January is here! New year, new you? We're all being bombarded with diet culture imagery right now. The other day I received a flyer in the mail advertising a gym. It showed a picture of a treadmill, and a picture of a huge cheeseburger, and screamed, "DO YOU WANT THIS, OR THIS?" I mean, yuck!
While at its core, the message of improved health and wellness is a positive one, often it gets conflated with unrealistic ideals- some of which are straight up body shaming. Exercise should be a regular habit- it's good for the body and the mind. IT shouldn't be a punishment for something you ate or did. Sometimes people may feel overwhelmed at the idea of working out, and don't know where or how to start. After the holiday season, many people are more motivated to begin a fitness routine. The trick with exercising is to find an intentional movement that you enjoy. Fit it into your life in a reasonable way, works with what your body needs, and focus on cultivating that habit on a regular basis. That's it. No guilt, no shame, no punishment. Move because it feels good! Easy, right?
Battling an autoimmune disease all through 2016 forced me to reframe my thinking about fitness in a way that wasn't weight loss oriented. At first, I was tempted to slack off on my fitness routine- like what's the point, if there's no visible "progress"? I soon realized though that NOT exercising made me feel gross. And why not feel good in the body I have TODAY, instead of waiting for a body I may have someday, if at all? Rather than give up completely, I modified my activities. Instead of running, I walked. A LOT. It felt amazing to stay consistent with my routine, and maintain my strength.
Being the body positive brand that we are, I decided to do a roundup of some of my favorite body positive resources for movement. Whether you are a total newbie to exercise or just need some new ideas to switch up your routine, here's some of the best teachers and programs out there right now. Hopefully, I can help reframe your thinking about fitness too!
- Body Positive Yoga- This is the best place to start! Amber Karnes demonstrates an amazing array of props and modifications to make yoga accessible for every body. She's also an incredible resource for teachers looking to expand their skillset! She and Dianne Bondy have teamed up to create Yoga for All, an online training course for larger bodies.
- Dianne Bondy Yoga- Dianne's video for Pennington's is EVERYTHING. Dianne offers workshops, retreats, and classes throughout the US and Canada, and she's an unwavering voice at the forefront of the body positive community.
- Supportive Yoga- You may recognize DC area instructor Annie Carlin from dozens of online listicles showing Instagram's hottest plus size yogis! Annie offers a fantastic variety of online yoga sequences, as well as private skype classes.
- The Luscious Life- body positive yoga therapy with Krystal Thompson! In her own words: "I am a yoga therapist who helps women love their bodies and their lives. I believe yoga isn’t just for one type of body. Yoga is for Every Body! These alignment-based yoga therapy practices will take you from hating your body to loving your body and living a Luscious Life!"
- Curvy Yoga- Anna Guest-Jelley takes 20 years of experience practicing yoga, combines it with body acceptance, and offers it all up at her Curvy Yoga online studio. Membership unlocks many of the awesome videos offered, but there's a handful of free ones for you to try out!
- The Body Positive Fitness Alliance- Looking for a fitness trainer or facility in your area that is body positive? Look no further! BPFA also offers online training sessions, as well as a remote workshop for those looking to become certified BoPo trainers!
- The Yoga and Body Image Coalition- YBIC is dedicated to promoting diverse, accessible yoga. They are another great resource for finding events and workshops in your area!
- Dances With Fat- Founder Ragen Chastain is THE voice for size acceptance, fat activism, and the HAES (health at every size) movement. Her blog is a powerful read for anyone who has not yet untangled all the harmful food moralizing/ fat shaming messages present in our culture. In addition, Ragen is one of the cofounders of my FAVORITE Facebook group, Fit Fatties. Fit Fatties maintains a strict policy of no weight loss talk, no diet talk, no negative body talk, no shame, no food moralizing (actually very little food talk at all- this is not the group to go searching for recipes in). If you're in ED recovery, this is absolutely a safe space for you!).
- Jessamyn Stanley- yes, THAT Jessamyn.Check out her Cody app plans here.
- Dana Falsetti- You've seen her before too. Check our her Cody app plans here.
- Embody Yoga- In which Jessamyn and Dana bundle their Cody plans together into one big delicious package!
- Last but not least, we have SO much love for FabUPlus Magazine! FabUPlus is the first women's magazine I've read that didn't make me feel like crap about myself. They're a quarterly health, fitness, and lifestyle magazine dedicated to women with curves, and they are AWESOME.
Did I miss anyone? Leave me a comment and let me know!