What Body Positive means to me

Sometimes I hesitate to post things in fear that they will be misconstrued. Pretty much anything can offend someone now, and that’s just the time we live in. We also live in a time where people like me have a platform to explain and possibly educate others on certain topics; or at least spark some thoughts and provide a different perspective; or maybe even validate what someone has been feeling already.

I am a “body positive” advocate and that is how I train my clients, women AND men. When that term first started coming out, it made me gag a little. It drove me nuts that people were “perpetuating obesity” as a healthy way of life. But then I thought about what it meant to me, and maybe that’s what some others thought as well. Maybe we didn’t have to let it get hijacked by those who wanted excuses to not put in effort to take care of their body.

I don’t believe there is a certain “look” of health. We set goals based off of what my clients want to do in life. I don’t think that bodyweight is the determining factor of someone’s overall health. I also believe that healthy individuals value their amazing bodies, and want to maintain or improve them so they can be the best version of themselves.

To me, it does not mean that you are morbidly obese with Type II diabetes and high blood pressure, but that you are healthy and should “rock it.” It is not my place to tell you what you need to do, but in my opinion if you are body positive, that means you appreciate your body. If you appreciate your body, you will take care of it the best you possibly can. That means practicing some sort of exercise in our sedentary lives. (I’m a huge fan of weight lifting for everyone, literally everyone, and that doesn’t mean competitive bodybuilding or powerlifting, but we’ll touch on that another time.) That means thinking about the things you put in and on your body. That means actually being proactive about ensuring your body stays healthy, not just saying “eff it, this is how I am and you have to like it and say that I am attractive, health risks and all!”

To me, body positive means valuing the things your body is capable of, not comparing it to *insert anybody who isn’t you.* It doesn’t matter how much you weigh, but it matters that you overcame your fear of the gym, and now are doing deadlifts! It doesn’t matter if you have a size 27 inch waist, but it matters that you have built the strength you need to take the kayaking trip you have been planning for years! It doesn’t matter if you are “heavier” than some chart says you should be, but it matters that you put in the effort to make smart decisions when it comes to what foods and activities your body needs.

Look at the amazing things that you are able to do because of your body. Walking, running, standing up, carrying groceries, going on hikes, playing sports, etc. Body positive means feeding the machine that gets you through life, both literally and metaphorically. Be kind to yourself. If you are nervous that someone is going to notice something on your body you don’t like, ask yourself: “Why would I care what they think?” “Why would I give that other person any power over how I view myself?” This is your O.W.N. journey, and you control the outcome.

If you have thoughts or would like to share what body positive means to you, please send it via Facebook or email: shealeonardpt@gmail.com! Let’s have people hear your story too!

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