The viral body positivity movement we see online has good intentions, with its promotion of loving and accepting all bodies, yet sadly its roots seem to have been pushed to the side. From what began with the Fat Rights Movement in the 1960s, major diet companies and social media’s unrealistic beauty ideals have taken over the concept.
Instead, body acceptance offers a compassionate, realistic way of relating to your body that ‘body positivity’ may not.
Let’s rewind to understand why all of this matters…
Negative body image is a universal experience, which can affect a person’s self-esteem, relationship with food, and day-to-day mood. 20-somethings report body image struggles due to changes in their weight and shape and being exposed to an infinite amount of diet culture whilst growing up in the 90s and early 00s.
So finding a way to feel better in our bodies can increase confidence and well-being – super essential for being successful!
If loving your body right now feels like a lot of pressure, then body acceptance or even taking on a body neutral approach might be for you.
With body acceptance, the focus isn’t on loving the way your body looks or feels, but simply accepting it no matter what. Acceptance means respecting and caring for your body, including your insecurities, without needing to change it first. Here, there’s an opportunity to celebrate your body whilst tolerating any discomfort you feel about its appearance.
The body neutral approach goes a step further by stating that bodies are neither good nor bad, and advocates for prioritising what the body can do for us rather than how it looks.
Here are our 3 tips for building body acceptance:
1. Check your body self-talk
Shaming and criticising your body is a vicious spiral that needs to come to an end. Offer yourself kindness and gratitude by writing down what you appreciate about your body, focusing more on its function than the way it looks. This is a practice we encourage you to do daily, as learning any kind of new language takes time.
‘I feel grateful for my eyes because they allow me to see beautiful places’
2. Surround yourself with the right resources
Spend time and even talk openly with people who have a positive relationship with their body, and access all of the incredible, FREE content out there. It’s essential to make sure this comes from credible sources like professionals who specialise in body image and mental health. Here are some of our faves:
https://www.morethanabody.org/ – Lindsay & Lexie Kite, PhD
Paula Edwards-Gayfield, MA, LPCS, LPC, NCC, CEDS-S on Therapy for Black Girls Podcast
https://www.phillippadiedrichs.com/ – Professor Phillippa Diedrichs
3. Make a choice!
Changing the way you view your body can be a challenging process, AND it starts by making different choices and putting in the effort. Choosing to accept your body, respect it, and appreciate it whilst being open to a diverse sense of beauty acts as your catalyst. Sharing this choice with others can also help to create accountability to commit to this decision.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on body image, and we welcome your suggestions for who to bring onto our podcast to talk more about it!
Sophie Killip, Therapist & Coach discusses body image on the Talk Twenties Podcast which you can watch here, and Victoria Niamh, influencer and Self-development Coach talks about body confidence which you can listen to or watch here.