Dating and Relationship Advice

Loving your body can feel like an elusive goal. In a society that treats appearance as social currency, how can we reject harmful norms and choose to love our body, regardless of how it looks?

Recently I’ve turned to body neutrality as a way to take care of my body. Body neutrality is all about appreciating your body for what it can do, rather than what it looks like. It means focusing on how your body helps you live your life, instead of thinking of it as "good" or "bad". Body neutrality prevents you from over-valuing or under-valuing your body by not assigning so much meaning and judgment to its appearance.

Body neutrality teaches you to move your body in meaningful ways. Instead of engaging in exercise that is punishing (exercising through illness or injury, or rigidly for weight loss), you can focus on the intrinsic joy and functionality of movement. Here are three body-positive home workouts that honor all the amazing things your body can do.

Have a dance party

When I talk about dancing, I’m not talking about Zumba or dance fitness classes (or anything else associated with weight loss). I’m talking about good old-fashioned dancing-like-no-one’s-watching. The kind of dancing that comes from internal joy.

Put on your favorite good-mood-food music and get moving! When you’re dancing, focus on how the movement feels. Allow yourself to feel free from judgment or evaluation. Dance for the sheer delight of the activity. Dance for the exhilaration of doing something your body was designed to do.

Talk a walk with a friend, or play with your kids and pets

This is one of my favorite types of movement because you can knock out three birds with one stone. You get fun, connection, and the ability to foster relationships that are important to you.

When you engage in this type of movement, focus on connecting with the people (or animals!) around you. It is truly incredible that our bodies can be a mechanism to connect with those we love. Take advantage of this remarkable ability.

Body-positive yoga

Yoga in its most basic form means focusing on breath to bring harmony to the mind and the body. The core principles of yoga are body-positive but have been polluted by the fitness industry. As a result, yoga is sometimes associated with weight loss, achievement, and smaller bodies.

Let's return to the roots of yoga — feel the body and the breath in a way that is non-judgmental and focused on body functionality and body appreciation.

Here is a compilation of nine different Youtube videos that are body positive, trauma-sensitive, and include specific grounding practices for dysphoria or anxiety. You can also check out the Body Positive Yoga channel, which is dedicated to body positive yoga. This channel has videos on other helpful topics like self-compassion, mindful parenting, and yoga modifications for injuries or pregnancy.

Now go forth and move your body!

Now that you know body-positive movement is possible, you can incorporate joyful, mindful, and non-judgmental movement into your everyday life. Pairing movement with what you value most in life — family, connection, adventure, creativity, or fun —  leads to a more fulfilling relationship with your body.

The possibilities are truly limitless. Once you learn to ditch the self-punishment and remove the pressure around weight loss, any type of movement can be body-positive. So go forth and hike, swim, or garden to your heart's content.  

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