The past few years, I started noticing an unfortunate trend in my new year’s resolutions: They were all steeped in negativity. “I’m going to lose weight” (because I’m too big). “I’m going to stop eating after 7 p.m.” (because I need to lose weight). “I’m going to hit the gym more” (same-old, same-old). What I’ve basically been saying is: “My body sucks.”
So, although focusing on my health is undoubtedly a huge priority for me, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way I’m going to reach my goals is if I possess a positive body image. For the New Year, that means out with the negative resolutions and in with the encouraging and uplifting ones.
I’m going to hit the gym because I love my body — not because I hate it.
Okay, so my thighs touch, and the backs of my arms jiggle — but my body is still an amazing instrument that I literally couldn’t live without. So, instead of spending 20 minutes on the inner-thigh machine trying to shrink myself, I’m going to spend that time making my thick thighs stronger, so they can hold me up well into my old age. And, the next time I lose grip on my cell phone and it falls into my lap, I’ll be thankful for the non-existent thigh gap that did not let that phone crash to the ground.
Related: How to Get Fit with Bad Knees
If I like it, I’m going to wear it.
I spent all of high school following fashion rules that I didn’t believe in. Spoiler alert: Our bodies don’t change when we wear all black. In my opinion, plus-size girls are subject to random fashion “rules” because people want us to hide our bodies. If you’re not a perfect size 4 or 6, you’re not supposed to wear this or that.
Yeah, no. I’m not going to conform to someone else’s subjective opinion on what I should and should not wear. I’ve learned to bare my arms and show off my legs, and I think this year I want to try crop tops and horizontal stripes. Each time I’ve let a part of my body show, I’ve felt empowered, liberated, and beautiful — so why stop now?
I’m going to move it, move it.
There is something amazing that happens when I move my body. Long walks on the weekend, an evening swim, or even my one-song workout videos have the power to change my mood. I need to not forget how much I love that, because the more I keep myself in a positive head space, the more I look at everything (including my body) with positivity.
I’m going to buy cute pajamas.
I wear cute pajamas to bed, even when I’m sleeping alone. This is because my relationship status doesn’t change my value — so the way I treat myself when I’m alone should be no different than how I treat myself when I’m in a relationship. If putting on nice pajamas before bed makes me feel good and happy about my body, it’s worth doing.
It’s easy to work out because people say you should, wear the clothes that people say you should, and judge your body the way people say you should. It’s less easy to embrace a positive body image — but I’m going to make it happen. This year, I propose that you do the same. Instead of saying you’re “not going to buy that dress until you lose 10 pounds” or that you’re “going to do as many sit-ups as it takes to get a flat stomach,” take some fashion risks, find a class at the gym that you love, practice moderation in your food choices, and be happy with how you look right now. It doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement — I’ll never stop challenging myself — but it means finding peace and contentment with who we are and who we’re becoming.