Body Positivity: How to Love the Body You're In

Social media has become so prevalent in everyday life that many of us can’t even imagine the last time we went a day without it. We use social media for a variety of reasons: communicating with friends and family, posting updates to our profiles, networking with strangers, scrolling aimlessly to fill our time, and more. Social media has given us many opportunities to connect that we would not have had without it–for example, it has given me the opportunity to connect with all of you. Unfortunately, however, social media comes with downsides too. One particularly negative consequence is social media’s destructive impact on body image.

According to a study conducted by the Florida House Experience Health Institution, 87% of women and 65% of men compare their bodies to images they see on social media and over half of these individuals compare themselves in adverse and destructive ways. These harmful comparisons destroy confidence and self-esteem, resulting in decreases to one’s perceived quality of life. That is why it is so important to keep body positivity in mind while perusing social media.

Body positivity is a social movement that advocates for the acceptance of all bodies and body types despite society’s normalization of “ideal” body types that, in many cases, are far from normal. There are many books, podcasts, songs, and campaigns encouraging the practice of body positivity. My experience with patients has shown me, however, that people are far more likely to extend body positivity to others than to accept it for themselves. That’s why I’ve compiled 3 easy ways to start actively practicing body positivity in your daily life.

  1. Fuel your body. Your body needs energy to be able to function properly—and even think optimally—and this energy comes from nourishing your body with the right foods—moisture-rich, fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy oils and proteins, and what I call “embryonic foods”—seeds, nuts, and eggs. Too many people starve themselves to get their body into a size they will then feel positively towards, or conversely, blithely eat junk foods because “oh well, body positivity.” However, like a car, your body needs food for fuel no matter what. Moreover, food is medicine, and the quality of the fuel you give your body makes a big difference in how your body will feel—as well as how you will feel about your body. Get in the habit of properly fueling your body, and you will feel better and find it easier to remain body positive.
  2. Appreciate your body. Your body does so much for you on a daily basis without you even realizing it. Your heart pumps blood through your arteries and veins oxygenating and nourishing each cell; your G-I tract digests your food; your bone marrow creates red blood cells; your immune system fights infection; and your brain subconsciously directs a multitude of activities to handle whatever demands you place on it. In other words, your body performs amazing feats all day and night and for that, it deserves appreciation. If you spend a few minutes every day appreciating your body for all it DOES, body positivity will fall into place.
  3. “Watch your language.” Body positivity is all about the quality and content of your self-talk. If you are constantly criticizing yourself, you will inevitably believe the criticism. Alternatively, if you tell yourself that you are healthy, that you are beautiful, that you eat appropriately, that you exercise in ways that make you happy and strong, that you cherish and care for this unique and fabulous body that is yours, you will believe these things as well. Soon body positivity will not be a goal; it will be your reality!

In short, partly as a result of the unrealistic expectations placed upon us by social media, everyone struggles with body positivity from time to time. However, by implementing these 3 initiatives, you will be able to replace negative feelings about your body with self-love, which powers our inner body positivity.

That’s Modern Wellness!


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