Oct 21, 2021
All of us, yes, all of us deserve to carry within our souls the belief of a positive body image. Regardless of how society, popular culture, and the masses view ideal shape, size and appearance, we should always have a positive body image.
Body positivity is affected by the way popular media contributes to the relationship that people have with their bodies. The way we feel about food, exercise, clothing, health, identity, and self-care all affect how we identify with a positive body image. If you have been taught or always heard that your body was less than or you didn’t look how someone wanted you to look, and they expressed that to you, chances are you either carry or have carried a not so positive body image into your adult life. If you have a perception that no matter what you do in the form of exercise will improve your health, chances are you will not gain a desire to exercise. One thing we must remember and teach others, we should not only look at exercise as a means to change our body image, but exercise is for our overall health. If you have a goal of working out to “look” a certain way or to hopefully “look” like someone else, chances are … that’s never going to happen.
Your body. Your lovely body. In all of its flaws, creases, folds, wrinkles and scars, is beautiful.
No matter what someone has told you in the past, it is beautiful.
The term “body positive” emerged in 1996 when a psychotherapist treated a person for an eating disorder, and then founded thebodypositive.org. Their main focus was to offer educational resources and materials that would help people feel good about their bodies.
We must do the same, especially as African-American women. We have been told that our hair is too kinky, woolly, and we’ve been told and lied to that we must look like a certain way in order to be beautiful. During the last ten years, images of beautiful women varying in different sizes and shapes have been emerging, but is that enough to dismantle the myths and previous images planted in our minds? Is that enough to get you to where you need to be to feel good about your body? Who says your stomach has to be flat like your sisters in order for you to be beautiful? Why do you have this insecurity that you shouldn’t wear a bathing suit because you have rolls?
Depending on who you ask, body positivity can mean:
- Appreciating your body in spite of flaws.
- Feeling confident about your body … no mater what! No matter if you’ve put a few pounds on during COVID, no matter if that scar on your left cheek has spread.
- Accepting your body’s shape and size.
Body positivity also means enjoying your body. You can enjoy your body by indulging in self-care. Self-care doesn’t have to cost any money. Self-care can include:
- Taking a long, hot bath in your favorite oils and caressing your body during the luxurious bathing process.
- Looking in the mirror often and smiling at yourself.
- Writing a love letter to yourself and telling yourself why you love you!
- Taking a break from your rigorous exercise routine and spending some quiet time reflecting on your body characteristics.
- Assessing why do your workout in the first place. Is it to impress others? Is your goal to better than the next woman? Or is your goal to become a healthier you?
Body image influences your mental health and your well-being. Having a negative body image can increase depression and eating disorders. Keep in mind emotional eating can be labeled as an eating disorder.
Reading about or being told you should have a positive body image is easier said than done. So what can you do to maintain a healthy body image?
Stay tuned for Body Talk … Part 2.
By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.