Body Positivity: Learning to Embrace Yourself

Written By Julie Paiva, CHHC


With Spring’s arrival, temperatures warm up, and many of us start to feel stressed as we put away our bulky sweaters and bring out our swimsuits.  Which is why this is the perfect time to talk about body positivity!  Body positivity refers to an acceptance and love of all body types, including your own. It is starting to make a shift in industries such as fashion.  Many fashion brands are beginning to feature more diversity and body inclusivity in their advertisements and among their models. This is a significant step toward cracking the concept of an ideal body type, but there’s still quite a way to go.  It is time for us to accept ourselves and realize that most of us will never have the typical “model” body.  What matters most is that you are healthy, and healthy doesn’t look the same for all of us.


Try these valuable steps to further embrace body positivity.


Take a compliment.


Accepting compliments with grace is an almost universal challenge! Too often, we answer compliments with “Thank you, but…or no that’s not true”.  When you receive compliments, it’s okay to simply say thank you without providing an excuse or explanation. We are often far too hard on ourselves and focus on what we think are negative aspects of our body or personality instead of appreciating our uniqueness.  When you learn to accept compliments by saying thank you (and just thank you!), you’ll start to believe them.

Have a fitness goal that has nothing to do with appearance.


Forget the scale and the measuring tape. Fitness is a great way to feel strong and powerful, but if your focus is only on burning calories, you’re more likely to resent it as an activity. Rather than linking exercise solely with physical appearance, have fun by challenging yourself to squat more than you have even been able to, lift your highest weight, run your fastest mile, or bike your longest distance. Seeing your body accomplish these incredible things will make you truly proud.  Practice gratitude each day for all the things that your body can do.


Stop comparing.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Think about that every time you compare yourself to someone else and how it leaves you feeling less than.  Accept the differences in yourself and others.  Put your focus on your own healthy path. Know that we all have different strengths and limitations. Concentrate on your assets and your potential by using positive affirmations and setting realistic goals. Celebrate wins, however small, and remember that beauty comes in different shapes and sizes.


Use social media wisely.

What we expose ourselves to, what’s online, in magazines, and on TV it can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves. Pay attention to the magazines, websites, and social media pages you view and the messages they may be subtly (or not so subtly) sending you.


Embrace your “flaws.”

Being body positive is not just about weight. It’s about accepting all aspects of your body, from body hair to acne to cellulite, no matter what society deems acceptable or beautiful. Your “flaws” make you who you are, so embrace them! Body positivity means recognizing that all bodies (yours included!) are worthy of acceptance and praise, and that all bodies are of equal value and beautiful in their own right.


Health looks different on everyone.  Strive to be healthy!  Focus on making your body well from the inside out.  Aim to have a positive body image.  Be grateful for where you are now, every step that you take each day, and where your journey will take you.

Julie Paiva
Julie Paiva
Julie is a nutritional counselor with a degree in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Connecticut State University in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Science from Southern Connecticut State University. She has been giving one-on-one coaching sessions ever since earning her degree in 2013 and is passionate about helping others implement a holistic lifestyle!

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