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Body Positivity for Runners

Positive Body Image
The 365-Day Running Journal, Pg 18.

Whether you are a casual jogger or an experienced racer, you may believe that changing your body composition will help you reach your running goals. After all, how many times have you heard the mistaken belief that lightening-up will speed you up? With any type of sport, it’s normal to look to others and see where you stack up based on performance, training volume and body type. While running can be a great activity to help shed excess body fat to improve your overall health, there’s a downside to competitive leanness. Chasing the idea that weighing less will enhance performance may deprive you of the fuel and nutrients that you need to optimize performance and to maintain great health.

The media is oversaturated with images of fast runners with six-pack abs, lean arms and long slender legs. Constant exposure to these images can make you believe that you are not built like a runner - increasing body consciousness, lowering self-esteem and intensifying body dissatisfaction. Constant bombardment of an unrealistic body type can make it easy to mistakenly slip into unhealthy or disordered eating behaviors, while increasing your risk for sickness, hormonal disturbances, mood changes, injury, negative energy availability and burnout. The perceived ‘runners body’ is not something you need to strive for. Success looks different on everyone. Instead, learn to embrace the unique traits and qualities that enhance your running journey. Not every athlete body is going to look the same.

Runners come in different shapes and sizes. If you watch any race – marathon to 5K – you’ll see all different body types celebrating across the finish line. Let’s get real - your smartwatch doesn’t know how much you weigh.

Own your body image. Run because you love to run. You define your own success. If you are avoiding signing up for a race because you fear being judged, crush those mental demons. Let go of comparison and be proud of your strong body. Your body belongs at any race distance. Never let your insecurities define you. Run because it tests your courage. Instead of bashing your body, thank your body. Be proud of the function of your body and all that it’s capable of achieving. How you perceive yourself largely influences your actions. Discard the bathroom scale if it leads to self-destructive thoughts. Wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself when you run. Create goals that make you feel proud of your body. And most of all, figure out how you need to eat, sleep and train in order to stay healthy for the long-term. How you need to look may be different than how you think you need to look. The process of developing a positive body image takes time but to love your body in motion is worth the patience and hard work. Running doesn’t care what you look like.

For more educational information, tips and quotes, don't forget to reserve your copy of my latest book "The 365-Day Running Journal" for the September 24th release (and gift one to a friend).

Click HERE to pre-order.