I completely admit that body positivity and body love are some of my weakest areas when it comes to loving myself. As much as I want to love my body and only see myself as beautiful, I frequently give into negative self talk and get frantic when “swimsuit season” rolls around. And I hate trying on swimsuits. Anyone with me on that one?
Fitness experts say that getting in shape requires 20% exercise and 80% healthy diet. And between those two, it’s easy for me to get that 20%. I love workouts and the feeling they give me. But I’d much rather go for the bag of chips than a salad. Because…what the heck is a vegetable?
When I workout, I usually lift weights. I love how powerful I feel and the strength it gives me. But now again, I know that I have to throw myself on the treadmill to keep my heart and cardiovascular system healthy.
The biggest challenge I have with cardio workouts is that I get so bored. With lifting, I’m changing what I’m doing every minute or so. But on a treadmill, or God forbid, outside in nature (jk, it’s not…that bad), I feel like I’d rather be waiting in line at the DMV than do 5 more minutes of this endless rotation through hell. I’m only slightly dramatic, right?
But the other day, I had a breakthrough for myself. I started using the power of self talk to keep myself mentally engaged AND focused on body positivity. And it completely changed my experience on my most dreaded machine at the gym. Because I strongly believe that the best workouts and healthy lifestyle choices are rooted in a love and appreciation of your body, not a desire to look a certain way.
Ready to arm yourself with a body positive workout? Let’s dive on in!
Body Positivity and Workouts Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
If you feel insecure with your body, know that you’re not alone. Ask any woman, no matter how she looks, and I can almost guarantee that we can all pick out something about our bodies we don’t like.
Insecurity and lack of confidence aren’t exclusive to a certain group of women. We all have moments where we don’t love the way we look. And that’s perfectly natural. It’s not a matter of being too fat or too thin, too short or too tall, too muscular or too flabby. It’s a matter of being human (and perpetually told that, as women, our value comes from our physical appearance, but that’s a rant for another time).
Fortunately, there’s many women (and men) out there who are sick and tired of traditional standard of what an “ideal” woman should like. And many women are learning and expressing their love for their bodies regardless of shape and size.
But with the recent flux of body positive movements, it seems like we’ve reached a dichotomy in school of thought. Either you put lots of work into your body, look great, and love how you look (based on physical appearance and sheer effort) or you don’t “need” to workout or be healthy and you should love your body regardless. Think #fitlife vs #embracethesquish.
Personally, I think both are completely acceptable and totally depend on the individual. And of course, there are pros and cons of each mentality (and the benefit really depends on if it’s rooted in self love). But the danger that’s more apparent to me, is that the dichotomy presents the idea that either you’re fit and you love your body or you aren’t and you love your body.
But what about those of us in between?
To me, genuine, wholesome self love, and in this case body love, stems from appreciating your body and it’s capabilities and acting on that appreciation. So maybe that’s by feeding it wholesome foods, exercising, indulging in physical self care, relaxing when you need it, or just any expression of love for your body. It doesn’t matter how you look, but how you treat it.
So if you want to arm yourself with a self love strategy that focuses on action more than appearance, give this body positive cardio workout a try!Body positivity and healthy workouts don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Try this body… Click To Tweet
How to Have a Rockin’ Body Positive Workout
ONE: The Right Frame of Mind
If you want to workout as an act of love for your body, we have to detox our minds first. Before you step on that treadmill, elliptical, stair master, or hit the pavement, tell yourself why you’re doing this. Don’t think about getting swimsuit ready, shedding a few pounds, losing your arm jiggle. Tell yourself that you’re working out today as an act of appreciation and love for everything your body is rather than everything it isn’t.
Tip Fill in the blank: Today, I’m working out to thank my body for …..?
TWO: Use Affirmations
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m a huge fan of affirmations. Affirmations are the perfect way to give you mental focus and practice positive self talk.
During your workout, tell yourself a body positive affirmation and match the words to your steps and breathing. Not only will this put you in sync physically, but it’s a great mental exercise. You won’t be thinking about your grocery list or all the things you have to get done once you’re done. But rather, you’ll be prioritizing yourself mentally as well as showing your body kindness and love.
Tip: Instead of telling yourself to change your speed or incline every 1-2 minutes, change your affirmation.
THREE: Positive Self Talk
Finally, be sure to follow through with some positive self talk. Tell yourself what a great job you did, thank yourself for showing up for the workout, and tell yourself you’re looking forward to the next one! It might sound silly at first, but actually having a conversation with yourself will help you digest the experience mentally and further appreciate the work you’re doing to show your body some lovin’.
Ready to make your own body positive workout? Download the Body Love Workout printable pack with 3 pre-made workout printables and a DIY affirmation template!