Happier and Healthier:
A Personal Challenge

12 weeks to encourage body acceptance and freedom from obsessive behaviour

The Background

Exercise and nutrition form a huge part of my daily routine. Recently, I slipped back into unhealthy obsessive behaviours with both. I have a dysfunctional relationship with food, which stems from an eating disorder that began in my teens.

I’m also extremely passionate about exercise, yet have a tendency to overtrain or work towards goals that aren’t fully aligned with my soul and beliefs.

The Problem with Body Positivity

Body positivity is the current trend that is sweeping the nation but I still believe it’s lacking. There’s still too much emphasis on visual identity.

For example, “love your curves” seems like an empowering message but it may feel like a stab in the back to the ladies that have a naturally slim frame and find it hard to gain weight.

Has anyone ever considered that you’re still womanly if you don’t have a bit of jiggle / boobs / booty / whatever else? And what if you’re a young girl that hasn’t hit puberty yet and hasn’t had the inevitable body changes that occur? Is this still the “positive” message we want to be sending?

Don’t even get me started on the #strongnotskinny trend that swarms social media either. As with all trends, this too shall pass. There will be something different that overtakes and the marketing messages to women will alter.

I believe we should encourage body acceptance.

Understandably, this seems a little pot-kettle-black coming from myself, however, anything I’ve ever done in my life up until this point has been an attempt to get a grasp on controlling my own body issues.

I want to be 100% transparent in my journey towards body acceptance so others can learn from my mistakes, share their experiences with me and maybe even form a little support network for one another. We don’t need to struggle alone when we can lift each other up.

You can find me on Twitter @kimjfox if you want to chat :) I’m all ears.

The Challenge

Body acceptance, for me, isn’t raving to the world that I love my muffin top and naturally round derrière — it’s about finding happiness within myself and allowing that to radiate outwards. It goes beyond the exterior.

I’ve learned over and over that no matter what shape, size, weight or body composition I have, the outcome has never been like one of those stock photos where being slim and toned equates to a beaming smile. The real world just isn’t like that.

I’m giving myself 12 weeks to ditch my usual habits (the ones that have morphed into negative obsessions and no longer healthy) and to embrace a more free-spirited approach to my life.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving myself 12 weeks to go completely ape shit and excuse myself from looking after my body, it just means I’ll be trying to “tune in” to my body’s natural needs rather than making calculated assumptions. I’ll be hoping to maintain a balanced and flexible approach to training, nutrition, socialising and work life.

The Rules

1. Goodbye weighing scales

It’s ok to weigh every now and again but it’s not ok to let a number dictate your mood for the day. There will be ZERO weighing for 12 weeks.

2. Be happy to train, don’t train to be happy

I’ll follow a loose training regime but what I choose to do for exercise, and how often I participate in it, will be solely dictated by whether I want to. No more feelings of guilt for missed sessions. I want to enjoy my training and not feel imprisoned by it! Key areas of focus will be:

  • Strength: Weight training, starting with strong lifts 5x5 and some accessory work
  • Endurance: Working up my running distance
  • Flexibility: Beginners yoga

3. Eat what I want, when I want it

Let’s face it, I know what food will make my body feel great and function well but I also enjoy stuffing my face with pizza. No more calorie counting, macro tweaking, MyFitnessPal logging etc.

4. Practice gratitude

I’m going to take time to write down at least one thing a day that I’m grateful for or has made me smile. It doesn’t matter if it’s directly related to body image or not, good thoughts will encourage more positive energy!

5. Share my journey, where possible

I’ll do my best to document the journey as I go, but again, zero pressure on myself to commit to this.

Final Thought

This isn’t directly related to my mini challenge but it’s one of my favourite motivational talks. Enjoy!

The Power of Vulnerability — Brene Brown
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