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The world is filled with conflicting messages, right? Body acceptance in the world of fitness is a topic where conflict often arises. Many people struggle with the messages that they should love and accept their bodies as is, while simultaneously they feel pressured to improve the body they have (lose weight, get stronger etc). It becomes murky territory for those of us who support people on their quests to implement change in their lives, while also trying to make sure they love themselves and stay realistic.

There are people on both ends of the spectrum (though most of us fall somewhere in between). I’ll go into examples of two extremes here, but there are many more types of people out there (don’t want to box anyone in). You may fall into one category or the other, have bits from each, or neither.

Some people are firm body acceptance believers: they see and preach that there’s no reason to want to change your body to fit a certain standard. People in this group often have a hard time seeing weight loss or fitness as anything more than trying to be something you’re not (although they tend to forgive athletes and those being active for health reasons alone). Fitness magazines & advertising can be threatening to this message, so occasionally (not always) you can see a rebellion towards fitness & weight-loss in this group. However, when a person in this group is unsatisfied with their body, they feel it goes against their belief system to want to make changes: therin lies their conflict. They find it hard to reconcile wanting to make changes while simultaneously preaching that no one should fit a standard. It’s tough to be in this group.

On the other end, you have individuals who hate their bodies and feel complacent if they’re not making changes: they’re constantly trying to fit a standard that’s not realistic and lies outside of themselves. This group believes firmly that changing and striving towards the standard they set for themselves is what life’s all about. They don’t feel happy or satisfied with their bodies unless they’re working towards that goal or diligently maintaining it. Often (but not always) people in this group might see body-acceptance as an excuse to be lazy. They find it hard to reconcile body-acceptance while simultaneously feeling as though they’re giving up if they adopt the philosophy that their body is good enough as is.

These are extremes: most people lie somewhere in between, or struggle with aspects of each.

You can love your body AND want to improve it: many people do. :) Here are my thoughts on loving your body AND being okay with wanting to change/improve it (taken from a question earlier today).

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Excerpt:

Bottom line; I think calling thin women “unreal” is shitty.  Lifting yourself up doesn’t have to come from putting others down.  And if you are concerned about the messages the media sends to girls, perhaps you should consider the one that comes from your own mouth first.  And it would be way awesome if that message wasn’t to verbally abuse those who make you feel insecure.

You are totally beautiful.  Don’t be an asshole.

Bam.

God, I love her. Read the full post (it’s a MUST read) here.

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