Being body positive is all about embracing and celebrating your body. So what happens when you need to lose weight, whether it be for medical reasons or your general health? It can be a real struggle to embrace your body while you are watching it change in the mirror. I know this struggle all too well. I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which I was determined to treat naturally with diet and exercise. My body began to change rapidly. I have spent years as a body-positive activist, preaching self-love and celebration of our bodies as they are. Now, here I was watching my body rapidly shrink and not recognizing my reflection in the mirror.
Here are five tips for you if you are struggling with being body positive during your weight-loss journey.
- Don't obsess over the scale. It may seem strange to ignore the scale when you are trying to lose weight, but the number on the scale is only one way to measure your progress, and it is far from the best way. Take note of how you are feeling. Maybe it's getting a little easier to run around with your kids. Or maybe your clothes are starting to feel looser. When the scale isn't budging, it's easy to be discouraged and feel like you are failing. Ditch the scale and start focusing on how you feel.
- Don't set weight-loss goals. If your goal is to lose x amount of pounds in x amount of weeks, stop and ask yourself why. Why are you putting yourself through unnecessary stress and deadlines? Just fuel your body with food that it thrives off of, be active, and let your body do the rest. Don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You're doing a great job. Give your body the time it needs to adjust to your new lifestyle.
- Do it for the right reasons. Be mindful of your inner voice. Don't shame your body for the size you are. Reevaluate your reasons for wanting to lose weight. Did you have a recent health scare? Want to feel healthier, physically and mentally? If your only driving force is the number on a scale, you need to rethink your motivation. Our bodies are beautiful, no matter what size they may be.
- Get active. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are so many gimmicky weight-loss schemes that don't promote exercise. If you want to feel better, both mentally and physically, you need to get active! Moving your body is part of taking care of it. Whether you are walking, jogging, playing a sport, whatever you prefer, make it fun! You will feel so much better if you spend time doing something that makes you happy. Don't make working out a chore; make it a highlight of your day! I love meeting up with friends for nature walks. I love walking with my family in the evening. There are so many enjoyable ways to move your body, so don't miss out on the benefits of being active. Don't fall for a weight-loss gimmick that claims all you need to do is drink this, take a pill, and sit around and drop pounds. Do it the right way.
- Embrace the changes. This has been the biggest hurdle during my journey to health. I didn't dislike my body or feel any desire to change my physical appearance. When people compliment my weight loss and tell me how great I look, I want to snap back that I didn't look bad before! I am learning to be OK with all of the changes my body is undergoing. I love my body, no matter what shape it may be. I'm learning to embrace the changes that are taking place and focus on the fact that I've reversed my diabetes. Focus on your health.