Two Tips to Stay Body Positive

Two Tips to Stay Body Positive

Don't get lost in what you think everyone expects you to look like
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It is 2107, and although there are many attempts to promote body positivity, it can still be hard to look at yourself in a positive way. On one hand, we have people like Ashley Graham who are killing the model game and then we have “plus sized” models who are in actuality a size 4 instead of a size triple zero. With the mixed messages being sent, it is kind of hard to feel like you’re “socially acceptable”.

Here are two ways to stay positive about your body.

1. Be Kind

Every morning after my shower, I look in the mirror and compliment at least one thing about myself. It is really easy to say, “my thighs are too big” or “I look bloated today.”

However, looking at yourself and finding something new and positive to say about yourself daily, will help you appreciate who you are. Keeping a log of all your positive comments along with the dates is a great way to boost your confidence whenever you are feeling not so confident. It is a reminder that each day there was something you found unique about your body, so unique in fact that you complimented it.

I also found this to be helpful when I started working out. Looking at myself I could see my body changing which motivated me to go to the gym. Seeing the transformation daily allowed me to feel how much control I had over my body. Seeing the working progress reminded me that I wasn’t getting smaller, but I was getting more toned, and living a healthier lifestyle.

2. Don’t Compare

It seems like forever, people have always compared themselves to others. Saying things like, “I wish I had her butt” or “her stomach is so much flatter than mine” may seem harmless, but let’s be truthful, it makes you feel like what you already have isn’t good enough. I always have to remind myself that what celebrities have isn’t always real.

Like yea sure Gigi Hadid really has that stomach, but she also has the money for the personal trainer, nutritionist, and whatever else you may need to maintain Gigi Hadid’s body. Those goals aren’t realistic because I know at least for me; their bank accounts will never match mine unless they somehow go broke. Also, sometimes their bodies aren’t real. For the longest time I didn’t want to believe that Khloe Kardashian’s but was real because she was working out until I had someone explain to me that her butt to thigh ratio is humanly impossible.

Instead, set reasonable goals for your body. Don’t use someone else’s body for inspiration; use your own body as your inspiration. Don’t say you want someone else’s body feature, instead focus on how you can improve yourself healthily. It is easy to get caught up in an intense workout plan until you crash and burn. It is okay to pace yourself. Never try to “perfect” yourself. Your mind is constantly growing and changing, so is your body. Don’t strive for perfect instead strive for a healthy better.

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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My Body Is My Body, And I'm Done Hating Its Size

I am done wishing to take up less space.

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I am—presently—a size twelve. That puts me two sizes below officially plus-sized and my clothes at the bottom of every pile in every store. I gained twenty pounds in the past year, but I've never been thin. Thin-adjacent, maybe, and definitely not subject to as much societal pressure as people bigger than me.

No one has ever made a negative comment about my weight to my face.

But that didn't mean I ever passed mirrors without noticing my size. Or that I didn't constantly compare myself to other girls—real and Photoshopped alike—who had smaller waists or narrower thighs than me. I daydreamed about being one of them someday, in a mythical future when I was also somehow athletic and cured of stress eating. My real-life diets and exercise regimes were short-lived and always devolved into disappointment. Pursuing the body I wanted only heightened my already-critical view of the body I currently had.

All along, I enthusiastically championed body positivity. Of course, "fat" shouldn't be a bad word. And of course, fat people should be treated with respect. I supported fat people, and bigger-than-thin people, and people with rolls and cellulite and stretch marks.

But I didn't want to be one of them. I wanted to be an ally, someone who could shout encouragements from the safety of a society-approved body.

And then one day, I looked in the mirror and thought the usual: This dress makes me look wider than I am. Except this time, I thought something much less typical: Actually, this dress just reveals the fact that I am not thin. The dress wasn't warping the truth at all. It just wasn't hiding the truth.

And then I thought: How much would my fashion choices change if they didn't revolve around making me look as thin as possible?

I wasn't thin. I had never been thin. I probably wasn't fooling anyone, and I certainly wasn't fooling myself.

I had always encouraged other people to embrace the word fat as an adjective instead of an insult. Some bodies are bigger than others. And the fact that we have decided the bigger ones are the worse ones is purely arbitrary.

But I had never extended that logic to my own body. And now I did.

And that shift in thinking has been monumental.

It's been a month or so, and while I still struggle with instinctive jealousy seeing another girl's flat stomach in her bikini, I also love my own body—and its resident stomach pouch—much more than I ever have.

I ventured away from the high-waisted bikini bottoms this summer and put that stomach on display, a swimsuit first for me. I bought short shorts and liked the way they looked on my thighs. And I wore the dress, the one that first triggered this revelation, to an event and accepted compliments instead of contradicting them.

I am done wasting time waiting to be thin.

I am done wishing to take up less space.

And I am finally at peace with my body.

This is what I look like. It's what I've looked like for a long time. It's who I am. And I'm done buying into the narrative that who I am is a tragedy or an obstacle to overcome. It's just who I am.

I know girls who have elaborate weight-loss plans charted for themselves, who eagerly anticipate shedding twenty percent of their body weight. I know girls who are much smaller than me but still lament their size. I know girls who post before and after pictures of themselves in gym clothes with captions about how proud they are of their progress.

And none of that is wrong. It's okay to be self-conscious, and it's certainly okay to eat right and commit to fitness. It's okay to lose weight, and it's okay to want to, and it's okay to celebrate doing so. Making healthy choices isn't always a desperate bid to escape fatness.

But I know plenty of people for whom it is. I used to be one of them.

And I wish we didn't live in a world where that mindset is the price for being larger-than-thin. If you aren't a single-digit size, you must hate yourself to compensate for it. You must be working to change the situation, or else you deserve to be scorned and shamed.

It's not acceptable to be fat and content.

And that mentality is so insidious that you don't notice it. Until you do.

And I want more people to notice it. I want more people to question it. I want more people to fight it.

I want more people to be unapologetically fat—and unapologetically free because of it.

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