This week I watched the latest episode of Arrow while eating a piece of red velvet cheesecake. The cheesecake was amazing, by the way, but one feeling kept nagging at me: the wish that my body looked as muscular and toned as the Black Canary.
I do realize that as soon as thoughts like these come to mind, I need to force them out. I should be thankful that my body is healthy no matter its appearance. But insecurities will never be banished from my mind completely; sometimes they creep in at the weirdest times.
Body positivity is crucial in gaining self-acceptance and overall confidence. Every individual on this planet has the right to look beautiful and be confident in who they are.
Internet trolls making obscene comments about weight should recognize one thing: no one can judge someone’s health status by their size. Yes, obesity is a risk factor for developing heart disease. However, the flawed system called the Body Mass Index (BMI) dictates “obesity.” The BMI scale measures height in meters and weight in kilograms. This formula doesn’t determine how much weight is attributed to muscle mass or bone structure in general. How can we determine obesity or health status based on a system that’s not even accurate? Typically I’m borderline—between normal and overweight—because of my muscle mass and my lovely hips. But I won’t let this determine my self-worth. I love my muscles and hips.
When I was an awkward teenager in high school, my body image and self-esteem were at an all-time low. I thought that because I didn’t have a thin stomach without any fat whatsoever I wasn’t worth anything. I didn’t think I was smart or beautiful. As I discovered weight lifting and delved into my geeky fandoms, however, my confidence blossomed. I wish I could tell my younger self that I was smart and beautiful. If and when I become a personal trainer, I want to emphasize the importance of body positivity and acceptance. Yes, I want to help others achieve their goals. But I also want to put clients in a better mood. There’s so much more to exercise than weight loss.
The secret to body positivity truly resides in the inner self. I write awesome compliments to myself on my mirror in neon-colored sticky notes so that I can’t miss seeing them. That way, when I look in the mirror every morning, I see positivity instead of negative thinking. If I’m having a bad day, I put on one of my favorite outfits (which includes my bright red jeans and my Spiderman t-shirt). It helps me tackle the day, and gives me a needed surge of confidence.
The next time you’re thinking of commenting on a person’s weight or size, ask yourself: Do you know their cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglyceride levels? Do you know their blood pressure? If not, keep what you’re going to say to yourself. It’s impossible to judge someone’s health status based on their looks.
I preach body positivity. I use compliments rather than insults. As a hopeful health enthusiast, I want to bring people up—not tear them down.