Dec 12, 2020

First Steps Towards Body Positivity

As you all know by now, Clarity Fitness is one of the very few explicitly “body positive” gyms in the country. We pride ourselves on our entire mission stemming from the idea that all bodies are good bodies (yes, INCLUDING yours), and we want to be here to help you find fun options of ways to move your body when it feels like moving. But body positivity is a journey: one that truly never ends, and also one that can be very difficult to start.

I (Sara) can speak a little bit more to how difficult it can be to start my body and mind and soul moving in the direction of body positive practices. Throughout high school and the beginning of college, I heard about “body positivity”, but I wasn’t on board in the slightest. I knew it was the trendy and “correct” thing to claim, but I was completely reluctant to engage with the actual rhetoric and ways to practice it within my own body. And guess what: that is okay. The staff at Clarity, and particularly Abbey our fearless leader, may be ten steps in front of you on your journey. But THAT IS OKAY. We are here for every step: from not knowing what body positivity even is, to feeling like you might want to start but not knowing how, to continuing to educate yourself even when you consider yourself an “expert”.

It can be pretty terrifying to try and start engaging with body positivity, and it can also feel like you will never be able to do everything right, to “catch up”, to be the perfect advocate. And guess what again? NONE of us are perfect advocates. None of us do everything right. None of us can claim to know everything, to practice every bit of what we preach every single day, to not have hard days, to not feel lost, to have started with all the knowledge. There’s no need to ever believe someone who claims to be “perfectly” body positive. And we hope this assuages some of the feelings of hesitancy that newer folks to the idea of body positivity have.

So: you’re new to body positivity. You don’t quite know how to really commit to it for yourself, especially with years of media consumption and consumer culture that has convinced you that bodies are meant to look a certain way. You come across Clarity, and like the mission, but don’t feel like you can be a part of it. YOU are the people we want to join our family the most. So we’ve put together a little list of different small steps that one can take at the very beginning of their body positive journey, to begin to feel more comfortable and open to the ideas.

  1. Do some research, and begin to read about the ideas of body positivity. You can check out our Origins of Body Positivity blog post, The Body Positive website, etc.  See if there are vocabulary words you are unfamiliar with, or ideas that resonate with you. Write them down. See if there are things that don’t resonate with you. Write those down too!! Work through the new territory, find voices and approaches that resonate uniquely with you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  2. Make sure to remind yourself that there is no such thing as “perfect” body positivity. We all have to start somewhere, and there is zero pressure to start anywhere but where you are. The wonderful thing about the body positive movement is that it is willing to meet you where you are; it’s the whole point of the movement after all! It’s okay to ask “dumb” questions (there are no such thing), it’s okay to still be uncomfortable with your body, it’s okay to feel like you could never “love” it the way that all of these body positive people are preaching. I guarantee you we all felt that way, and we all want to be there for you as you sit in those hard feelings. We at Clarity want to be a resource and a loving, guiding hand, no matter where you are and what you think about yourself and others.
  3. Surround yourself (or just follow a ton of people - we get it, they’re not always easy to find) who emulate the relationship with their own bodies and body positivity that you’d like to have yourself. When you’re starting out, you’re going to have doubts. We all did! It’s a complete contrast to the diet and weight loss industries that we all know so well! What makes those doubts even louder is being around people who have louder, angrier, and more passionate doubts about body positivity. If body positivity resonates with you, you need to find people who boost that mindset and support you on your wellness journey, especially in the beginning.
  4. When you feel like some tidbits have resonated, teach others the messages that brought some peace to your life. To really engrain it for yourself, talk to someone else who might be beating themselves up about their body, fitness, or food choices. See if you can help them see themselves with a bit more compassion! Spreading the word to the world not only helps this movement grow, but it will really lock things in for you too.
  5. You are not alone. Even when it feels like no one understands, and no one who claims to “understand” wants to help, you are not alone. Unlearning a lifetime of body hatred, body negativity, body dysmorphia: it’s scary, and it can be isolating. So Clarity is here to remind you that you are not alone. We are here to help you move in ways that feel good, but also to create community with people who are life-long learners and growers.

It can be SO intimidating to start a journey towards a body positive mindset in life. The key is always to find folks and community that can meet you where you are, pick you up when you are down, cheer you on, and learn alongside you. Clarity is here. This is why we exist, and we want you, at every step of your journey, to feel supported, loved, and valid.

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