Body positivity is a state of mind that is shaped by our delicate, ever-evolving, and deeply personal relationship with our own bodies. While body image cannot be dictated, it is highly sensitive to external influence. For years, certain physical attributes were presented as “ideal” by the mainstream media. Tiny waist. Washboard abs. Chiseled face. Plump face. Small hips. #ThiccHips. These paragons of beauty shifted and changed with the trends, perpetuating unrealistic benchmarks of what would pass as beautiful. 

The promotion of body diversity has prompted an important change in our mindsets, and more importantly, the smaller, daily conversations we have with our bodies. As different body types are represented more and more in various platforms, as society becomes more accepting, our personal views of our bodies change as well. Author and filmmaker Nora Ephron said, “Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.”

Body positivity is all about re-learning beauty and loving our bodies unconditionally. In this journey towards a healthy body image and unshakeable self-esteem, know that you are not alone. Read about how these women view their bodies and how body diversity gave them a positive body image.

1. Patty Verzo: “When the Body Feels Good, It Matters Less What It Looks Like”

Dancer and teacher Patty Verzo feels good about her body. (Credit: instagram/patty.verzo)

“The concept of body diversity and positivity definitely lifted a lot of pressure off my shoulders, so to speak. Seeing different body types — especially athletic ones, helped me make peace with the body I have. The goal was less to look like what I see, and more to be able to do more difficult tricks/choreographies, etc. When my body feels good, and it's strong and healthy, then it matters much less what it looks like.”

2. Razel Estrella: “Forget That You are Beautiful and Live with the Fact That You are Beautiful”

Author Razel Estrella wants to see more women who are comfortable with their bodies. (Credit: instagram/razelibrary)

“I subscribe to the idea that ‘if everyone is beautiful, then no one is beautiful’. Despite the media’s efforts on populating movies and magazines with people of different colors, shapes, and sizes, the effect of seeing them remains the same for me: a comparison mode is automatically turned on. ‘She’s fatter than me, has worse skin than me, is younger but looks older than me. I think I’m doing quite fine.’ The definition of beauty may have diversified but there is still a certain standard that must be met."

"Beauty may have a ‘new normal’, which means bad news for the new marginalized. The women who have the biggest positive effect on my self-image are the women who are so comfortable in their skin that they barely notice it. I want to see and meet more of them. I want to forget that I am beautiful and simply live with the fact that I AM beautiful, so I can focus on other things.”

3. Sky Gavin: “Accept That Our Bodies Change Over Time”

Blogger, entrepreneur, and new mom Sky Gavin accepts the changes her body goes through. (Credit: instagram/gvinsky)

“I think from the developing body diversity, I learned that all bodies are really different. As for me who went through so much body changes as a mom, I have learned to accept my body no matter how different it looks like from before. I learned not to compare my body from others and encourage others that their body is beautiful too.”

4. Tisha Alvarez: “Strength, Speed, and Stamina are What Matters” 

For editor and athlete Tisha Alvarez, appearance is just a by-product of exercise. (Credit: instagram/tishietishie)

“Being surrounded by athletes in my 30s changed my mindset. Before it was all about appearances. But when I had to keep up with people who were younger than me and more athletic than me, I wanted something more. I wanted strength, speed, and stamina. Appearance just became a by-product!”

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5. Therese Ymson: “Your “Flaws” are Not Flaws

Architect Therese Ymson appreciates how more people are keeping it real on social media. (Credit: instagram/thereseymson)

“One of my insecurities is my big tummy. Sometimes flat siya, most of the time super bloated. But now that people are more open about body realities and that the media is also slowly becoming more realistic, I feel relieved. ‘Behind the gram’ posts and ‘Expectation vs. Reality' posts comfort me and help in reminding me that my body is normal. Now I don’t feel as pressured to pull my stomach in all the time. It helped me accept my big tummy!”

6. Kara Ortiga: “Progress is Not Linked to How Your Body Looks”

For writer Kara Ortiga, yoga is all about focus, dedication, and enlightenment. (Credit: instagram/karaortiga)

“I used to exercise only to lose weight! That’s also why I started to do yoga many years ago. But since starting a regular practice, I learned that my progress was not really linked to how my body looked, but how it had made me feel; stronger physically, more emotionally tenacious, able to keep good habits, and constantly surprised by what I could do if I did the work and pushed harder. 

People who do yoga come in all shapes and sizes and I began to admire yogis not for the body shapes, but because of the focus and dedication and enlightenment they seemed to possess. I think there’s nothing wrong with wanting your body to look a certain way, but I think that a healthy lifestyle tends to make you realize that how your body looks is much less impressive than what it can actually do.”

7. Marga Buenaventura: “All Our Bodies Work Hard to Keep us Healthy and Alive”

Writer and editor Marga Buenaventura is motivated by how hard the human body works. (Credit: instagram/margabee)

“The presence of diverse bodies in media has been helpful in making me see that health or fitness can’t be measured by how you look or weigh. It also helps me manage my own expectations I have for my body, what things should or ‘shouldn’t’ look like. We still have a long way to go but the first step really is to acknowledge that there is more than one type of good body because the truth is that all our bodies work hard to keep us healthy and alive. And that motivates me to keep going.”

8. Marella Ricketts: “Being Fit is Not a Race to Being the Skinniest or the Curviest”

For writer Marella Ricketts, being healthy isn’t a race, but a lifelong journey. Credit: instagram/marellaricketts

“I like that brands are more conscious of representation now. In the past, I'd always see rail thin models on magazines. Then few years ago, there was an influx of Kardashian-like bodies all over IG haha. It was a bit too much for me, and after a while, you start to see past those things. So, these days, it's very refreshing to see more diversity. It's a nice reminder that being healthy/fit isn't a race to being the skinniest or curviest, but rather, a lifelong journey where you discover more about your body.”

9. Crizza Dealino: “You Can Do So Much More Than Fitting in a Size Small”

Yoga enthusiast Crizza Dealino believes that women shouldn’t be categorized into body types. Credit: instagram/kahelera

“Embracing body diversity is empowering as it made me celebrate my uniqueness, knowing that there is not a single body type and that women don’t fit in a box. Shapes are much more varied, and sizes are endless. It made me realize that we are more than our body shapes. That our bodies can do so much more than fitting in a size small. At the end of the day, my body is nobody’s business but mine. And as long as we take care of them as best as we can, what’s there to hate?”

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10. Monique Buensalido: “There are a Million Reasons to Love Your Body, Being Hung Up on How it Looks is a Waste”

Athlete and fitness enthusiast Monique Buensalido believes that it’s important fulfill the human body’s full potential.Credit: instagram/sinongnanaymoe

“Decades of seeing the same visuals of a “healthy” person from magazines, advertising campaigns, and even the feeds of 'fitfluencers' have conditioned us to think that these standards — rock-hard abs, defined biceps, tiny waist, plump bum — are the ultimate definition of health and fitness. And if we can’t see ourselves in or as those images, we aren’t normal. It doesn’t matter what you can do with your body. Lost 100 pounds? Did 50 burpees? Had a baby? Climbed a mountain? Yeah, okay. You have abs? Insert a million fire emojis.

The truth is, humans are all different. Any doctor will tell you that all our bodies have different gene markers, systems, and health indicators, and there is no single standard. But it’s harder to realize this when people focus on how the body looks and weighs. It is important to see that people can love, enjoy, and use their bodies and fulfill its potential, without talking about thigh gaps or dress sizes.

Instead of aspiring to a single standard of health and fitness offered up to us by popular social media platforms, we should learn to celebrate and support healthy behaviors that any and every person can do. There are a million reasons to love and respect your body, and to be hung up on how it looks is just a waste.”

Join the movement that promotes body diversity! You can practice inclusivity by sharing this article with your friends and sending a positive message on body image.