When I first started getting into body positivity, I felt intimidated.
I loved it in theory — who doesn’t want to validate and love the hell out of themselves? But I knew it would take a long, long time before I could ever embrace myself the way that I was being encouraged to.
Love this body? Seriously? Um, that’s going to take a hot minute, y’all.
What I didn’t know at the time is that body positivity isn’t just an endpoint of ultimate body love or self-appreciation.
It’s a practice that we can incorporate into our lives to boost our body confidence and show ourselves a little love at any time.
Yes, even right now!
And as someone who’s a pretty big fan of instant gratification, that, my friends, is a movement that I can get behind.
Not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place! Here’s a list of 15+ body positive things you can do right now.
1. Check Out Some Fat Babes
It’s time for a change of scenery! Nah, I don’t mean literally get up and make a cross-country move. I’m talking about your homepage, your desktop, your phone background. Yeah, that view.
For the longest time, I had a generic news site as my homepage, and every time I opened up my browser, I was bombarded with fat-stigmatizing headlines and body negative photos. Eventually, I realized it was time to change my view – and since then, I haven’t looked back.
Nowadays, I make sure that the images I’m exposed to every time I turn on my technology are images that aren’t just neutral or negative.
I make sure I’m looking at fat babes and diverse bodies whenever I plug in!
Choose body positive sites and blogs as your homepage, and search the ‘net for beautiful and diverse bodies to decorate your screens with.
Tumblr is a great place to start; there’s tons of amazing artwork that you can use to give your technology a fabulous, body positive makeover.
2. Touch Yourself (Seriously)
So masturbating is kind of a great idea if that’s what you’re into (and it’s cool if it’s not). Making yourself feel pleasurable and engaging positively with your body can be a great step towards body positivity! If you’re down, I say go for it!
If I’m not feeling sexy at the moment, sometimes I like to listen to Mary Lambert’s “I Know Girls (Body Love)“ and just lay around in my undies, finally seeing my body with all its stretch marks, rolls, and lumps.
I’ll caress my own skin and, like Mary says in the poem, I “take my hands over my bumpy love body naked” and get comfortable.
The poem is very intense (references to self-harm and abuse, for example, so proceed with caution). I usually cry (a lot), but it always feels so cathartic (thank you, Mary, I love you!).
Listen to some music and get acquainted with your body, whether it’s sexual or not. Sometimes the first step towards loving your body is just getting to know it.
(And if it’s too scary and you can’t get through it, that’s okay, too. No judgment.)
3. Post Body-Positive Affirmations on Your Mirror
Get some paper and some tape or, better yet, colorful sticky notes. Get glitter, too. Stickers. Anything cute. Write yourself some affirmations and go put them on your mirror – they’ll counteract the stream of negativity you might be feeling when you look in the mirror.
Write affirmations that are specific to what you’re struggling with.
These are some of mine:
- Oh Look! A Badass!
- You Are Enough!
- Beauty Ideals Are Shitty Made Up Constructs, Remember? Also, You’re Amazing.
- No Number Can Contain Your Fierceness!
Write the words that you need on your bad days, and keep them somewhere you’ll see them.
4. Find Positive Representations of Your Fears
Since taking a medication that changed up my body chemistry, I started gaining weight quickly and unexpectedly. And because of that, one of my big challenges is getting comfortable with my newly acquired belly.
My belly is round and it’s out there and it ain’t going anywhere, that’s for sure.
I never thought I could get comfortable with this aspect of my body until a post at The Militant Baker literally changed my life.
Seeing pictures of other exquisite humans with visible bellies, hanging out and looking fierce, made me cry the happiest tears ever. Moreover, reading the comments and realizing other folks were fighting this fight with me made me feel so many warm fuzzies!
If you’re struggling, it’s a good time to find positive representations of bodies like yours!
Seek out social media filled with happy babes embodying what you fear most. Start to build the association that happiness can also exist alongside whatever you’re afraid of.
It may take time, but sometimes seeing other folks battling our same battles, and doing it with such grace and joy, can be exactly what we need.
5. Shake It Off
Step one: Put on your power jam.
It’s that song, the one that makes you feel like you can take on the damn world. Yes, turn it up, even if it’s embarrassing.
Step two: Sing passionately and loudly and unapologetically.
Dance (or just move!) however your body feels like grooving.
Bonus points if you strip down to your underwear because there’s no shame in your body positive game!
Step three: Feel the amazing rush that comes with finally letting go. Marvel at all the happy feelings your body can contain.
6. Scream into Your Pillow
Because sometimes it’s just a bad day, and that’s okay.
Cry your heart out. Scream into your pillow until you can’t anymore. Lie on your floor and pout if that’s what you need to do.
You’re not a bad feminist if you’re not okay. And you don’t have to pretend that everything’s okay. Because guess what. Sometimes it’s not.
Being vulnerable is absolutely body positive – when we admit that we’re struggling, it’s the first step in figuring out how we’re going to get to a better place in our lives.
Give yourself the space you need to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.
7. Unsubscribe From That Magazine
Sometimes I found myself coming home with shitty magazines from the drugstore. I was always so tempted, because hey, I wanted to read that one article, or I’d duped myself into thinking what the Olsen twins were doing was still relevant to my life.
Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve had a subscription for such a long time that it seemed like you might as well keep reading.
But ask yourself – seriously reflect on this – is the media I’m consuming helping or harming my self-esteem?
I want to suggest that you dump the tabloids, ditch the so-called “fashion” magazines, and run far away from those body-shaming fitness magazines. Instead, think about some alternative reading material.
If you’re looking for a body-positive fitness magazine, check out MsFit (it’s online, but trust me, you’ll thank me later). And for all your other feminist, body positive needs, check out this great list of magazines that you’re sure to enjoy.
8. Get Some Sunshine
Get outside if you’re able to.
If you’re feeling lousy, it might be a good time to get outdoors and get some sun. I know that when I’m starting to feel disconnected from my body, it helps to take a walk and unplug from social media.
If you’re not able, try opening up some windows and hanging out barefoot. Get away from your Facebook for a while and just be present. Let some light in. It’s kind of a way of pressing your body’s restart button.
There’s no better way to honor your body than to give it some vitamin D and some room to breathe!
9. Bathe with Your Bare Hands
I first got this idea from Margaret and since then, I’ve become a big believer in getting acquainted with my skin once in a while.
I’m not suggesting that you should do this every time. Sometimes, as a transgender person, I’m too dysphoric to even try. But I am saying that once in a while, we should try ditching our washcloths, our loofahs, and the barriers between our hands and our skin and just lather up.
Sometimes these barriers are just another means of disconnecting from our bodies and not engaging.
In the process, this can reinforce the anxieties we have about ourselves and about other people touching us, too.
But it can be really empowering to nurture and wash our bodies in a setting that is safe and familiar. And I believe that reconnecting with our bodies can begin just by knowing our own skin.
10. Cook a New Recipe (And Fall in Love with Food Again)
As someone with a history of disordered eating, trying to get myself to love food again has been an uphill battle. Food is scary for many of us. And while we won’t fall in love with food again overnight, we can definitely begin a gentle courtship, no?
One way that I get myself to move past the fear of food is to cook a new recipe or try a new food. I find something delicious for me to fall for.
The excitement of trying something new often masks some of the fear I have of eating.
It especially helps if it’s an entirely new kind of cuisine – that way, I don’t have the old associations that bog me down. Bonus points if I don’t use the words “good,” “bad,” “should,” or “shouldn’t” the whole evening.
While this won’t work for everyone in recovery, it can be helpful for those of us who are just getting our feet wet again. Try something new, and let yourself enjoy it.
11. Write a Love Letter to Yourself
This sounds cheesy, but I’m serious. Sometimes it’s good to take some time to reflect on the things we do feel positively about. Create an intentional space – light some candles, dim the lights – and get cozy for this.
Take some time to reflect on who you are and what aspects of “You” are important and wonderful.
Don’t be afraid to get sappy. Woo yourself. Worship yourself. Don’t hold back. What are your favorite things about yourself? About your personality? About your body?
12. Wear Your Favorite Outfit and Take Hella Selfies
Seriously, nothing makes me feel hotter and more in love with myself than putting on the outfit that makes me feel best and taking selfies. I put some fly filters on that shit and drown Instagram in my glory.
Sorry ‘bout it? Nope.
Do. Not. Apologize. You are allowed to feel good about yourself. You are allowed to celebrate how good you look, too.
And if folks don’t like it, they’re welcome to unfollow (but seriously, they probably won’t – ‘cause you look good, remember?).
13. Start a Video Diary
Create a private space to talk about your body acceptance journey.
Sometimes just venting, even if it’s to your own webcam or a journal, can make a huge difference. You deserve a safe space to explore your feelings and vent on your bad days (and yes, we all have those days).
Don’t filter yourself or script anything. Just turn on the camera and start talking.
For me, just getting things off my chest and explaining what I’ve been grappling with is a huge relief.
And of course, on my better days, I can look back and know that the shitty days are only temporary.
14. Lounge Around in Your Cutest Undies
Sexiest lingerie, cutest briefs, hottest boxers, whatever makes you feel good – put ‘em on and take the evening to lounge. Bask in your own beauty while you watch your favorite feel-good flick on Netflix.
If it’s working for you, why stop there? Take a few pics and send them to your sweetie if that floats your boat. Put on your power pose and admire that unstoppable beast in the mirror. Enjoy your (nearly) naked body. It’s all yours.
15. Take Yourself on a F*cking Date
Take yourself to a movie. Veg out on the couch with your favorite takeout. Go to a beautiful park or a fancy restaurant. Treat yourself like a babe that you’re trying to woo – because you are worthy of romance, all the bells and whistles you’d pull out for anybody else.
When I’m feeling particularly bummed, I like to dress up, get myself a milkshake (the kind from a diner where it comes in a milkshake glass with a straw), and hang out in my favorite part of the city. I take in the lights and the trees and the strangers.
I give myself the kind of dreamy evening that I deserve.
Because we all deserve to be treated, right?
So repeat after me: I’m worthy. I’m worthy. I’m worthy.
16. Plan Your Next Body Modification
If this is your thing, it could give you just the boost you were looking for. Plan out your next tattoo. Dream up your next piercing. Picture your next hairstyle or color.
Nothing makes me feel better that picturing what my half-sleeve will look like – leafy branch, reaching towards my collar bone? What colors, what style, what artist?
Tumblr and Pinterest are great places to start if you’re looking for ideas. Why not? A little daydreaming never hurt anybody.
Sometimes body modifications are a powerful way of reclaiming our bodies and making us fall in love all over again.
17. Join a Body Positive Book Club
The Militant Baker started a fabulous book club where you not only get book recommendations, but also a great community to discuss these books with! Check it out here.
You could also start your own book club or find one on social media. And in the day and age of e-books, there’s no need to wait – you can literally start right now.
18. Reignite Your Passion for Fashion
For the chunkier and curvier cuties in the house, sometimes we can feel dejected about fashion. More often than not, the images and clothes that we see aren’t made with us in mind.
But the Internet has an abundance of chic fat folks that will make you fall in love with fashion all over again.
You can find some stylish vloggers on YouTube, some stunning body pos men on Instagram, a list of style bloggers over at BuzzFeed, and Bust has a thing or two to say about body positive models on Instagram, too.
Discover the magic that is fatshion. It’ll change your life, guaranteed.
Body positivity isn’t a destination of ultimate love and acceptance. It’s something we practice, even in the little choices we make, over the course of our entire lives.
Sometimes it’s just being gentle with yourself on your worst days. Sometimes it’s hanging out in your underwear and coexisting with your body, “flaws” and all. Sometimes it’s allowing yourself to feel what you’re feeling and not be okay.
You don’t need to love yourself today and you don’t even need to like yourself today. I promise, you’ll get there when you get there.
In the meantime, baby steps. Every step in the right direction is a step worth taking. So why not start now?
Sam Dylan Finch is a Staff Writer and Editorial Coordinator for Everyday Feminism. He is a transgender writer, activist, and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area, exploring the intersections of mental illness and queerness. In addition to his work at Everyday Feminism, he is also the founder of Let’s Queer Things Up!, his beautifully queer blog. You can learn more about him here and read his articles here. Follow him on Twitter @samdylanfinch.