Whether you're with friends or online, all the body talk recently has been body positive. That's fantastic, and we hope it never ends. It just gets tricky when, well... when you want to lose weight, get Beyonce's thighs, or otherwise change. How do you change the way you look and stay body positive about yourself -- and the people around you -- at the same time?
It's no easy question to answer, so we turned to Stacy Kaiser, Live Happy editor at large and licensed psychotherapist, for her sage words of body-positive wisdom. She says body positivity is about doing your best to accept and appreciate the body you have, while always working to be the best, attainable you.
"There is no person that thinks every physical part of themselves is perfect," Kaiser says. "It's about being okay with the fact that you're trying to be your best you and not trying to be a you that is impossible or out of reach."
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Even though it's normal, Kaiser says it's easy to fall into patterns of negative self-talk. Reframing the way you talk to yourself is key for approaching change in a healthy way.
"Spend time each day focusing on positive things," Kaiser recommends. "Then remove negative words from your vocabulary -- like 'fat,' 'ugly,' etc. -- and use more positive phrases like 'I'd prefer to lose a few pounds,' or 'I'd like to try to exercise more and eat healthier.'"
After changing the way you talk, Kaiser says you have to commit to "putting the bat down" and not beating yourself up over mistakes. Skip the gym every day this week? That's fine. No matter how much you go next week, it will be progress.
It's also important to realize that your ideal isn't the same as someone else's, just as someone else's ideal shouldn't be yours. If your goal is to go to the gym every day, that's great. If your best friend's goal is to never go to the gym again, that's great, too. Her body positivity is different than yours, and comparing them isn't helpful for anyone.
But if your goal is to see some sort of change, Kaiser says that on a day-to-day basis, complementing the physical parts of yourself that you love is key. On top of that, committing to healthy eating, exercising more, and taking care of your skin and hair will help keep you in a positive state of mind for change.
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While there's no one exercise or regimen that will help everyone, Kaiser says it's all about finding the one that's right for you.
"Find activities that make you happy -- it makes it easier to do them. People that force themselves to engage in a physical activity they don't like give up much sooner," she says.
Kaiser also emphasizes that wanting to change something about the way you look doesn't mean you don't love yourself -- it's all about creating a body in which you feel the most you.
"Loving your body is about appreciating the good parts of who you are, having reasonable expectations, and avoiding criticism and harsh judgments," she explains. "That doesn't mean you don't want to make an improvement here or there, or become your best you."
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