My Body Positive Instagram Heroes #MyBoPoChallenge

As promised last week, here are some of my BoPo Instagram heroes. I really do believe that seeing more images of diverse, beautiful bodies is such a great first step towards feeling more body positive. And it's super easy to do! Winning. This is definitely, definitely not an exhaustive list, but it might be a good starting point. So, my absolute favourites:

Megan's one of my absolute favourite people that I follow on Instagram. She's recovered from anorexia and her journey and self-love is hugely inspirational.

A photo posted by 👙EFF YOUR BEAUTY STANDARDS™ðŸ‘ŠðŸ¼ (@effyourbeautystandards) on

Eff Your Beauty Standards is a great re-post account that shares body positive images. It's really good for seeing diverse images and for finding new BoPo heroes!

Jes is one of the big deals of the BoPo movement, and that's a totally well-earned compliment. Her blog is awesome, and you should definitely check out her body positive resources page if you're in need of further information/inspiration.

A photo posted by Valerie Sagun (@biggalyoga) on

Valerie aka Big Gal Yoga is so inspirational, I love seeing her posts and being reminded that exercise, moving your body and flexibility are not just reserved for thin people.

A photo posted by Mama Cāx (@caxmee) on

Mama Cax's pictures are absolutely stunning and I think disabled bodies are such an important part of the body positive movement that seem to often get overlooked, so her account is super-refreshing.

And some other mentions (basically, I got fed up of embedding Instagram images):
I've been a fan of Brittany for a long time and her TED Talk is all kinds of awesome.
Melissa looks totally awesome all the time, and I'm pretty sure it was her that started the brilliant #donthatetheshake hashtag.
Bethany is queen of the selfie, and her outfit posts are waaaaaay more kick ass than anything I could ever achieve (but I can dream, right?)
Britt shares real images and outfits that I want to steal. She also a fellow mental health warrior!

So, what do you think? Let me know if I've missed anyone awesome, am always up for finding more BoPo heroes. Right, I'm off to look up synonyms for 'awesome' and 'inspiration'. BRB.

P.S. If you're joining me in #MyBoPoChallenge, please use the hashtag so I can see the fun commence!

The BoPo Diaries: 10 Ideas For Getting Body Positive #MyBoPoChallenge

Following Monday's Body Positivity rant/post, I've decided to set myself a challenge. I think the best way to tackle these things is normally with small steps. But what small steps? You want me to write a list? OK, if you insist. 

I'll take any excuse to write a list. Here's my ideas for stuff that I (well, we, if you're up for it) could start doing now:

Make a list of all the stuff your body can do, either on paper (or on internet) or in your head. Remind yourself of these things and thank your body. Yes, really.

Wear stuff that you love, and wear it unapologetically. 

Read some Body Positive books. I'm going to start with The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, but there's a great list of other BoPo books here (Jes Baker's Things No-One Will Tell Fat Girls is also on my ever-growing 'to read' list).

Exercise or move because of how it makes you feel, not how it might make you look.

Follow some BoPo heroes on Instagram. Regularly seeing photos of women looking amazing at all sizes will start to do wonders for your own self-confidence. I've got a post about this planned for next week if you need some ideas for people to start following....

On that note: Post photos of yourself on social media. Not with apologetic 'ignore the belly rolls but....' captions, but just photos of you looking awesome. Flaunt the fat/cellulite/scars/wrinkles/stretch marks. I think half the problem is that we rarely see pictures of unfiltered bodies that we can identify with.

Don't bitch about other people's bodies. Ever. We've probably all done it (I have, when I really hate someone) and it just exacerbates a problem that ends up hurting all of us. On that note - challenge other people's comments.

If you don't identify as fat - be a good thin ally

Talk to people. Share how you feel. Often body shaming feels worse when you keep it inside.

This one might be a bit extreme, but reclaim your body. Get an awesome tattoo in a place you used to hate.

Who wants to join me? It's just a case of picking some thing that you think will help make you feel more positively about your body, and doing it. That's it. Take photos, blog, tweet, post on Insta... If you want to use the #MyBoPoChallenge hashtag too that would be awesome. that way I can find things and share them. Feel free to use the image above too if you blog about it.

LET'S DO THIS. Let's inspire each other. Let's enable each other to start loving ourselves and then start getting other shit done. Because there is a lot of shit to get done, and telling myself horrible things about my body isn't on my to do list anymore.

P.S. Please tell me what I've missed off my list!

The BoPo Diaries: Why I'm Trying to Be Body Positive

I'm trying to become more Body Positive. I'm trying to believe it, and act upon it. 

I'm sick of judging my self-worth based on how well my clothes fit or how much my muffin top hangs over my jeans. I've been letting this stuff lurk at the back of my mind for too long now and it needs to stop. Now.

Oh, I'm definitely better than I used to be. After all, you don't have five years of therapy without managing to question at least some of the critical thoughts. And yet... There are still times when this stuff creeps up on me. Normally, it's when there's a holiday or a wedding coming up, a time when I'll be aware that people might be looking at my body or comparing me to others (or at the very least, I know I'll be comparing myself to others).

Yes, I'm a size 12-14. I've never been shouted at by a stranger because of my weight, or humiliated in public due to my size. So I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I truly understand how harmful or hurtful body shaming bullshit is. But I do think that body shaming harms all of us. I remember being a teenager and obsessing over the size of my thighs, the redness of my stretchmarks and feeling completely and utterly worthless. Those 'ring of shame'  magazine pages and overheard comments about bigger women, they harm everyone. They get to all of us. They reinforce the message, again and again, that fat women are worth less than thin women. That they're ok if they're funny or self-deprecating or really clever, but basically, that it's ok to humiliate people because of their size. But you know what, it's not fucking ok. This ends up getting to all of us. It makes us hate ourselves and monitor our bodies for any sign that we might be getting bigger. It makes us hurt ourselves and shame ourselves into obsessing over our bodies, because we've seen and heard so much of this fat-shaming that we've just started to believe it.

Well, there are two ways around this. Either we bully ourselves into achieving an arbitrary, unachievable and constantly-changing ideal, or we can just decide that we've had enough. We could refuse to take this bullshit. We could flaunt our fat and our imperfections and not be ashamed. We could realise that 'fat' shouldn't be an insult, that able bodies aren't superior to disabled ones, and that thin women are 'real women' too. We could stand up for each other and just accept that body fat percentage is not a measure of worth. We could all be really, truly confident and make the shamers lose their power over us. We could. We actually could.

In the words of one of my BoPo heroes, Megan, 'You'll never hate yourself into loving yourself' and I, for one, have wasted enough time and energy on self-hatred.

So, that's the why.  Later this week: the how (and that bit might involve you, too).