Why You Should Choose To Be Body Positive

Why You Should Choose To Be Body Positive

Learn to love your body and the person in it.
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In today's world, there are so many expectations to live up to regarding how we look. Someone is too fat, too skinny, too something. It's asking far too much for me to sit here and say for everyone to treat each other equally and stop shaming someone based on their looks. No one would listen anyway. What I want to ask is for those who read this to start viewing themselves as they are, for just a day. Wake up, look in the mirror and say, "I look great!". Then at lunch time, look in a mirror, or a window or anywhere you can see your reflection and say, "Wow, I still look great." Then before bed, do it all over. Do this for at least a week, and see how you feel about your reflection afterwards.

When I had the initial idea for this article, I wanted it to be about fat shaming. Being on the chubbier side, I've only ever experienced it once (to my face at least), but people I know have received endless ridicule for their weight. I've gotten the "Oh, you're wearing that?" when I put on a crop top or some shorter shorts. And I would just say yes, but eight times out of 10, I would end up changing before I left. The stretch marks on my sides made me uncomfortable, so I would go into my room and search for a longer shirt that matched my pants. But now I can say that I show them off because they are part of my body and probably aren't going anywhere. I'll throw on some high-waisted shorts/leggings/jeans and wear whatever shirt I want, because it's my body, and I'm allowed to love it.

Now when I started to write the article on fat shaming, I realized that being body positive isn't only for "fat" people. It's for skinny people, people with a pear shape or apple shape or whatever body shape they say they have. I can't sit here and write "love yourself!" and end it there, because loving your body isn't easy. There are so many men and women who struggle with their image and don't believe that they will ever love their body, and for right now, that's OK. It really is. Because someday, and I hope someday soon, someone or something will make those people realize that they really are beautiful in their own skin. No dieting, purging or exercise will feel as good as someone telling you how perfect you are as you! Whether it's a friend, significant other, family member or stranger, someone somewhere is waiting for you to walk by them so they can tell you how good you look, and I hope that you believe them. There is so much hate in this world, you can't add on to it by hating yourself. I'm not saying that you shouldn't exercise or eat healthy because you should definitely be healthy, but you don't have to overdo it. Your No. 1 priority should be your health! No body-shaming post you see on Facebook or Twitter will tell you that. As long as you're happy and healthy, it shouldn't matter what you look like. And there will always be people on the side telling you not to wear that bikini, or to put on more makeup, but you don't need to listen to them. Wear what you want and be who you are. Anyone who can't take that shouldn't be in your life.

So, why do I choose to be body positive? I want to show others that it's OK to love yourself. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin no matter what I'm wearing. I want to be happy, and I want to be healthy. I want to live my life not worrying about what other people think. I want to make a difference somewhere or for someone, so they know that they aren't alone! It's so easy to falter and sit in self-loathing 24/7, and it's also easy to get out and live your life the way you want to! I promise that once you start to love your body and the person in it, you'll never be happier.

Cover Image Credit: weheartit

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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I've Been Dieting Since I Was 12, And I Know I'm Not The Only One

Ads and images made me believe that I had to be tall and skinny and toned to be beautiful.
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I've pretty much had dieting on my mind since I was about 12-years-old, maybe even younger. That was back when everyone still used Tumblr, and my favorite blogs to follow were for "fitspiration" or "fitspo."

Pictures of tall, skinny girls with toned abs and bronzed skin were all over my dashboard, coupled with advice on how to get fit and pictures of healthy food.

It was no surprise that I soon fell into the idea that I should get fit to look like that, too.

I scrolled on Tumblr for hours, telling myself I was getting the motivation to actually do it myself. I downloaded MyFitnessPal and started counting all the calories of everything I ate. It was frustrating to not see results even after the app said I should be losing weight by then. But to be honest, I was probably cheating myself by guesstimating my daily meals and assuming my measurements were correct.

My obsession carried over to YouTube, where there was a multitude of videos from pretty girls telling me how they lost weight fast or how they got a bigger butt or a flat stomach. Diet fads promised to make you drop ten pounds in two weeks.

A big red flag should have gone off in my head when I read that, but all I could remember was that I could no longer fit into my old clothes.

See also: Summer Is Not A Reason To Hurt Yourself, That 'Bikini Body' Isn't Worth It

I began to follow Cassey Ho, who posted pilates videos on her channel called Blogilates. Thankfully, she emphasized strength and improvement over looks, as she has struggled with body image issues before too. The sad part about all of this is that I wasn't even a teenager yet but I was still exposed to so much conditioning from the media.

Whether I was conscious of it or not, all of the ads and images made me believe that I had to be tall and skinny and toned to be beautiful.

I had repeated this cycle of obsession, comparison, and giving up over and over again throughout the years and I still have to be careful about not falling into it now, eight years later. I became obsessed and all of my media consumption involved fitness and health. Then I would give up and binge and gain back whatever weight I had lost. Rinse and repeat.

Nowadays when I catch myself getting too deep into whatever the latest fitness trends are, I take a step back and remind myself just to eat a balanced diet and get some exercise in. I have to remember to get my veggies and fruits in but I won't kill myself over having a treat now and then. It's got to be about the balance.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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