Radical body acceptance - movers, shakers, justice makers
It's Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and I've been reflecting on this quote, and the need for diversity, representation and radical body acceptance in healing from unhealthy self beliefs that we can hold about our bodies:
How true that the messages that we absorb about what is and isn't acceptable about our appearance are absorbed in our early lives; culturally, through our media, and through our early influencers, we learn what is most desirable and what image to pursue. We also learn, on some level, what the world thinks of those who don't meet those very narrow goals, and what the world will think of us if we fail to attain those narrow goals.
creating a new story
Change is possible; we can teach ourselves new messages about ourselves, and learn to talk to ourselves in a different way. Neuroplasticity! That's a fancy word for the understanding we now have about the brain, and how it is capable of change and adaption throughout our lives. No longer is the old adage 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' representative of what we know, based on science and explained through research - that we can learn new tricks, and create sizzling new pathways in our brain; we can connect the idea of our self, just as we are, with the notion that we are valuable and worthy of love and respect, just as we are.
Just like the lessons we learn in our childhood, we learn in our adulthood: through practice, and with support and guidance. Enter... social media. Often maligned, but sometimes an opportunity to 'find our place'.
diversify your media
Our media pursues a very narrow definition of health and appearance, and creating a new story can be difficult when our image and message input still validates an old way of thinking. So sometimes we have to seek out alternative sources of radical self love and acceptance; that is, that we don't need to change to finally accept ourselves - we can accept ourselves, with all our flaws and limitations, as well as our beauty and strength. The power of seeing your own body represented positively can be extremely healing.
Are you on Instagram? If so, you might already follow me at @concentriccounselling - my practice is based on inclusive, anti-oppressive practice, with a strong radical body acceptance, incorporating body and fat positivity. But what about the other accounts you follow? If you are only following accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, and (even unintentionally) perpetuate an unattainable body focus, maybe it's time to focus on a more diverse image selection. Do the accounts you follow look like *you*? Here's some more accounts that celebrate bodies of all shapes and sizes; take a look - it could be a relevation.
Do all your representations of movement and exercise feature slim, white women?! Let's mix it up with these accounts:
@nolatrees - a beautiful, considerate account that focuses the possibilities of larger bodies, yoga, and radical vulnerability ad
@jessamynstanley - creator of Everybody Yoga, pioneering body positive and fat positive yoga
@fatchancecoach - power lifting, capability, and redefining strength and ability in the gym.
When you think of style, do you only think about the bodies you see on catwalks and in models? There's an alternative:
@bethany_rutter - just released her first awesome book, depicting stylish Plus size women who embrace fashion without feeling limited by their size
@lvernon2000 - Muslim feminist intersecting hijab fashion with body positivity
@glitterandlazers - self affirmed 'sassy pants storyteller', working for awesomeness and style to be embraced at all sizes
@notoriouslydapper - men need representation too! Plus size male blogger and model, sharing his brand of style and acceptance.
There are so many wonderful people out there, working to challenge narrow definitions of health, image and body - I want to celebrate them:
@harri_rose_ - I love this body acceptance coach's affirmative Insta account focused on healing and recovery
@themilitantbaker - Jes Baker, author of 'Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls' and another book on the way - a fun account that challenges diet culture and gatekeeps for marginalised plus size bodies
@virgietovar - feminist focused on fat and challenging intersectional awareness and acceptance. Creator of #losehatenotweight.
and a couple of therapeutic voices
Across the world, there are great therapists working in an inclusive, body and fat positive way - get some of their informed and insightful messages onto your account to break up the images of lattes and avocado toast:
@bodyimage_therapist - I've had a couple of great online convos with this affirmative Australia-based therapist - her account focuses on Health At Every Size, intuitive eating, reducing fat stigma, and challenging diet culture
@laurathomasphd - no nonsense enlightenment from one of my favourite Instagram resources - this non-diet nutritionist also has a wonderful podcast, Don’t Salt My Game
@jennifer_rollin - great resources and messages from this Eating Disorder focused therapist pop up on my instafeed - empowering and enlightening.
@circlesofchange - again, great messages from this account, challenging the conversation about health, beauty and body image.
@with_this_body - bold and challenging content from this counsellor - her posts always give me an energy boost!
Some of these accounts are super challenging - challenging what we think and feel about 'good bodies'. But opening up our minds to the possibility that all bodies are good bodies, might allow you to consider that your body is a good body too.
What are your favourite accounts that promote self love, body positivity and radical self acceptance? Let me know in the comments!