It’s a time of year when words like “diet” and “exercise” and “less wine” and “fewer carbs” start filtering into conversation.
Ironically, they tend to pop up at the same time as “acceptance” and “love my body for what it is” and “be kinder to myself”. All these words and phrases spoken by (mostly) women everywhere in an attempt to create a more positive, healthier relationship with their body, usually in the name of New Year’s Resolutions.
Molly Galbraith – co-founder of Girls Gone Strong that provides body-positive nutrition, exercise and self-care information – is having none of it.
"A popular message often shared among women is to encourage each other to 'accept' or 'embrace' their flaws. These messages are well-intended and seen as supportive and inspiring for many women," Galbraith posted to Facebook yesterday.
"Me? I'm NOT embracing my flaws in 2017. Why? Because I'm not the one who decided they were flaws to begin with."
Galbraith goes onto talk about the way her body has been judged and scrutinised since she was a young girl. A story too many women can relate to.
"It's a narrative that made me feel self-conscious and like I was bigger than all of the other girls. It's a narrative that made me feel ashamed of, embarrassed by, and apologetic for my body," her post reads.
"I agreed with this narrative for decades, and I let it run through my head like a broken record while punishing myself with intense exercise and restrictive dieting to fix those things the world told me needed fixing. Not anymore. I’ve realised that I simply don't agree."
What were the elements she was told needed 'fixing'?
"Get rid of your unsightly cottage cheese thighs!"
"Banish embarrassing stretch marks forever!"
"Trim and tone your jelly belly in 10 days!"
"I'm almost 5'11" and weigh 170 pounds," she wrote. "I have cellulite on my legs, stretch marks on my hips, butt, and breasts, and some jiggle on my belly — and the world constantly wants me to believe this is not OK."
"But I won’t subscribe to someone else's standards and ideals for MY body. So, instead of embracing what someone else determined to be a flaw of mine, I choose to embrace my whole, flawless body," the post concludes.
The inspirational message is accompanied by a photograph of Galbraith in her underwear and a singlet that reads 'strong' applying makeup in a mirror.
The photo and the message has received more than 8,000 likes on Facebook and almost 2,000 shares. (Post continues after gallery.)
Galbraith's post comes roughly a year since another body positive Facebook post of hers went viral.
The photo, depicting Galbraith in a swimsuit on the beach, begins, "This is my body. This not a before picture. This is not an after picture. This just happens to be what my body looks like on a random Tuesday in December of 2015 — it's a LIFE picture."
Her post continues:
"This is a body that loves protein and vegetables and queso and ice cream."
"This is a body that loves bent presses and pull-ups and dead-lifts and sleep."
"This is a body that has been abused with fast food and late nights and stress."
"This is a body that has been called 'too fat', 'too thin', 'too masculine', 'too strong', 'too weak', 'too big', 'too skinny'... All within the same week."
"This is a body that I've spent too much time, energy, and mental space wishing would look differently."
Again, her conclusion is one of hope and happiness. By resolving to make no New Years Resolutions that involve her the way her body looks, or the way she looks at her own body, Galbraith found she was happier than ever.
"Today this is a body that is loved, adored, and cherished by the only person whose opinion matters — ME," it reads. "This is the first year in as long as I can remember that I have made NO resolutions to change the way my body looks. This is a kind of freedom I didn’t think I’d ever experience, and it feels really, really good."
Congratulations Molly, you're bound for a happy, fulfilling year ahead - worrying about only those things that truly matter.