Body Positivity vs body acceptance

I hear this ALL the time. Body positivity. People talking about being body positive. Be positive about the body you have. Feel comfortable in your own skin….yada yada. I’m all for it. I really am. I think it has potential to be a really good movement. I think we should ALL be body positive, after all we all come in different shapes and sizes. But the reality is that no matter how much we say we are body positive, it is almost impossible to feel positive about your body 100% of the time. 

The problem I have with with body positivity is that it leaves very little leway to have insecurities…..social media is brainwashing us to think we cannot have hangups about our body and that we should be positive about it ALL THE TIME. This just isn’t possible. Everyone will have something about their image that they are not totally happy about….and that is absolutely fine, its normal. You don’t have to kid yourself that you are positive about something that you are not. Likewise, you don’t have to restrict your diet, change your hair and wax your chest just so you look like something off the cover of a glossy magazine.

I wouldn’t say I am someone who is particulary confident about their body. I know my hangups and I know what I need to do to improve them; not only physically but mentally too. I’ve sat at both extremes of the scale. I’ve been overweight sitting above 16 stone. I’ve been underweight sitting at under 12 stone. I’ve yo-yoed this 4 stone for the last 10 years. At no point have I felt body positive. There has ALWAYS been something I’ve not been happy about. Whether it’s that I’m too fat, too thin, too tall, that I don’t have enough muscle, that my BMI doesn’t sit right in a chart, bla bla bla. 

So, you know what I say to body positivity…BOLLOX. Fuck it. Why force yourself to be positive about something that you are not happy about. Something that you say you’re positive about to share with Instagram, something you say to make you feel temporarily better about yourself, something that you kid yourself about daily, something that deep down you’re still unhappy about! 

I’ve changed my mindset somewhat lately, as I say, bollox to body positivity, but a big fat hello to Body Acceptance! I’m at the point where I don’t care what the scales say. I don’t care about my BMI. I don’t care about by muscle/fat ratio. I’m here to accept the body I have. BUT….and it’s a big but, I want to make improvements. I want to be at ease and feel comfortable in my own skin. I’ve accepted my body and also accepted I can make it better….if I want to. 

You see, with body positivity your putting unhealthy pressure yourself. You’re forcing yourself to like something that you don’t. If you change your mindset, accept the body you have, accept that it might not be magazine perfect…you don’t have to be positive about it but accept that the ball is in your court. There are things you can change, your weight, the colour of your hair…Christ have liposuction and lip fillers…but that doesn’t make you body positive. Accept that you have hang ups with your body or image and come to terms that this is the body you have. Once you’ve accepted your body for what it is, it will become so much easier to make the changes you want. Rather than tell yourself that your body positive and still be unsettled with your particular hang up.

The way I look at myself has changed. It is important to be able to change the way you view your body. Stop thinking about how your body looks and start thinking about what your body can do. Start treating your body with respect and understand your own limits…and if you want to, start improving them. Push the boundaries, you may be surprised at what you’re capable of. Accept that no two days are the same; whether that’s focusing on your calorie intake, your exercise regime, the number of steps you take.

In January 2019 I started the year over weight. I could easily have told myself to be positive about it…but what was the point, I wasn’t happy and accepted that I needed to make changes. After all, my body was only the way it was because of the choices I made. I could have kidded myself that I was happy ordering another pizza, that the McDonald’s I was eating wasn’t an issue, that the drinks/milkshakes/hot chocolates I was drinking were OK and that ‘everyone needs a treat from time to time.

[January 2019 – 16 stone]

In my acceptance, I knew I needed to make changes. I wasn’t living a healthy lifestyle. I was kidding myself that I was body positive. I made the decision to seek help. Initially I improved my diet and lost some weight. I felt better. Clothes were a little loser but I still needed a big kick up the arse to become more healthy. I needed support to be more active. Again, I could have sat back and told myself to be positive about the weight I had lost….but I knew I would soon revert back.

I made the decision to reach out to Lee, @Dadhealth, via Instagram. I’ve been working with Lee since May 2019. My diet has changed. My lifestyle has changed. My exercise routine has change. My view on my body has changed. I’m much more active than I have ever been. Overall my health has improved hugely…but I still accept that there are changes I need to make….that I want to make, to enable me to be in the best physic that I want! I have accepted that my body has the ability to do WHATEVER I want it to.

I like to think I have a healthy relationship with food and exercise. But I want to better myself. I want to work harder. I accept that if I want to eat more, I’ll gain weight. If I want to eat less, I’ll lose weight. If I train harder at the gym I’ll build muscle. If I take a few weeks out, I’ll lose some muscle. It’s about accepting what happens to my body is about the choices I make…and fucking owning that shit! 

As I said, I’ve been working with @dadhealth. I made the decision to reach out to him having lost 1 and a half stone and my weight was 14 stone 7lbs: I wasn’t happy and needed some guidance. This wasn’t about becoming the biggest weightlifter in the gym or running the most about of miles. It was about accepting the body I have. Accepting that to improve my body I needed to make changes. 

[smiling because I own this]

Lee is a Level 4 S&C coach (I don’t really know what that means, but he’s decent) has been amazing. We had an initial consultation and I told him what I wanted from my body. He has set me weekly training  regimes; based on what I tell him I want to do. This was really important to me. I didn’t want to sign up to a personal trainer who had a standard regime who filtered it out to the millions. In needed to be tailored. It needed to be me. And by Christ, that’s exactly what he did! 

Initially I trained at home. Using equipment such as kettlebells and resistance bands. I’m not ashamed to say I didn’t feel confident enough to go to the gym; I liked the security of training in my own home. Over the course of about 6 weeks Lee and I spoke about how I can push my body further. How I can train harder. How I could make improvements to the hard work I had put in. The reality was that I needed to join the gym. And that exactly what I did. I accepted that the only thing holding me back was me!

When I joined the gym Lee tailored my training so I was doing very similar training to what I was doing at home….it made it feel less alien. I was simply enhancing the training I was already doing. Since joining the gym I have been training there 3 times a week and the remainder of my training I complete at home. It’s important for me to have that balance so it doesn’t become a chore. Lee tailored my training plan to what I wanted, understanding that I didn’t want to be in gym 7 days a week. And the most important thing for me is that he listens, he listens to what I want and give me the guidance I need to achieve my goals.

Lee not only supported my training journey. But has helped my mental heath. And he probably doesn’t even know this! When I started training I was depressed. Taking medication. Feeling pretty low. I accepted that my mental health wasn’t in a good place and acknowledged that I was the only person who was able to change this! Having a new focus, setting new goals, enjoying training (I NEVER thought I would be that person) and being able to test my body and being able to push myself to my own limits has had a HUGE impact on my mental health. It allows me to see things more clearly. It’s like the fog has been lifted.

I still haven’t achieved all the goals I have set; but you know what, I don’t care…I’ve accepted that there isn’t a real goal, there isn’t a deadline, there isn’t a man with a chequered flag at the finishing line. This is a life style…it’s a change I’ve embraced and guess what, I’ve accepted my body and I couldn’t be happier.

I highly recommend Lee and the service he provides. I would go as far to say that working with him has changed my life. Without knowing it, he has helped me on my body acceptance journey and couldn’t ask anything more from a trainer. I’ve linked his insta above – give him a shout, you won’t regret it.

[Lee and I at Tough Mudder October 2019. Because I can do anything I set my mind to!]

Note: This isn’t an Ad, Lee hasn’t asked me to promote his business. I’m just a Dad who has found a decent trainer that I highly recommend!