Body Positivity and Body Shaming – Clearing Up The Confusion

Posted By Xin-min Lai on Sep 13, 2016 in body relationship

I see a lot of posts and videos and such on body positivity, body acceptance, and body shaming.  Then I do the unthinkable: I read the comments section.  It seems like a lot of people are under the assumption that being body positive or accepting/loving your body as it is means not caring about your health and fitness.


It is NOT complacent.  It is NOT giving up.  When you have a strong, loving relationship with someone else,  it doesn’t mean you let them ruin themselves.  It means you fight for (and with) them because you can’t wait to see what you’re capable of next.

It means not beating yourself up about perceived flaws.  It means appreciating your body for everything it is and can be, and treating it like a valued part of you and not some alien enemy to be shunned and destroyed.

People who achieve start from a foundation of “I can. I deserve this.”, NOT “I’m worthless.  I’m a failure”.  If you consider your body the enemy, and you treat it like the enemy, you certainly don’t consider it worth working with.

Once you appreciate your body as it is now, you can team up with it to find new and exciting adventures: training for a marathon, learning martial arts. lifting more than anyone else in the gym, hiking and exploring all those gorgeous trails in Hawaii.

Considering yourself a failure sends a message to yourself that you will fail.  Worse, it sets you up to be complacent when you do fail – accepting failure as the predestined result.  I’ve seen this example more than a few times among clients (and myself, let’s be honest).

Pre-failing means if you finally get them to try, and they can’t do it, it reaffirms their belief that they can’t, and gives them less reason to work towards it as a goal.

When I was overweight, for a while I was extremely negative about my ability to succeed (in anything).  I pulled back from trying new things because ultimately, I knew I would fail.  I wasn’t worth the time and effort it would take to be successful.

It wasn’t until I’d cleared through the self-defeating talk and fear (thanks to a healthy dose of “this isn’t you, stop the bullshit” anger) that I started really getting on the path to health and weight loss.  I accepted and appreciated the natural strength I already had (partially earned by carrying around 60 extra pounds), and I was excited to see what I could do with it, how far I could go.

Body appreciation and love means digging deep.  Finding the “real you” and pushing towards that vision of achieving that real you.  You ONLY put in that kind of work for people you love, right?

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