How to Stay Body Positive in a Body Negative World

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Lengthy earlier than Megan Jayne Crabbe turned a physique positivity advocate, author, and social media sensation with over 1.3 million followers, she was a teenage woman with anorexia. However even after Crabbe recovered from the lethal illness usually marked by restrictive consuming, intense worry of weight acquire, and distorted physique picture, she struggled with self-acceptance.

When Crabbe found body positivity, it modified her world view. Being physique optimistic facilities on seeing all our bodies as inherently “good” and recognizing that each particular person deserves love and self-confidence no matter societal magnificence requirements.


“Earlier than studying about physique positivity, I had total friendships that have been constructed on food regimen tradition and shared physique hatred!” says Crabbe, who lives in Essex, U.Okay. and was previously identified on the web as BodyPosiPanda. “Fortunately, most of my associates acquired on board with physique acceptance fairly shortly as a result of they might see how a lot happier I used to be in myself.”

Crabbe’s expertise and her choice to prioritize her personal well being and happiness over a number of associates’ ingrained beliefs begs the query: What do you do once you’re physique positivity and the individuals round you aren’t? And what are you able to do to take care of your personal bodily and psychological well-being in a world that so usually nonetheless reinforces — and generally even celebrates — disordered physique beliefs?

The right way to Stand Your Floor in Physique Positivity

As a result of food regimen tradition and physique negativity are so frequent, it may possibly really feel inconceivable to flee the echoes of fatphobic discuss, self-deprecation, and judgmental critiques of others’ our bodies. However slightly preparation and planning may very well assist spare your psychological well being and forestall you from falling sufferer to poisonous subjects of dialog.

“The most effective technique is having a method — severely,” says Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Alyssa Mass, MFT. “When you have a wholesome physique picture, then please do not internalize different individuals’s not so wholesome ones. This isn’t a membership you need to belong to and in the event you’ve stayed out this lengthy, good for you!”

Many people have been conditioned to have interaction in destructive self-talk. Consider the scene within the film Imply Women wherein associates bond over statements like “My hips are large,” “I hate my calves,” and “My nail beds suck!” However Mass says it’s potential to be a compassionate pal whereas defending your personal peace.



“The easiest way to not get into this dialog is by doing simply that: not moving into it,” Mass says. “You’ll be able to hearken to your folks and be empathetic to their struggles with out mimicking them.”

“In case your pal was depressed and telling you every little thing that was incorrect along with her life, would you suppose those self same issues about yours? Most likely not. If that you must change the dialog, do it. If that you must go away the room, or placed on headphones, do it. Hunt down conversations you do need to be part of. Essentially the most you possibly can say to a pal is, ‘I hear you, regardless that I do not agree with you. Is there one thing else we are able to do or speak about that might shift this vitality?’”

Sideline Unfavourable Physique Discuss

For Crabbe, staying centered on her personal physique positivity targets meant setting strict boundaries with those that weren’t as invested within the journey for themselves.

“There’s nothing incorrect with gently saying, ‘I am attempting actually onerous to construct a extra optimistic relationship with my physique and meals, and conversations about calorie counting or wanting to alter our our bodies can put me in a troublesome headspace. Do you thoughts if we put these conversations to the facet? I would a lot moderately hear about xyz!’” she says.

“If that particular person has any regard to your well-being, they are going to respect a easy and clear boundary. In the event that they proceed to not, you then’re allowed to distance your self from that relationship bodily and emotionally.”

Construct Your Really feel-Good Wardrobe – Now

To bolster your personal physique positivity, curate a wardrobe that encourages bodily consolation.

Doing that may be a significantly highly effective option to preserve a dedication to physique positivity, it doesn’t matter what sort of messages are coming in from these round you, says Amanda White, creator and apply director and therapist at Remedy for Ladies Middle in Philadelphia.

“A useful technique is to begin dressing and caring to your physique as it’s proper now,” White says. “So many people spend a lot time not shopping for or sporting garments we like or really feel good in as a result of we’re ready to alter first. As a substitute, ask your self, ‘If I knew my physique wasn’t going to alter, what would I do in another way? What would I put on, what would I do? How would I handle myself?’”

Set Up a Protected Zone

Crabbe additionally suggests making a constant protected area freed from pervasive destructive physique discuss. This haven might assist steadiness and even cancel out any triggering or upsetting feedback. And it doesn’t should be a bodily area.

“Be sure you have a physique optimistic refuge to return to after doubtlessly damaging conversations — social media feeds full of empowering voices, books you possibly can flip to for the information, podcasts to hearken to and even simply TV exhibits that present precise variety,” Crabbe says. “If the food regimen tradition voices will not go away fully, work on drowning them out.”

Detox Your Social Media

As a result of so many people spend a lot time on social media, platforms like Instagram, Fb, TikTok, and extra can have a profound influence on how we see ourselves. In reality, analysis has proven that social media use is persistently linked to having a destructive physique picture and that, that hyperlink might strengthen over time.

However you possibly can flip that round by selecting what sort of content material you interact with. Research have additionally demonstrated psychological advantages to partaking with body-positive content material on these identical platforms.

“We’re all of the curators of our personal social media,” Mass says. “You curate what you set out into the social media stratosphere. So curate what you soak up simply as rigorously. Make your social bubble give you the results you want. The unfollow button is your pal. If somebody’s account is negatively impacting [you], unfollow or, on the very least, mute.” 

Crabbe says that “unfollow” possibility is a key software in curating a more healthy social media feed. “For me, that regarded like unfollowing the celebrities who’re identified for being impossibly stunning, unfollowing the influencers who promote food regimen merchandise. The individuals you comply with ought to make you are feeling empowered, impressed, challenged in a wholesome method, and fewer alone. In any other case, what are you even there for?”

Search Completely different Voices

White additionally encourages individuals to hunt out new and numerous voices in social media areas who might assist dismantle a few of the physique negativity that’s so current in mainstream tradition.

“Comply with individuals of all completely different physique sorts, sizes, and skills,” White says. “Unfollow individuals or manufacturers that negatively influence how you are feeling about your self or who push diets or weight reduction.”

To hunt out supportive, empowering voices, Mass suggests researching sure hashtags on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Chances are you’ll uncover like-minded individuals with comparable targets and values.

“Following #bodypositive is a simple begin however, have enjoyable with it,” she says. “Go exterior your consolation zone and discover some accounts with messages that echo how you would like you spoke to your self. Let these be the voices you learn/hear/digest.”

It’s a Course of

It took some individuals in Crabbe’s life extra time to come back round to the idea of physique positivity and problem “their very own internalized fatphobia and reluctance to let go of the wonder customary,” Crabbe says. And different associates “have had a more durable time letting go of the cultural messages they’ve heard their entire lives conflating weight with price,” Crabbe says.

“I solely have a few associates who’re nonetheless actively invested in food regimen tradition. However we each acknowledge a boundary is important in our conversations on the subject of destructive food regimen and physique discuss,” she says. “In the end, once I determined to dedicate myself to physique acceptance, I knew in my coronary heart that I used to be keen to lose individuals if obligatory. As a result of any associates I had who weren’t rooting for my therapeutic and happiness inside myself most likely weren’t the chums I ought to have anyway.”

As Crabbe has continued on her personal journey of physique positivity, she’s discovered many classes about staying true to her personal ideas each as a job mannequin and as a human being dedicated to her personal self-love evolution.

For these struggling to seek out their very own voice in a society that’s so usually flooded with dangerous physique picture beliefs and messages, she gives some phrases of encouragement.

“You are on the correct group,” Crabbe says. “The remainder of them will catch up ultimately.”


Picture Credit score:

Luis Alvarez / Getty Photos


Alyssa Mass, marriage and household therapist, San Diego, CA.

Amanda E. White, creator; apply director; therapist, Remedy for Ladies Middle, Philadelphia.

Present Opinion in Psychology: “Social Media and Physique Picture Considerations: Present Analysis and Future Instructions.”

Journal of Well being Psychology: “The case for physique positivity on social media: Views on present advances and future instructions.”

Megan Jayne Crabbe, creator; physique positivity advocate, United Kingdom.

Nationwide Consuming Dysfunction Affiliation (NEDA).

© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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