Reconciling body acceptance and physical health
Health at every size. Every body is beautiful. End body shaming.
These are all movements that resonate with me. But the controversy in these movements is the fear that people will become content with being unhealthy.
Well, I’m here to say that body acceptance and health not only coexist, but CANNOT exist without the other.
If you disagree with me, that’s totally fine. But just hear me out.
Physical health is so much more internal than we give it credit for. It’s about how you FEEL, how much stamina you have, if you have energy, get enough sleep, if your vitamin and hormone levels are healthy, and many other factors. Furthermore, physical health is so connected with emotional, spiritual, and mental health.
Body acceptance is about embracing and loving the body you’ve been given, gratitude for all it does for you every day, and the desire to take good care of that gift.
Can you kind of see how these things begin to connect?
True body acceptance will automatically motivate a healthy lifestyle.
And “healthy lifestyle” is diverse too. It doesn’t mean a total organic, carb free, 60 minutes a day of intense workout lifestyle (although for some people, that may be what makes them feel best!) Healthy lifestyle can encompass a whole range. From making wiser food choices and overcoming eating disorders to cutting out dairy because it gives you painful gas. From light gardening and parking further away from the store entrance to investing in that gym membership you’ve been pining for.
Health is all about those little daily things that make you feel more energized, happier, and stronger.
Body acceptance absolutely plays into that. If your focus is changing your body, you won’t be searching for the lifestyle that makes you feel your best, you will instead force a lifestyle upon yourself that you think will eventually make you happy. You may end up putting so much stress on your body, you’re actually just as unhealthy as you were before. And even if you get closer to what you think you want, you still won’t have found that happiness.
No. Health isn’t about eventually reaching happiness. Health is about being happy NOW with the choices you make.
And so is body acceptance.
Love the body you have. Let it inspire you to treat it well.
Health is a process. If you haven’t been active for awhile, moving more might be hard. But instead of constantly and painfully waiting for the day when you are “perfect” at exercising, enjoy and love the ways you can move your body NOW. Find joy in the ways you like to move.
Body acceptance will feed the healthy desire to take care of yourself. And taking care of yourself will help you learn to love your body even more.
Be healthy for YOU. Not because you want to fit a stereotype society says is the “right body.” Accept and love yourself.
Accepting your body doesn’t mean saying, “well I guess I’ll always look like this so might as well just give up and accept it.” Accepting your body is learning to appreciate it. To enjoy every moment you have with it.
Accepting your body is saying, “hey, you’re my friend, and I’m your friend. You’ve always done so much for me, and now I’m going to do something for YOU.”
Now watch this video, its awesome: