Healthy Self: Heal Thy Self.. The Problem w/the Body Positive Movement
In the past couple of years, the body positivity movement has taken on a whole new agenda. Originally, the movement was designed to lift the spirits and self-confidence of individuals with body “abnormalities”. Soldiers who unfortunately lost limbs due to war, burn victims & people with skin diseases were urged to be proud of who they are and what they’ve overcome. Modeling campaigns and other forms of media were used to push this narrative of self-love. This was a powerful and emotional stance that society, including myself, fully supported and loved. But now the movement has swiftly changed.
Corporations, like with all agendas, found a way to pull on the emotional strings of people who struggle with weight, and cash in. Promoting an unhealthy lifestyle by tagging it “self-love and acceptance” in the vein of body positivity, is what they’ve been able to create. I have to admit this is a pretty genius way to make money. Not only do corporations make billions off this, the medical industry cashes in as well. When people continue to live an unhealthy lifestyle, they are prone to medical problems, keeping everyone across the spectrum in business. Of course marketing is key in all of this. Pop stars, body positive activist & social media influencers are all paid/promoted/used for unhealthy propaganda.
I grew up constantly teased for the way I looked. I was extremely underweight compared to most boys. A family member once told me that I “could be a poster child for Ethiopians” (shout out & much love to all the Ethiopians in the world). My self–confidence was terrible growing up, and my environment played a part in my health, however its helped me understand the psyche of people struggling. Its easy to just give up and say, “this is me and I love myself” however, is it truly you? Do you really love yourself this way? There are three categories I tackle with myself, clients and friends when dealing with becoming a truly body positive person. These three categories work with each other to help you become a fully rounded healthy homosapien.
Category one: Nutrition. Basic knowledge of nutrition is lacking in today’s society. Readily available meals via fast food chains, pre packaged chemically preserved dinners and sugary food items, help lend to the health problems society has including obesity. Human cattle are constantly told they’re too busy to cook at home and they should stock on up on certain brands food, for quick easy meals and snacks. This has to stop if you want to live the healthiest you can. Taking time to cook, meal prep and organize snacks for the week is a great way to be assured you’re going to have a successful healthy diet. Healthy snacks can include apples, hard-boiled eggs, nuts/grains etc. If you have sweet tooth you can drizzle some honey on them. Most fast food chains sell fries for a dollar, or you can choose to carry a banana with you instead for around .67 cents. Eating healthy taste great, makes you feel amazing and is truly body positive.
Category Two: Physical Fitness. The body positivity movement frowns upon fitness specialist like myself. I’ve seen some of these “positivity gurus” claim working out is a superficial motive and doesn’t have much benefits. I’m someone who will listen to anyones point of view, no matter how wrong they are. Physical fitness is equally important as much as healthy eating. Building a stronger heart, bones, muscle and burning fat are only some examples on how physical fitness affects the one and only body you will ever have. Creating a workout program for clients is one of my favorite things to do. Watching people reach their goals and seeing how happy they become, is one of the best feelings in the world for me. Working out properly and often will help transform you and is truly body positive.
Category three: Mental Health. This is crucial, and one of the most overlooked parts in the trilogy of body positivity. When I train clients, I can also act as their momentary unofficial therapist. I like to know how they’re doing mentally, how their stress is, and what problems they have in daily life. These issues can contribute to them acting out and not having healthy behavior/choices. The people you hang with, the TV you watch, the music you listen to, the food you eat and the alcohol you drink all play key factors in mental health. It’s important to recognize how you’re feeling and how to make changes to help make yourself mentally strong enough to handle everything. Take time to read more instead of watching TV. Take time to meditate/pray instead of having mainstream news/music constantly blasting in your ear. I like to take time to walk the lake and just clear my head with nature. Mental health in conjunction with nutrition and physical fitness is truly body positive.
On the flip side, extreme dieting & steroid use is also not body positive. Letting corporations and social media give you excuses to use for bad behavior will eventually catch up with you. Taking control of your life is truly body positive.