Finding Body Positivity When You Don’t Feel Body Positive

Yesterday I posted a message in the Stellar Fit Fam private group page I host on Facebook. The page is a safe place to encourage one another in our health and fitness journeys, no matter where along that journey we may be. I always enjoy sharing articles, seeking encouragement and showing support for one another in this forum.

And yesterday the Fit Fam came to my rescue.

I shared with the members that the night before, during a discussion with my husband about how I was feeling post-pregnancy, that sometimes it can be easier to preach body positivity than to actually feel it for yourself.

I’ve been feeling down that my body can’t just bounce back to where it was before I got pregnant. While I was still overweight at that time, I had been working out consistently and eating more healthfully — I felt fairly strong and like I was heading in the right direction.

Now, however, I’m having a tough time just getting off the floor when I play with Penny on her play mat. If I’m really active several days in a row, my belly still gets sore, and I can’t walk as far as fast without feeling kinda out of breath.

It’s depressing.

But as I reminded the Fit Fam members yesterday, and I need to keep reminding myself over and over again, I need to show myself some grace. I’ve been pregnant for nine months. I worked out for six of those months, but nevertheless, pregnancy changes your body no matter how much you work out. Or so I’ve been told, and now I’m finding out. I also just had major surgery two months ago.

While logically I know these things have affected my body and I need to give myself time to build back up to where I used to be — and then work toward my new goals beyond that — sometimes it is hard to show myself that kindness. As a Fit Fam member commented, we can often show encouragement and kindness to friends that for some reason we can’t show to ourselves. As she brilliantly said, “When I started self-talking like I was coaching a friend, healing got a bit easier.”

Other members reminded me that I “created a whole new person” and it would take time to rebuild and reminded me not to move too quickly and cause damage to my body. All good points!

I suppose part of the reason I struggle when I’m not body positive is that it’s a huge part of who I am, what I want others to embrace and what I’ve built this blog — and my book — around. It can be difficult, as another member agreed, to not feel that positivity all the time while you’re espousing the benefits of such an attitude.

But here, again, is another place where I — where we — can show ourselves grace. We’re only human. We’re not going to be 100 percent on top of our game at all times. My blogging guru Javacia always reminds us of a quote by Soledad O’Brien in which she states that work-life balance doesn’t exist — sometimes she may be brilliant at work and not keeping it all together at home. And vice versa.

It’s the same with body positivity — we’re not always going to embrace that ideal fully for ourselves, even while we may believe in it and push others to find it. Just like sometimes we may be working steadily on our own health and fitness, and rocking a body positive attitude, while not necessarily having as much time for others.

It’s OK to be off-balance sometimes, and to not feel completely happy with yourself. As long as we remind ourselves to show ourselves some grace, even if it’s in little ways each and every day, that positivity will start to build, the negative voices will start to fade, and that confidence will come more easily along the way.

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