The statistics are staggering. According to a study conducted by Statistic Brain in February of this year, 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies. Only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by American media, and 80% of women say images of women in the media make them feel insecure.
Something has got to change. If I had the power I wish I possessed, I would demolish the media’s image of beauty and replace it with one that better reflects reality. Then, one by one, I would recalibrate every woman’s mind to see herself as perfectly imperfect in the most beautiful way possible.
Some brands, like Dove, have taken a stab at this movement. They’ve started “real beauty” campaigns that strive to empower women to feel beautiful exactly as they are. Aerie, a women’s lingerie, athletic wear, and loungewear sub-brand of American Eagle Outfitters, has launched a similar campaign, using the hashtag #AerieREAL alongside images of unretouched models and consumers (of all shapes and sizes) wearing their garments.
I applaud these companies and hope other organizations will soon follow suit in an effort to curb body-hatred. However, I do not anticipate seeing a complete 180° flip in our media’s habits as instantaneously as I would like. So, rather than moping and waiting for magically-bestowed powers to change the media and reset women’s self-perceptions, I’m going to provide tools to help us help ourselves. Read on for my favorite body positive quotes!
As a disclaimer – I am not a therapist, fitness trainer, nutritionist or certified lifestyle coach. I’m just a 24-year-old woman sharing her mantras for self-love.
3 Inspiring Body Positive Quotes
1. “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde
I love to eat healthfully and strive to consume a mostly plant-based diet with balanced quantities of major nutrient groups. With that being said, I love to indulge. Desserts are my weakness and certain fried foods are my kryptonite. I’ve always been this way – a lover of all things healthy and unhealthy.
When I was younger, I would give myself occasional permission to indulge and then feel immediate remorse and self-hatred upon swallowing the last bite. Now, I live by that Oscar Wilde quote, which has liberated me from the prison of my mind.
To me, this quote implies that I should take care of myself. I should strive to eat well to ensure my body gets the fuel and nutrients it needs to be my best self. However, if at the end of a long day I crave a sweet treat, I will allow myself to indulge with a small portion of ice cream, chocolate, blueberry pie, or whatever else I have at my fingertips. I am cognizant that it should not be an everyday thing because making indulgence a daily habit is what causes guilt and self-deprecation, so I aim to make it a two/three time per week occurrence (at most).
Take note – I said I will grant myself a small portion of an indulgent treat roughly two or three days per week. However, some days I throw caution to the wind and all-out indulge. Did someone say three-scoop hot fudge sundae? I’m all in. This is where the “including moderation” clause comes into play.
Moral of the story – take care of your body. Eat well and remember your body is your vessel for life. What you put in is what you get out, so make sure it’s mostly good. However, we are human. We will have cravings for things we know we shouldn’t eat. Fortunately, no one ever died from an occasional small (or large) indulgence. Treat yo self.
2. “Workout because you love your body, not because you hate it.”
What I’m about to say is nothing earth-shattering, and odds are you’ve read it hundreds, if not thousands of times prior to this, but I’m going to say it again anyway. Exercise is life-changing. Regardless of your goal – whether it’s to lose weight, build muscle, maintain your current physique, or something else – exercise is imperative. Studies have shown it will not only improve your physical fitness, but also your mental and emotional well-being.
If you think you hate exercise, it’s because you aren’t practicing the right form of exercise for your body, which means you are punishing it rather than celebrating it. Experiment with different options and find what makes you feel good, energized, strong and empowered. Maybe it’s running; maybe it’s dance; maybe it’s spinning; maybe it’s boxing; maybe it’s aerial fitness… who knows! But once you find what suits you, your body will grow to love and crave it! It will be something you look forward to rather than dread. And speaking of dread…
If you frequently find that you spend most of your day dreading an afternoon/evening workout, and your motivation to exercise typically vanishes by the time you clock out of work – reevaluate your schedule. I’m a runner and consider running one of my favorite hobbies. My body loves and craves it. My mood is always lifted by the sport. However, if I leave my daily run for the last part of my day, 75% of the time I find myself playing a mental tug-o-war. “Should I run or skip it for today?”
Leaving exercise for the end of the day makes it easy to eliminate. Last minute errands need to be accomplished, friends want to gather for Thursday night happy hour… and exercise no longer takes precedence. Here’s my suggestion (and I’ll acknowledge that this isn’t for everybody but…) consider waking up earlier and getting your workout over with before your day even starts.
Trust me when I say that my 5:15 am alarm is unpleasant more often than not. BUT, the satisfaction with which I start every day – knowing my workout is already complete – makes every early morning wake-up call worth repeating. PLUS, I never have to pass up after-work plans because of a pre-scheduled date with the treadmill!
Try an early morning workout for 21 days. (Supposedly that’s how long it takes to form a habit!) I think you’ll be surprised just how much you enjoy this routine, even if you aren’t a natural early bird.
3. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Comparison, although a natural human instinct, is one of the most destructive acts we can pose against ourselves. It leads to insecurity, jealousy, unrealistic expectations and skewed self-perceptions. Not only do we tend to compare our physical appearance to others, but we also compare our personality traits, life choices, career path, level of success and overall happiness.
It’s absolute madness, which I think we all know. We are different people. We make different choices. We have different experiences and upbringings that have shaped who we are. We have different likes and dislikes. We have different strengths, and we have different weaknesses.
With the ever-growing popularity of social media, comparison is robbing us of joy at increasingly younger ages. According to that same 2017 study by Statistic Brain, 42% of girls in 1st through 3rd grade want to be thinner. (These are children between the ages of six and nine!) As adult women, we need to stop comparing ourselves to others, and we need to help reduce the tendency among our young girls, too.
This is difficult to do. I live by that Teddy Roosevelt quote and often repeat it to my close friends and family. However, on a daily basis, I compare myself to others, and even past versions of myself!
Complete control of the mind is no easy feat; even the happiest, most confident people on Earth will have their negative thoughts. But what we can do is recognize and correct those negative thoughts. I make a constant effort to halt my mind when comparisons start running rampant.
“Wow, she has a great… [body/hair/teeth/eyes/bone structure/laugh/personality/etc.].”
I think to myself odds are, while I am admiring something about her, she is admiring something about me. It could even be something I feel insecure about! So, celebrate your internal and external splendor, and don’t waste time wondering what you’re “lacking.”
Those are my top three mantras for self-love. Now let’s hear your favorite body positive quotes!
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