The body positivity movement, which has become quite prominent in the last couple of years both in the media and online, is all about improving our self-esteem around how we look — especially if we don’t look like the skinny, stereotypically beautiful models on the covers of magazines. And while most people would agree that loving ourselves the way we are is a recipe for happiness, how do we reconcile a desire to hit certain weight-loss goals with loving our bodies at the same time?
It can feel like these two desires are opposites — is it possible for them to coexist? Yes, and it may actually help with weight loss!
Body Positivity, Body Image, and Quality of Life
Most of us have gone through bouts of negativity around our bodies (whether these thoughts are fleeting or stick around for years), and have experienced firsthand how these negative thoughts can impact our daily lives, but new research suggests the connection is even more powerful than we might imagine.
According to a 2016 study published by Public Library of Science, body image can “significantly affect” overall quality of life. Another study published in 2018 has similar findings, revealing “a significant positive relationship between body-image satisfaction and psychological well-being” in overweight participants.
When we’re in a positive frame of mind, we tend to be healthier overall, which may translate to making better food and physical activity choices. The better we feel about our bodies, the more positive we are apt to be ‚— and the more positive we are, the healthier we’ll end up being! So not only is it important to cultivate a positive body image while trying to lose weight, it’s also beneficial!
Loving Your Body During Your Weight-Loss Journey
Some key ways to practice body positivity while you’re trying to lose weight include: buying clothes that fit your body as it currently is (and not worrying about what “size” you fit into); cooking and eating nourishing, healthy meals so you feel energized; refusing to compare your looks or your body to others; and getting physical activity to increase your feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins.
Achieving the weight-loss goals you’ve set for yourself is entirely possible, and maintaining a positive frame of mind is a step in the right direction!