On October 8th, Ashley Graham, one of the most recognized models ever, posted a video of herself working out. Since then, it’s gotten over 1.5 million views and loads of positive comments.
She continues to empower women of all shapes and sizes to unapologetically be who they want to be, do what they want to do, and not let haters dictate how they live their lives. And the comments following the post prove she succeeds in making us all feel more body-positive.
“I know I will never be skinny,” said one. “But I love working out letting my determination speak for itself. You truly embrace who you are and keep doing you.”
Said another: “Please don’t stop posting your fitness videos! They give big girls like me inspiration!”
Clearly, she is getting her message across and giving all women the confidence they need to feel like they can smash their goals. She shows us that fitness isn’t about being a certain number — we are more than our dress size, after all.
Being healthy also doesn’t mean fitting into some tiny box — it’s not only about taking care of your body, but your mind, too. Being active isn’t supposed to be geared just toward women who wear a size 2 or do 200 burpees.
It is about moving like we love ourselves. It’s about acting like we love ourselves. It is about treating and talking to ourselves with the same love and respect we give others.
The next day, she posted about some of the comments she received, saying this is what she gets every time she posts a workout video.
In the post, which got over 220K likes, she noted the judgmental comments she typically gets, such as, “You’ll never be skinny so stop trying,” and “You still need your fat to be a model.”
She goes on to set the record straight, saying she works out to stay healthy, to feel good, to get rid of jet lag, and clear her head. And, my favorite reason — to “show big girls we can move like the rest of em.”
And can she ever.
Graham says she works out because she loves herself. And it’s something we all need to see.
We’ve all known too well the feeling of dragging ourselves to the gym because we don’t like what we see when we look in the mirror, or because we see someone else working out and we feel we need to look like they do in their Lululemons. But that’s not reason enough. Those self-destructive thoughts may give us a little push to work up a sweat, but they never stick. They beat us down, make us feel less-than, and aren’t healthy reasons to work out.
Graham shows us time and time again that she isn’t doing anything to be skinny. She is doing it because she loves herself, and the one body she was given. There are many other reasons to work out and she encourages women to do it for the right reasons.
It’s nice to see her body-positive messages affecting so many, but the conversation needs to keep going. And sometimes, seeing a positive role model like Graham can be incredibly powerful because it helps us view our body and our health in a totally different light. There are many way to take care of ourselves, and treating our bodies with love is — hands down — the best way to practice self-care, no matter what your reason is.