The Be Body Positive Model
The Be Body Positive Model is comprised of five core Competencies, the fundamental skills we can practice on a daily basis to live peacefully and healthfully in our bodies. When we become proficient—competent—at using these skills, we are able to care for our whole selves from a place of self-love and appreciation, which allows us to act on our purpose and life goals.
Health, as defined in our model, recognizes the interconnectedness of physical, psychological, and emotional needs in human beings. We honor the experience and authority of the individual as the primary path to positive change. Rather than dictating a prescriptive set of rules to follow, we empower people with practical tools, inspiration, and support to find their own way to lasting good health and greater happiness. This approach makes it possible to reach a widely diverse group of people.
Negative body image is linked to poor overall life quality. It also leads to poor self-care, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, self-harming behaviors (e.g., cutting, suicide), substance abuse, weight cycling, and relationship violence. We are especially concerned about these harmful behaviors in teens and young adults, which is why we provide body-oriented social emotional education. It is imperative to help young people create positive relationships with their physical selves in order to achieve their full potential.
Feedback indicates that the resources provided by our Be Body Positive Model significantly boost body image, as well as the ability to regulate eating, overcome depression and anxiety, and increase self-worth. Results from research conducted on our model at Stanford University will be published later this year.
To learn more, we encourage you to read our new book, Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice!), which brings our work to life with research-based information, personal stories, and Body Positive practices.
- Uncover the messages that have influenced your relationships with your body, food, and exercise.
- Develop a weight-neutral, health-centered approach to self-care.
- Become the authority of your own body by sorting out facts from distorted societal myths about health, weight, and identity.
The Reclaim Health Competency helps us uncover the messages we get from media, medical professionals, family, and friends about our health. When we identify these messages, we begin to think critically about which ones make us feel good about ourselves and lead to joyful, sustainable self-care, and which ones cause our self-care behaviors to become erratic—ultimately worsening our health. A key component to the Reclaim Health Competency is understanding the fundamentals of Health at Every Size®, a practical, research-based health model that honors the genetic diversity of human sizes and shapes.
- Learn to listen to—and follow—your body’s wisdom.
- Acquire tools and resources to help you eat, exercise, and live intuitively.
- Trust your innate wisdom to guide daily eating, exercise, and life choices.
With the Practice Intuitive Self-Care Competency, we learn to trust that our bodies have the wisdom necessary to eat, exercise, and rest for nourishment, fitness, and pleasure. Deeply listening to—and following—our bodies’ specific needs and desires for certain foods, types of movement, and rest makes self-care a more gratifying and health-enhancing experience.
- Develop a practice of self-love.
- Employ compassion, forgiveness, and humor as you leave behind the need for self-criticism.
- Gain confidence and free up energy to make life-affirming choices.
The purpose of the third Competency, Cultivate Self-Love, is to develop and nurture a compassionate, gentle, and forgiving voice to guide and protect us. It is through a practice of self-love that we move away from self-criticism towards a more peaceful relationship with ourselves. We learn to treat our bodies with the honor they deserve for the brilliant work they do to keep us alive, and we have more meaningful connections with others because we respect and value ourselves equally as much as we do other people. Cultivating self-love raises our awareness in regard to how we talk to ourselves and speak about ourselves to others. It allows us to become conscious in the moments when our critical voices speak. Self-love is our ultimate protection.
- Experience beauty as a creative, dynamic process.
- Inhabit your unique body with joy and confidence.
- Expand your imagination to behold authentic beauty in yourself and others.
Declare Your Own Authentic Beauty, the fourth Competency of the Be Body Positive Model, lets us experience beauty as a dynamic, engaged relationship with the world around us, free from the distorted “ideal” images promoted in our society. When we discover the essence of beauty in ourselves as living, breathing, conscious beings, we then are able to see more beauty in others because we have removed ourselves from the beauty hierarchy in which so many people are caught. We have the opportunity to truly care for our bodies because we do not confuse physical self-care with a desire to transform our bodies to fit someone else’s definition of beauty.
- Connect to others through a shared positive approach to beauty, health, and identity.
- Role model love and respect for your own body.
- Build community to support your Body Positive lifestyle.
The final Competency, Build Community, recognizes that to sustain positive change on an individual level, it is essential to be connected to people who support one another in choosing to love and respect their unique bodies. If we don’t have anyone in our lives to encourage our Body Positive lifestyle, we might feel isolated and slip back into old ways of thinking about our bodies. Having Body Positive people in our lives—even just one—makes it much easier to live in harmony with our individual needs, and to pursue our wildest dreams!