So after a lengthy twitter feud debate, it appears that some people don’t understand how you can be body positive, inclusive and accepting, AND be a fitness blogger. Contrary to popular belief, being body positive and being passionate about fitness are not mutually exclusive. You can love […]
TW: anxiety, panic attacks. As it’s mental health awareness month, I wanted to write about a topic that I am very familiar with; my old buddy anxiety. I’ve suffered from generalised anxiety disorder for most of my teenage and adult life. I take medication to […]
The body positive movement aims to end the negative relationship we have with our appearance and accept ourselves for who we are naturally. It is inclusive of everyone, no matter how you look you deserve to be loved and to love yourself.
Body positivity isn’t just about weight, it’s about feeling good in the body you are in. It’s about focusing on yourself as a whole and challenging society’s perceptions of beauty. You are worth more than how you look.
It’s not apologising for having a double chin in a photo. It’s not worrying about how your cellulite looks in natural light. It’s enjoying what your body can do for you, instead of chastising it for not looking a certain way.
Body positivity and me
Body positivity is a relatively new concept for me, having only learned about it over the last 18 months. After years and years of self-hatred and insecurities, the idea of loving my body unconditionally seems like both a breath of fresh air and a rope to hang myself with.
Many of us have been conditioned from an early age to believe that we need to be smaller, symmetrical, perfect versions of ourselves. If we only squeezed into a smaller size our lives would be better. This is not true, and the only reason we are subjected to this kind of thinking is because companies want to make us spend money on products we don’t need and they need to keep feeding our insecure to get us to splash out. As an intelligent woman, I know this is true, but after 25 years of body shaming myself, it’s difficult to kick the habit.
Being body positive can be more challenging than you might think. As with most things, there is a steep learning curve. I have many days where I stare at my reflection in the mirror and tell myself I am fat, ugly or disgusting. Irrational thoughts consume my mind, ‘What if I gain loads of weight and no one likes me anymore?’, ‘I can’t wear that because my legs are too fat’ ‘My nose is so big and ugly’ etc. The fact that I have these thoughts is evidence enough that I need to embrace body positivity and self-love.
Fitness and body positivity?
Some people reading this might be thinking I’m being hypocritical because this is a fitness blog after all.
I hold my hands up and say in the past I was not being body positive, through a lack of education and knowledge. Once you open your eyes to how much body shaming is around it’s quite shocking. Even this year when I decided to embrace the body positive movement I still had a lot of setbacks. In my Grace Fit Guide posts I get carried away with how my body is responding to the guide looks wise and began to feel very critical of myself once again.
I would love to be in a place where I feel 100% happy with my appearance, not because I have achieved unrealistic beauty standards, but because I love and accept myself the way that I am. My goal is to stand naked in front of a mirror and honestly say that I don’t care how my body looks and that I am just so grateful to have it. You can be body positive and into fitness and health, it’s a celebration of what your body can do after all.
Our society is becoming more image obsessed by the day and humans are already hard wired to respond to images. Self-hatred is accelerating; depression and eating disorders are increasing and it’s only going to get worse unless we teach each other to think differently. Nowadays, people are celebrated purely for their looks, while intelligent, funny, kind, courageous and artistic people are valued less.
Thanks for reading this. If you’re interested in more body positive posts my friend Vicky wrote a really interesting guest post for me which you can find here or you can visit her blog which is body positive.
My passion for running has ignited once again. It must be a combination of the lighter evenings, the slightly warmer temperatures and my resentment of crowded gyms, as people pile in to try and obtain a ‘summer body’ (FYI, your body is always ready for […]
I’m what I like to call a ‘pick n mix’ exerciser; some days I go running and others I’m firmly planted in the weights area.
Did you know that the type of trainers you wear affects your performance in the gym? Different trainers are designed to suit specific types of training. This seems straight forward enough, but when you do a variety of styles of training it can be difficult to find a trainer that will support you for a variety of exercises.
Big news: I tried some new protein bars and actually enjoyed them… Sometimes I think I must be a bad fitness blogger because I hate the taste of protein and I almost never drink protein shakes. The thought of drinking a protein shake with water […]
A few weeks ago, I was invited to try out indoor rock climbing at the Rock Over Climbing Centre in Manchester. I was really excited to try rock climbing because it’s an amazing strength and cardio workout that utilises so many different muscle groups and […]
Wooohooo I’ve completed the first phase of GraceFit Guide workouts!
In my last post, I mentioned that I had lost my mojo and had given up with the guide for the week. I would love to say that I’m a completely changed woman and all I needed was a break from it for a week but that’s not strictly true. However, from doing week 5 I have noticed significant progress and that has motivated me to keep going.
Before I jump into the differences in the new guide I want to highlight some things I’ve noticed from doing phase one.
I am stronger – this may not seem like a lot to some people, but I used to only manage to do arm weights using 3kg dumb bells; I can now use 7kg or even 8kg dumbbells! When I started the Gracefit guide, I was leg pressing 50kg both legs and now I am pressing 90kg both legs and single legs has gone from 20kg to 50kg! I am really proud of myself for getting stronger.
My balance and co-ordination has improved – I didn’t realise this would change, but by incorporating moves like single leg lunges and step ups I have improved my balance and co-ordination. I used to wobble all over the place and now I can keep myself balanced. I have also strengthened my core which helps with stability.
I’ve gained weight– I have technically gained a few pounds, but I feel a lot leaner in myself and my clothes are loser so I must be losing fat and gaining muscle.
I’ve fallen in love with HIIT again – On an upper body day, I add in 10 minutes of treadmill sprints and then 10 minutes of incline walking. And on lower body days I do one or the other because my legs are just too tired afterwards. I feel like this has really helped me to get a bit leaner and has made me realise how fun HIIT can be in small doses.
I still need to replace my resistance band – As some lovely person stole my brand new RB, I’ve been doing the exercises without one which I’m sure defeats the point as some of them are specific RB exercises. I need to order another band but I keep forgetting!
What’s different in the new phase?
The workouts are more challenging and contain many new exercises which I haven’t tried before. The rep range is relatively the same and it doesn’t include suggested weights weight (what a mouthful) but you are meant to build upon this from the last phase. I had stopped getting as sore after doing the phase one leg workout, but after completing the phase two leg day I could barely walk down the stairs on the same day, let alone the next couple of days, so it must be a lot more challenging.
Learning new exercises is challenging and I do feel like I’ve gone back to square one in terms of my confidence, simply because I had gotten used to following a set routine. I’m still not sure if I’m performing all the exercises in the new phase and using the equipment correctly but I guess that will happen in time. As this is my first week I have been substituting some of the new exercises for older ones that I’m familiar with while I get my bearings.
I’ve only just learnt about the Aflete app, even though loads of the girls in the Facebook group have been using it from the beginning of the guide. It’s a smartphone app that’s free to download (and use if you have purchased the GraceFit Guide) and it automatically loads the Guide and tracks your progress. It allows you to log how much weight you’ve done and any notes on the exercises so it’s useful to review progress. If you’re just starting the guide I would recommend downloading Aflete, however, if like me, you’ll be missing a whole month it might not be as valuable to you. You can find it here.
The better you feel at the gym, the harder you work…right? Since I’ve switched to lifting, I’ve had more opportunity to wear nice gym clothes that don’t get ruined by cardio sweat. I’ve said goodbye to my baggy tees and upgraded on the active wear front. (Read […]