Our focus in changing the body confidence issue is off-kilter. We are all aware of how damaging media images and messages can be to body confidence, yet there seems to be only minor changes in society. We tend to focus on those who are overweight and celebrate weight-loss stories. However, in order to change our perception of body image we need to shine the light on those who work to keep their bodies strong, fit and healthy.
Positive lifestyle choices are improving body confidence
There is a terrible misconception that those who are working on their bodies, to maintain their health and fitness are somehow lacking body confidence. However, these people love their bodies and have decided to make a change, treating their bodies and themselves with the respect they deserve. It is therefore a crying shame, when people feel the need to body-shame those who choose to make a positive lifestyle change, as recently experienced by Ashley Graham.
Not only should we be avoiding negativity towards those who are overweight, but we should also highlight that 'thin shaming' is just as negative. Who are we to say 'don't get too skinny' or 'real women have curves,' these comments have the same damaging effect as fat shaming. Judgements of people's bodies, whatever the shape or size, is unacceptable and needs to stop.
See the beauty in the strength and power of your body
Celebrities and respected figures of society are beginning to speak out, in an attempt to end this body-shaming culture. High-profile models are advocating being fit and healthy over striving to reach a certain size. Gigi Hadid, stood up to her body-shamers by writing them an open letter, after they had commented that she was not skinny enough to be a model. Gigi has said that she has always been very happy with her athletic body and has trained to stay fit. So perhaps, we are beginning to see a shift in the understanding of what makes us beautiful. We are starting to celebrate the strength and power of the female form.
Stop judging others for making positive lifestyle changes
If we are to truly revolutionise the way we feel about our bodies, everyone should be able to make changes without the fear of being judged. I know, from experience that changing your lifestyle in order to improve your health can have a negative backlash from those closest to you, with comments such as, 'enjoy life and eat what you want' or 'you don't need to exercise every day'. However, these comments create unnecessary pressure around your own life choices to be fit and healthy. You should be able to feel body confident without the negativity attached to a lifestyle change.
Body confidence comes in two forms, not only should we be able to love ourselves whatever size we are, we should also understand, that you don't need to accept your body as it is and remain stagnant to be body confident. Change can be a good thing. Change means growth and if that change is going to make us fitter, healthier and happier then surely this is a good thing.
Does a healthy lifestyle help increase your body confidence?
This blog post first appeared at Emilia Intimates