Imagine you’ve struggled accepting your body since you were old enough to realize that different body types exist. Imagine growing up with friends and family who were constantly on diets. Imagine constantly comparing yourself to others and deeming yourself not good enough. For most of us, there’s no imaging this scenario. We’re living it.
Chelsea Miller grew up with negative perceptions of her body just like a lot of us. But in her twenties, she took an interesting turn. She decided to become a plus-sized model and flag bearer for body positivity.
But don’t let the “plus-sized” label fool you. Chelsea isn’t about promoting a certain weight class. Her purpose is to challenge the obsession with appearance in today’s world. If she can get one young girl to shift some of her focus away from her appearance and onto bigger, better things, her efforts are worth it.
Think about all the time and emotional effort contributed to “looking good.” What if we took that focus and effort and put it towards studies, learning healthy choices, creative projects, or whatever other activity we enjoy? There is so much potential being lost to an obsession with body image. It’s not just a matter of health, it’s a matter of living life to its fullest potential.
Chelsea argues (and I agree) that girls are particularly susceptible to losing opportunities because of body image. Isn’t that a crazy, horrifying thought? It’s a problem that needs attention.
Here’s what you need to know about body positivity:
What is the body positivity movement?
It’s simple. Body positivity is about seeking health goals, not appearance goals, and accepting how that looks in your body. One person’s healthy is not going to look the same as another’s. There’s no room for comparison in this concept.
Who is affected by negative body image?
Everyone can be affected by negative body image! The body positivity movement is sometimes referred to as “The Big Girl Movement.” This is a misunderstanding of what body positivity is. Regardless of body weight, most people (women in particular) see themselves as physically imperfect, and worse, they view this as a significant problem. We all tend to pull a microscope out with a negative lens and focus on what could be better about our physical appearance.
How do we beat it?
“Fake it till you feel it.” Most of us have been saying awful things to ourselves since a young age. No matter how convinced we are that we want to change our mindset, we aren’t going to wake up one day and suddenly love everything about ourselves. You have to change the self-dialogue into a positive script that you say over and over again. Even on the days when you’re not feeling particularly self-loving, keep saying good things. As Chelsea mentioned, “If you tell yourself something enough times you’ll eventually believe it.” (That works both ways, so speak carefully!)
What about the haters?
There are people too engrained in misguided ideas about beauty to see that healthy is beautiful. There will always be someone who is out there to criticize. When you encounter this person, don’t hate, elevate. Chelsea has had a few negative comments on her Instagram account since she started posting body-positive content. In her view, meeting negativity with more negativity is just worsening the problem and potentially missing an opportunity to educate someone. So when she has a negative comment she simply replies that she’s “about lifting people up, not about tearing them down” and respectfully asks them to remove their comment. And it works—way better than adding a negative, snarky comment. After all, this movement is about positivity. Practice it even when someone tries to knock you down with their negative nonsense.
How does one get involved?
We’re so glad you asked! To join the positive body image movement just take a step back. We’ve all been guilty of criticizing our body and judging others. Although it may feel innocent, it’s damaging to think we have a right to judge anyone on their appearance. Step back from judgement, focus on health, and drop comparison. You’ll open your mind up to so many more useful activities and you might even find a little more joy in life. Body positivity is a movement where everyone wins. It’s time we all get on board.
If you’re looking for an entertaining and inspiring account on Instagram, follow Chelsea!