At MAN v FAT we believe in being positive about bodies. Ever since we began we’ve firmly believed that we have to treat our readers, and ourselves, with as much compassion as we can. One upshot of that is that we’re only ever keen on helping people to lose weight, if that’s their choice. We believe that men can be healthy at every size and we’ve always tried to use our output to showcase how bigger guys can be sporty, strong and fit.
Sadly though, we know that for a lot of guys they find other people who aren’t kind about their bodies. Worst of all is when those negative voices come from within their own heads. Our viewpoint on this can probably best be summed up by the opening 30 seconds of Television by the wonderful IDLES:
If someone spoke to you
The way you do to you
I’d put their teeth through.
The simple truth though is that the mainstream media portrayal of men can often leave bigger guys feeling like they’re not good enough and this can lead to a vicious cycle of feeling bad, eating more to feel better and then feeling worse about how you look. So if you’re currently stuck in this vortex, what advice can help you to start to clean up the voices in your head and start to hear a bit of positivity?
- Practice self-compassion: Be kind and gentle to yourself. Don’t criticise your body or compare it to others. Instead, appreciate your body for what it is. Try and find even one element of your body that you feel positive about and talk to yourself about that, rather than focusing on the negative.
- Look at what your body can do: Shift your attention from how your body looks to what it can do. Appreciate the capabilities of your body, such as being able to walk, run, dance, or create things. Once you start to pinpoint the things that you can do because of your body, it helps to encourage positive feelings.
- Engage in physical activities you enjoy: Find physical activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good. This can be dancing, swimming, running, or any other activity that makes you feel good. The key here is enjoyment. If you don’t like running, delete that Couch 2 5k app – if you want to dance, go dance!
- Accept your imperfections: Nobody is perfect. Learn to accept your imperfections, and don’t let them define you. Instead, focus on your strengths and what makes you unique. You can also learn to see the notion of perfection as the trap that it is – no one is perfect, everyone has imperfections – so why beat yourself up for not reaching an impossible ideal?
- Surround yourself with positive people: Surround yourself with people who love and support you, and who appreciate you for who you are. We can’t emphasise this one enough – if you’re aware of negative words or feelings that someone around you is causing then you must serious consider your relationship with that person. No one should be allowed to belittle you.
- Wear clothes that make you feel good: Wear clothes that fit well and make you feel comfortable and confident. Don’t worry about trends or what other people think, focus on your own style and even consider going to a personal shopper who can pick out flattering clothes. The cheap way of doing this is to look at celebrities who have a similar body shape to you and look at what they wear when they’re out and about – all of these guys will have been styled to death, so why not borrow their insights?
- Be patient and consistent: Loving your body is a journey, and it takes time and effort. Be patient and consistent, and don’t give up. Remember that every small step counts, and celebrate your progress along the way.