By Tanya Cole-Lesnick, LCSW-R

I am offering a new group, Be Body Positive beginning this month. I’m so looking forward to doing this very powerful and much-needed work with our clients at the Lighthouse, but it started as a part of my own personal journey. And let me tell you, becoming body positive was not, and still isn’t, the easiest thing to do. In fact, it’s pretty radical.

Join me, beginning March 11th and Be Body Positive!

We have a culture that idealizes thinness and diet mentality, so focusing on other ways to see worth and to have compassion for myself took some pretty deep work. And because our culture is still steeped in diet mentality, even though I’ve gone in a different direction, there are challenges that come up every single day. In my usual look-for-the-learning-opportunity way of thinking, I see this as a chance to practice being body positive regularly—whether I like it or not. But in spite of the fact that it’s often challenging, it also allows for an experience of peace within myself that I hadn’t experienced for a long time—probably not since childhood when I first learned about our culture’s love of thinness. And it wasn’t until I started doing my own body positive work a few years ago that I learned how much I longed for this feeling of peace in my relationship with my body—a lack of which that existed regardless of size, as I’ve been sometimes thin and sometimes not.

I know I’m not alone in this struggle, so wanted to share a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. My worth isn’t determined by my size.
  2. Engaging in diet behaviors can be all-consuming and leave little mental space for pursuing dreams, being present, and getting stuff done.
  3. My body actually has an amazing capacity to teach me about hunger, satisfaction, and comfort or discomfort.
  4. My beauty goes deeper than the size of my body. It connects me to my ancestry, it comes from a place of presence, joy, vulnerability, and connection.
  5. There are so many more layers to health than the size of our bodies.
  6. Practicing self-care goes beyond food and movement. And it also includes food and movement. Finding a balance that connects to how we feel and who we are can be exciting and fun.
  7. There is such a thing as body diversity. We aren’t all born to be the same size and shape, not even if we all ate and moved exactly the same way.
  8. There are a lot of messages we’ve received about bodies, movement, and food that can trigger shame—it’s time to create some new narratives.
  9. Sometimes wellness is diet culture in disguise.
  10. I would prefer to approach movement from a place of joy instead of purely to shrink my body size.
  11. I can trust my own intuition and don’t need to rely on external rules.
  12. My body doesn’t mean I’m wrong or have failed.
  13. Connecting to others about this, having community, helps.

This is some complex stuff. There’s so much more than what’s listed here; some that hasn’t even made its way to my consciousness yet. But let’s do this thing! Loving ourselves, bodies and all, is one huge step closer to happiness, peace, and living our best lives.

If this resonates with you, join me for my Be Body Positive Group starting next week.