By Christian Craig, Founder UNBOWED / Janine Rotter, Director of Fitness Nutrition for UNBOWED Image by Lark with Prime 24 Photography
Body positivity is a personal mindset and journey, a personal journey unique to each person.
“Summer is here … time to tone it up for your perfect summer body.” We have all seen those commercials and memes all over social media. Ignore that shit! There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all perfect body.
Here and now is the time to flip the script and create a body-positive message indeed. Right here. Right now.
Someplace along the way, we as a society began to value physical appearance over an internally healthy body and mind. Physical appearance has defined beauty.
In our lame attempts to chase perfection and beauty, we have created a culture of body shaming. Our internal dialogue says horrible things about ourselves that we would never speak about our best friends.
Cut this crap out now!
Even worse than our own body-shaming is the role that social media plays. Social media and keyword warriors continue to attack. Elizabeth Ries, a co-host on Twin Cities Live, shared with viewers the horrible messages she received about a pair of jeans she wore during a live report.
Studies have shown that girls as young as 5-years-old restrict their caloric intake based on a thin-ideal—media exposure of one of the greatest influencers.
Body-shaming, specifically fat-shaming, has the opposite intended outcome. Results indicate that “motivating” or “encouraging” someone to lose weight has the opposite effect in the psyche and the results are weight gains.
Additionally, obese individuals that have been body-shamed or discriminated against based on their weight are 3.2 times more likely to remain in the obese category.
Body-shaming has a lasting impact. A four-year study found that discrimination based on weight, physical disability, and appearance resulted in poorer health, lower life satisfaction, and higher loneliness. Check out our blog on how some men are avoiding sex because of the shame they feel about their bodies.
The term “body positive” was coined in 1996 after a psychotherapist and a patient seeking treatment for an eating disorder founded thebodypositive.org.
Simply put, body positivity is the idea that we deserve to have a positive body image regardless of whatever crap is posted on Instagram or streaming on social media.
The body positivity movement, illustrated in the Dove marketing campaign, encompasses four goals.
Psychological research focused on women has identified that the idea of self-love and body appreciation results in higher self-esteem and general optimism.
Similarly, men with positive body images also exhibited higher self-esteem. Moreover, men who practice body positivity rated high life satisfaction.
Note: Even though the idea of body positivity has been around for over 20 years, studies have yet to be conducted analyzing sexual orientations and positive body image. The vast majority of body image studies focus on women, but numbers growing by the day, even for men (be sure to check out our blog on The Unspoken Truth Behind Body-Shaming and the Masculine.
The mental health of high self-esteem and optimism translates to physical health benefits. The Mayo Clinic reports that positive thinking can lower rates of depression, improve cardiovascular health, and increase life span.
Love your body—all of it.
UNBOWED is committed to promoting self-love and body positivity. We believe in the unique power of each individual, universal body positivity, and inclusivity through cultivating a community (a pack).
Our pack encourages one another that we are strong enough, powerful enough, and good enough to reach our goals.
Join the wolf pack and locate other fitness advocates who want to facilitate one another to succeed rather than tear each other down with guilt, jealousy, delusion, and body-shaming.