SELF – Model Jordyn Woods On The 1 Thing People Get Wrong About Loving Your Body

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Photo: Twitter

Turns out there’s something people get wrong about loving your body. “Body positive” advocate and plus-size model Jordyn Woods told The Cut that she has been criticized by her fans for posting photos of herself at the gym. Woods recounts,

 “I remember one time I posted a picture in the gym and people were commenting on my photo “If you’re body positive, then why are you working out?” It would be the opposite of body positive not to work out, because being body positive is loving your body,” she says. “If you’re not taking care of your body, you’re not loving your body. You’re only given one body.”


So just what is the relationship between working out and self love? A strong one.


I was pleased to help out on this piece for SELF on how exercise can be an important element of self love and body positivity.


The concept of being body positive and working out regularly is at odds for some people—but it shouldn’t be, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., tells SELF. “In a culture that so overvalues physical appearance, it is critical to counterbalance these lifelong influences with body acceptance and self-love,” she says. Exercising, eating well, and otherwise taking care of your body are ways to practice self-love, Clark points out—no matter the physical results. “The gym is not the enemy; viewing your body as the enemy is the problem,” Clark says.


Of course, thinking you can’t exercise and fully accept yourself also isn’t great for your physical well-being….“Regardless of how you feel about your body on the outside, it still requires care and attention on the inside to maintain or improve your health.” Not only that, regular exercise is good for your mental health, too. “Exercise helps relieve stress, promotes cell regeneration and healthy blood flow, improves mood and concentration, and facilitates restorative sleep,” Clark says. In short, there are so many reasons to work out that have nothing to do with weight loss or changing your body.

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD