sugar. I knew it wasn’t possible to go without coffee in the morning, so I switched from those frozen Starbucks drinks (240 calories) to instant coffee packets (50 calories). The packets actually aren’t as nasty as you’d expect from a powdered mix--in fact, I find them quite tasty.

I started eating salad. I used to think that salads were only for people who hated themselves, but I realized that it’s all about how the salad is prepared. I enjoy spinach (lettuce is just water with fewer nutrients) with chickpeas, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, and a bit of Caesar dressing or balsamic vinaigrette, depending on my mood. Once I started to enjoy salads, I got them more frequently. Now I eat at least one salad per day.

I got a different breakfast. Pop-Tarts made me crash, so I switched over to a daily breakfast of a banana, a clementine, and a breakfast cookie with less sugar content. It’s easier to stay awake. And speaking of staying awake…

I scheduled later classes. I’m a night owl and probably always will be. I knew that I’d be up past midnight every night, so I made sure none of my classes started before 10 a.m.

I started working out. I’m lazy and I love sitting, so I started out on the stationary bike. The minutes fly by as you sit back, pedal, and listen to music. I realized that I love the post-workout high, so I started running and doing some core workouts as well. I now work out for 60 minutes 5 or 6 days a week, and I absolutely love it. It’s something I enjoy doing, and I make sure I have time for it in my schedule. It also helped me to start taking the stairs more often.

I changed the way I saw food. Before, I saw food as a way to treat myself for accomplishing something and a source of comfort when I was upset. Now that I’m active, I see food as fuel. Fries and pizza are tasty, but I don’t like the way they make me feel throughout the day. In order to keep my body strong and running well, I need to eat good fuel. I treat myself other ways, like working out (it honestly is a treat) and listening to music. In short, I prioritize the way I feel in the long-term over how great a greasy dish is. Of course, I’ll eat junk every now and then, but I find that I no longer crave that kind of thing as much.

I limit my naps to 20 minutes or less. Believe it or not, it’s more energizing to take a quick snooze than to sleep for 5 hours (which will throw off your sleep schedule). I no longer wake up from a nap wondering if it’s the next morning.

Before, I had the unhealthy notion that my body belonged to other people and not to me. Being healthy is helping me reclaim my body as my own. I’m in charge, I’m calling the shots, I’m respecting myself. Along with getting to see my progress (hint: the scale doesn’t show it because I’m losing fat and gaining back muscle), I just feel better. Energized. Happy. Confident. I’m starting to make better decisions with my emotional health as well, like focusing more on my friendships and studies rather than guys.

I’m hoping that you can implement changes in your life, bit by bit, to start feeling like a better version of yourself. It is possible, even for the unhealthiest Dorito-lover. Here’s to good health!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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