Joy Pockets:: The Podcast- Episode 2: Regarding Exercise
Are you like me?
I don’t want to “get my body back” (I never lost it) or “get a beach body” (I have a body. When I’m on the beach, I have a beach body.)
I do want to feel capable and strong. I like it when I’m in shape and I can feel my muscles flex when I pick up a child. I love how much more energetic I feel as a whole when I’m exercising regularly. I also know how much exercise benefits the symptoms of depression I have. Depression also makes it super difficult to feel motivated to do any of it though.
No matter how lazy or busy I’m feeling, I absolutely recognize that working out is key to feeling positivity toward my body.
I have trained myself to accept the body I have right now and to look in the mirror and think “I’m beautiful”. Even when my skin is vampire pale, when I’m covered with scabs from anxiety picking, when you can see the blue veins and the stretch marks, when my belly isn’t toned in the slightest, I can still look at my reflection and think “I’m beautiful.”
Part of how I’ve done it is to follow fat accounts on Instagram. These women are incredible. They’re gorgeous. They’re sassy and sexy and redefining cultural norms. They’re fat.
An aspect of how I’ve done it is to change what I think when I see that last sentence. It’s a descriptor, not a put down. It’s just a word.
It doesn’t define any of us.
Working out and having babies and reminding myself how strong I am and how much my body has gone through in its years on Earth helps me remember my body is beautiful.
And also? I’m a work in progress. I find myself looking enviously at another woman because she wears a smaller size than I do. I notice that I did that. I become curious about why. What lies am I buying into that tell me a smaller size is somehow better?
“So many of us have been trained to see fitness and physical activity as a means for looking thin, sexy and toned, or punishment for eating “bad” foods. When you’re working on positive body image, it can be tempting to opt out of fitness altogether in order to avoid falling into traps of disordered thinking and weight obsession.
However, forgetting about fitness does a HUGE disservice to not only our physical health, but also our body image.
Tons of research, including our own, shows one of the best ways to improve your body image is through sports and exercise.
Using your body and experiencing your capabilities can help shift you away from a focus on your looks — if you do it right!”
-from Beauty Redefined