We believe good workouts should fuel your mind, body and soul. What does that mean? It means that fitness at its core is about making yourself feel powerful, strong, and beautiful INSIDE and OUT. This summer we’re challenging ourselves and our community of uforians to breakdown any body negative-self talk or media influence and remember that working out is a gift we give to ourselves and a celebration of how beautiful and strong our we are TODAY.
We teamed up with our friend and favorite San Francisco body positivity champion Natalie to share six ways we can all make body positivity not just a value we hold, but a value we practice in our everyday life.
How can we as a community and as individuals make small changes towards a different fitness message? When the general opinion continues to shout that we must push harder, sweat more, eat less, look this way, how can we argue that movement adds to our already full lives and our already beautiful bodies?
Movement has so many health benefits, but to appreciate your body fully, you’ve got to use it and see what it can do! You will also feel better if your body feels better, which happens to be a side effect of movement and exercise. Once you get moving, you won’t be able to help but realize how awesome you are and appreciate yourself.
Find a form of movement that you enjoy. Shift the way you think about fitness to realize what a privilege it is to move your body and gain strength. During exercise, try focusing your thoughts on how a movement makes you feel and the sensation of different muscles engaging. Try lots of different activities, but don’t waste your time in a movement practice, studio, or gym that you don’t enjoy just because others enjoy it. Find what works for you and your body.
Set a Goal
My recommendation is to set a body goal that is not appearance oriented. Those kinds of goals can be disheartening if you feel like you haven’t achieved them. Instead, set goals that make you focus on getting your body stronger and feeling capable. Your goal could be to run a 5k, take a yoga class every week for a month, perform a cartwheel, or squat your bodyweight. Pick a goal that is realistic enough that you think you could do it with some effort, but that is also challenging enough that you haven’t tried it yet.
Take Care of your Beautiful Self
Drinking water, getting enough sleep, stretching, taking vitamins, laughing, and managing your health care means taking pride in your body, because it’s the only one you’re going to get, so do whatever you can to preserve it. When you take better care of the body you are blessed with, it will take better care of you.
Taking care of yourself also means surrounding yourself with people who have your back, or in other words, humans that you should think of as your tribe. These are the people who want good things for you, who appreciate all that you offer, who will help to fortify this strong belief that you are loved and respected. Take care of your beautiful self and spend as much time as possible with the tribe of wonderfully quirky and awesomely imperfect people who love you as much as you adore them.
Consider what you tell yourself when you look in the mirror. Our brains are powerful things, but they are also impressionable. Our brains don’t always know the difference between visions, affirmations, dreams, and reality. If we constantly inform our brain that we feel bad about ourselves, it doesn’t know that’s just an opinion and will accept it as truth. Luckily, if we focus on telling our brain positive thoughts, it will assume that’s the truth.
Instead, every time you look into the mirror, point out one trait, physical or otherwise, that you like about yourself, and if you can, say it out loud! Finding things you like about yourself and focusing on those may help to increase your positive body image and how you feel about yourself. If you’re having trouble looking into the mirror and finding something you want to compliment yourself on, fake it!
Most of us who want to be healthy have concerns about how a healthy lifestyle will fit into our social life. So many activities these days are focused around going out drinking and eating. A lot of my clients worry that they’ll have to choose between their social life and looking and feeling the way they want to, but this doesn’t have to be true! Success and balance is all about getting creative and focusing on your relationships more than the calories you’re consuming.
I’ve started to plan get togethers around healthy activities so that I get to see my friends and also feel good about myself. I’ll schedule hikes, fitness classes, trips to the beach, grocery shopping trips, and even threw a smoothie making party in order to combine health and socializing. As soon as I stopped thinking I had to be alone on my journey to enjoy life and my body, I realized the possibilities were endless for activities that would bring me closer to my friends and make me feel great.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Confidence is one of the most beautiful traits someone can have, and people are naturally drawn to those who walk into a room with their head held high and a smile on their face. This might feel really challenging for you to pull off, but I encourage you to give it a whirl.
Showing confidence is simple, it just sounds scary. Be yourself, be genuine, say what’s in your heart. Show qualities that reflect compassion, unconditional positive regard, and patience, and keep reminding yourself of these things every day until it feels more natural. There is a lack of these qualities in our world today, but if you can show a glimmer of them to others, you will already be ahead of the curve.