The Wellness Quest
Dr. Kate Brown
Do you her that sound off in the distance? Ah, yes, it’s siren song of January resolutions! I stopped adding “lose weight” to my list many years ago, but I remember feeling so lost that first year without my old standby. When dieting was always on my list of things to do, I always knew what stories would inspire me, what kind of motivational posters to put on my wall, and how to track Before and After progress. Opting out of diet culture means finding new ways to stay motivated, and this January I’m here to help you create your own body positive inspiration playbook.
After studying Before and After success stories, I learned that this way of telling stories about personal growth doesn’t actually motivate people. Worse, it paints the “Before” person as bad and the “After” as good, which doesn’t honor the spectrum of ways that people practice self-care and health habits. I believe we need to tell more diverse stories about what wellness looks and feels like to help ourselves and others enjoy full, fabulous lives.
If you’ve chosen to set wellness goals that build positive health habits, you’re probably looking for some inspiration to help you stay motivated. But #fitspo and Instagram fitness models make you feel bad about yourself, and every book or magazine you pick up has a weight loss success story, so what are you supposed to do? Here are my top tips for finding motivating, body positive stories to help you reach your #wellnesswednesday goals:
Curate Your Feeds
Harsh motivation may work in the short term, but it won’t help you create lasting change. If someone in your social media feeds makes you feel bad, unfollow. Feel empowered to unfollow all the fitness celebs setting impossible motivation standards. I even report all the diet ads in my feeds as a scam. Find people who look like you and are on the same path as you. I like to add #plussize… to my activity hashtags to find others in the wellness spaces I want to be a part of like #plussizeyoga or #plussizescuba.
Don’t Forget Your IRL Community
When I host workshops, I always divide the room into pairs and have the pairs introduce each other to the group. I do this because most people have a hard time complimenting themselves, but can find so many admirable qualities about a total stranger! Connecting with people face to face and sharing your stories can be a great way to build accountability and create new friendships. We often think of wellness as nutrition and exercise, but remember that social wellness is important too.
Be the inspirational voice you need
One of the reasons that we look to other people’s stories for motivation is that we want reassurance. We want to see someone who has been on the path ahead of us succeed so that we know it’s possible for us too. Unfortunately, sometimes this is interpreted in a way that means you’re only allowed to share your story after you’ve reached your goal. That leads to a lot of Before and After thinking. If you’re a trailblazer, you may never find someone else like you who has succeed under the circumstances you face. Don’t let that stop you from creating the inspirational messages you want to see in the world. Social media makes it easy to share your story in ways that feel right to you–text, audio, and video–over time for a more complete narrative. Show us the highs, the lows, and the uncertain middles!
In the coming weeks, I’m going to share some of my favorite body positive media to help you find the stories that resonate with you to help you achieve your 2019 wellness goals. Curious about my wellness goals? Follow me on Instagram on @drkatebrowne to find out what’s next on my wellness quest!
Stay tuned every Wednesday for more Wellness Quests!