I am not putting up that picture to show off… This is not a look at my weight loss etc post or picture…although to be completely honest it is good to remind myself how far I have come once in a while…
The whole point of this picture is it represents a fundamental change in my attitude!
When the first picture was taken I hated pictures, I wouldn’t look at the camera and I could barely look at the resulting pictures without being miserable for ages.
Now, believe it or not, I am willing to pose for photos, I mostly don’t hate them and I even have more selfies than is sensible on my phone! But this is about more than photos. It is about confidence and attitude. It is about finding the courage to stand up to the judgmental attitudes of today’s society. To stand up to the attitudes that say you have to be a certain size or shape to dress a certain way.
Even at the end of my first 365 I wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing the muscle shirt in the top picture without a second top under it. I still qualified every achievement with disclaimers about needing to lose more weight, or still having lots of things I needed to change. It was almost as if I was not allowing myself to be proud of myself , I couldn’t let anyone thing I was pleased with me the way I was. After all what would happen if they thought I was still fat…I felt I had to acknowledge it before they said something!
Just in case you are new or have forgotten this was the end of my 365 project…
This was me, I was happy because dancing, I was happy because 365 days of exercise is quite a big achievement, I was happy with my progress.
The one thing I couldn’t say I was happy with was my body.
Now the end of 365 me was a differently shaped me to the now me. Partly because I have been a little less dedicated to my eating, and quite a lot because I have been doing a lot of heavy lifting… but this isn’t the point, the point is…
We are allowed to be proud of ourselves. We are allowed to like our bodies and appreciate them for what they can do!
I know what you are thinking…what changed? and when are you going to get to the point and tell me what body positivity is?
Well first things first…what changed?
Well…obviously I did…but what made me change?
The first thing was this person…
This is Whitney Way Thore, star of a show called Whitney Fat Girl Dancing, and a dancer who works to encourage people to accept their body and not body shame others. I don’t watch her show often, but I happened to catch an interview with her and of course she was being quizzed for promoting obesity and such like. and she explained she has PCOS which made her gain weight and that she was aware that it could be unhealthy to be overweight but then she said “Appreciate your body for what it can do.” and that if it is stopping you doing things you want to it is time for a change. That one line started to change my outlook.
Then I found Grrrl Clothing, an amazing company run by Kortney Olson I have told you about them before here they are all about body positivity and fitness at all sizes…which quite honestly is rare in a fitness clothing company! The breakthrough really came when I found their FB group Grrrls. This group is full of amazing women who all support each other and all subscribe to the Grrrl philosophy which comes handily written on the clothing tag.
This is important. No negativity about yourself or others. As soon as you start to do this your outlook starts to change.
How often do you look in a mirror and criticise yourself, or tell yourself that you are stupid, or tell other people that you need to lose weight or are so fat or whatever. As soon as you stop this and start to look for positives, everything changes. Not instantly…it is not magic… you can’t wipe out years/decades of social conditioning in one hit but it starts to happen. You start to appreciate what your body can do whether it is lift heavy things, run a long way, make children (I have heard this can be a good thing but I remain unconvinced :-p), or just move you around through your busy day to day lives. You start to realise that you can be and do anything you want to do at any size and that the dictates of society are quite frankly rubbish…
Society says you have to be skinny to be attractive…well no actually the thing that makes a person most attractive is confidence. Society says women shouldn’t lift weights because they might get all bulky…well, bulky is unlikely in women and anyway…why shouldn’t women be bulky if they want…
Society says working out is for weight loss and for looks…well no, working out is for health and for whatever your own personal goal is!!
Before I go on any more I am going to show you some of the awesome women in the group who have inspired me to walk around with scary bright leggings on and muscle shirts with no vest tops under them…to walk around with confidence!
These are not the only inspirational women in the group by a long way but it just shows, no matter what size, what shape, what background we come from, there is no judgement! 😀
So here’s what body positivity means to me:
Body positivity is about believing in your own self worth, about believing that I am strong and capable and worthy of confidence as I am right now! It is ok to want to work on self improvement, it is ok to still want to lose weight but the difference is I am doing it for me and for health and to be an even better me rather than as a punishment for being a bad me!
I work out because I like it.
I wouldn’t mind losing some more fat, but I am proud of myself for who I am at the moment!
I can spend three days in a row dancing and walking miles and still walk the next day! I can lift 100kg (almost…) I can ride my bike for mile and miles I can swing a kettlebell about like nobody’s business and I can do all of these things right now.
I am fit and I am healthy and I still have chocolate sometimes and that is ok!
I am still mildly terrified of posting this without the caveats I mentioned at the start. I still have the fear of people judging me for being too fat or too weak or, now after writing this, too show-y off-y…
but you know what I am posting it anyway along with these pictures of the me that I am proud of right now!
So be who you want to be, be who you are and don’t be ashamed of it! Don’t let “society” dictate whether you wear leggings or shorts or vest tops or giant hats covered in peacock feathers or what ever you like because at the end of the day it is not their business…it is yours 😀