Firstly, there is no magic bullet solution to body acceptance, or even positivity. I struggled for many years with this issue and finally became at peace with my physicality by breaking down my needs and issues- I focused not on the body, but on the mind.

So many of you have heard it’s all about loving yourself warts and all, you know the phrase- love your body, but actually for me, I realized that was pressure in itself. A flippant phrase that didn’t resonate, sort of a band aid fix for people who don’t really get how hard it is to do just do that.  My goal has been a little less lofty but a revelation nonetheless- I’ve simply learned to be kind to it. There are days when I’m in neutral mode, some where I’m peachy but mostly I settle for a day where I can just go about my business and not have my body or appearance even cross my mind.

So how did I come to this place of peace? Well I checked myself. Literally and figuratively. Sure, I wanted a body change but what did that really mean and why? Was I looking to be thinner? Healthier? Get rid of just that little wobble here? Or was it beyond skin deep? Did I want acceptance- love?

I came to the realization that for me, it was the latter- my love language was words of affirmation. Because everyone praises weight loss and thin (but toned!) bodies like it’s the highest accomplishment you could ever achieve. Except it’s not.

So, I dug in deeper- I realized my definition of being in shape was looking like a sports illustrated cover girl (I’m slightly embarrassed acknowledging this as I’m supposed to be grown!) but instead of just wanting this, I broke it down.

 I looked at all the time effort and sacrifice it would take to get me there. I said it wasn’t an impossible feat- but one I would need to dedicate a life to. Was I willing to do what it takes - a really restrictive diet and making exercise a central focus at the expense of other important things. Yanno, like sleep. A social life?

I checked into my life, the things I cherish, friendships, family – love etc. and realized they were non negotiables. I wouldn’t ebb away those moments for gym time. So, I compromised, pushed back against my own sky- high physical aspirations and befriended accessibility in terms of goals instead.

Out went the fitness and wellness accounts making me feel like crap- I literally got that $hit out of my life and unfollowed. Sorry not sorry.

In came solid fitness advice not laced with diet culture.  Sites like Girl gone strong became my modus operandi and I started focusing on my habits. Was I getting enough sleep? Drinking enough water? Getting enough greens- these things made a massive difference for me versus counting my weight and body fat percentage.

Since I was taking better care of myself, my body naturally settled into a size and shape that was right for it and no, it did not mean rock hard abs and a peachy butt. We see snippets of other people’s lives where they seem to have their $hit together but ladies, it’s the highlight reel.  I’m still riding my own train but would say to anyone out there questioning themselves - start with some habits that will help you rack up some small wins.

 It’s not sustainable to gym it every day, mix in Pilates and learn how to make every food out of cauliflower! So, go slow, but go deep because in the end a  healthy body really DOES start with a healthy mind..