EMBRACING WEIGHT GAIN AND CULTIVATING BODY POSITIVITY
Weight gain has been painted by society as something incredibly negative. Whether it’s a magazine bashing a celebrity in their bikini or the covers plastered with things like ‘HOW TO LOSE THE BABY WEIGHT FAST’, ‘HOW TO PREVENT THE FRESHER’S 15’ or countless advertisements, cookery books and restaurants advertising ‘KICKSTART YOUR 2019 WEIGHTLOSS NOW’, we are all being fed the same message; that gaining weight is the last thing we should want. But what happens when you do gain weight? Whether it’s on purpose to improve your health or has happened naturally, how do we learn to accept ourselves? How are we meant to speak kindly towards ourselves and our bodies, to not engage in the toxic, damaging diet talk and prevent the effect it can have on our mental health?
There’s no easy answer - but here are some tips I’ve gathered along the way. Hope they might help any of you out that are struggling, especially at this time of year. Feel free to share any tips you have in the comments, or feel free to send a message!
REMEMBER: YOUR BODY KNOWS BEST.
Our bodies are a lot smarter than we think, and 9 times out of 10, our bodies gain weight because they need to. As alien as it sounds, our bodies don’t want us to be overweight - every person has a ‘set point’ weight, which is the natural weight, usually flexible between a few kg, where your body likes to sit in order to function optimally. At this point, your organ systems can function at their best, you will have the most energy, and all of your brain will be working fully. When underweight, part of your cognitive function actually shuts down, and so do other parts of your bodily systems, in order to preserve energy and keep your main systems (breathing, heartbeat etc.) going. At your healthy weight, you will be able to think more clearly, won’t have obsessive thoughts about food, and generally can be happier and less anxious. Even if you weren’t technically underweight, you might have not been at your bodies optimum point - it might be uncomfortable at first, but your body is happier here. All your body wants is for you to live as your happiest, healthiest self. Trust it!
FOCUS ON OTHER THINGS.
Every time you look in the mirror and are bombarded with negative thoughts about your body, replace that thought with 3 things you love about yourself. Whether that’s your hair, your generosity to others, your creativity… shift your perspective to one coming from a place of love, not fear.
APPRECIATE YOUR BODY FOR BEING A BODY.
That’s all it is at the end of the day, a shell that you live in. It does so much for you, appreciate it for what it is, a body, not a machine or an object to be changed and moulded! Focus on the way it keeps you alive, how it allows you to move, breathe, have relationships, life experiences, the things you enjoy.
EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY - CHANGE IS NORMAL.
Our bodies will fluctuate in weight and size throughout life, due to external stresses and circumstances - whether that be losing a loved one, becoming pregnant, stresses at work, puberty, getting older… you can’t expect everything to stay the same forever. Every state we find ourselves in is temporary, and that’s something beautiful about life. Don’t stress the small stuff. Let your body naturally do it’s thing, all you need to do is take care of it properly by fuelling it and resting it.
WEAR THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD.
Don’t force yourself into things you feel uncomfortable in, but equally, don’t hide yourself away. Sometimes you need to push yourself to wear something that you don’t think you ‘can’ to be able to re-write that negative body image in your mind, but sometimes you need to be kind to yourself and wear something you feel confident and beautiful in. Whether it’s bright colours, funky prints or flowy and comfy - find what feels good to you.
DO AN INSTAGRAM CLEANSE.
Go through everyone you follow and unfollow anyone you follow for ‘fitness inspiration’ or just for their pretty feed and looks. I was surprised to see how many models and other people I followed that weren’t actually adding any value into my life - their content wasn’t inspiring, it just made me feel shit about myself. If you catch yourself comparing yourself to anyone in a negative way - unfollow!! Instead choose people that empower or educate you. And remember - the photos you see aren’t real life. They are a glimmer, a snapshot of someone’s day - all the best angles and good lighting and filters and presets. Stay mindful.
REMIND YOURSELF WHAT YOU VALUE IN LIFE.
What do you really want your priority to be in life, the way you look or the way you act? Would you rather go to the grave with perfect abs or having followed your passions, having made incredible relationships or having impacted the world in some way? Remind yourself about what’s really important to you and the kind of life you want to live.
You are so much more than your body, than your weight. Don’t let the diet industry tell you otherwise!
Oceans of love,