It’s the time of year when New Year’s resolutions are being made, and talk of diets is all around us. If you want to dodge the diet talk and are a little tired of the assumptions that go with it, then here are our five top tips on how to maintain a body positive outlook. The New Year doesn’t have to bring a ‘new you’- maybe the same you with a little self-love is what you need instead?
1. Surround yourself with positive influences
The best way to dodge diet culture is to surround yourself with positive influences; with those who will love you no matter what and are not critical of your weight, shape or size. Keep those people close and let those supportive voices be louder than those who may shame you, or themselves. Whether it’s family, friends or an online community- find those positive influences and let them support you in your body positivity.
2. Throw out the scales
Throw out the scales, the diet books and anything else that may contribute to an internalised sense of self-doubt. You can be healthy without checking your weight every day and any exercise you may do should be a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for eating. Make body acceptance as easy for yourself as possible in the New Year and throw out any toxic influences.
3. Follow body positive activists
There are so many amazing body positive activists out there, so find your favourites and follow what they’re doing. From Kitty Underhill to Kelvin Davis and Keah Brown to Harnaam Kaur there are lots of inspirational people to keep you motivated in your own journey towards self-love. When we hear so many negative messages in day to day life, both from the media and opinions casually dropped into conversation, then it’s crucial to balance that out with body positive voices to support us.
4. Support others in your life
One of the best ways to maintain and develop your body positivity is to support others in your life. When you hear negative comments, internalised shame or a determination to conform to societies standards- try not to hear it as an attack, but an opportunity to support other people as well. The message from popular media is overwhelmingly one of shame and a need to change; beliefs which inform a lot of people’s thinking. Where possible, try to suggest alternatives to people’s obsessive desire to control their food and shame their bodies. Supporting others will help foster body positivity in all areas of your life.
5. Don’t judge yourself too harshly
Don’t judge yourself too harshly- both your body, and if you end up slipping into old habits of self-shaming. Body positivity shouldn’t become part of your tick list to perfection, or another thing you have to worry about. We’re all surrounded by a culture that encourages this kind of doubt so it’s completely understandable if sometimes you feel those pressures to lose weight/ change your body. Don’t shame yourself for this feeling of shame- funnily enough, it won’t help. Keep on trying to be sympathetic to your body and others around you- we could all do with dodging the diet chat in 2018.