With every new year comes a slew of resolutions — many of which tout the importance of improving yourself by changing your body.
And while it is your body and you can resolve to do whatever you choose with it, many body-positive activists and publications are proposing a new, challenging resolution: to truly love yourself, right now, just as you are.
NOW Magazine, a Canadian publication, recently released its "Love Your Body" issue in hopes of doing just that.
"NOW Magazine created the Love Your Body issue three years ago to counter all the messages promoting dieting, changing your life, and 'new year, new you,' that come out every January," explained Michelle da Silva, the online news writer for NOW and the coordinator for this year's issue.
"We thought, why not appreciate the people we are and the bodies we have today instead?"
Prince Amponsah: actor, social work student at Ryerson University. Read his story here.
"...We wanted to showcase Torontonians, who aren't models and aren't typically seen in the media," said da Silva. "Every year, the group we assemble is diverse in shape, size, race, genders, abilities, and age, and they come with inspiring stories of body acceptance and positivity."
In early November, the magazine put a call out to Torontonians, and nearly 50 responses rolled in.
Heidi Hawkins, mother and voice-over actor. Read her story here.
"Anyone who was willing to be photographed naked (or partially naked) with a story to tell about the relationship they have with their body was encouraged to apply. ... We try to ensure there is diverse representation among the group. This year, for the first time, we were able to feature a breastfeeding mom who had recently had a baby as well as an older Indigenous woman."
The result? A stunning collection of diverse photos that represent bodies in the glory of their natural states.
Jasbina Justice, activist, yoga teacher, coordinator and performer with feminist porn company Spit. Read the story here.
Catherine Hernandez, author of the novel Scarborough, out soon, and mother. Read her story here.
Acacia Christensen, also known as Doughnut Messaround, wrestler, League Of Lady Wrestlers. Read her story here.
...these brave people bore more than their bodies to the world when they did this spread.
Paul Lancaric, voice-over artist. Read his story here.
They bared their entire being, and that is what is most beautiful of all.
Ted Hallett, improviser/writer, Date Me, Next Stage FestivalI. Read his story here.
I hope that when looking at the photographs and reading all the stories, people feel inspired and are reminded that beauty and strength comes in all forms. I hope that our readers see that all bodies warrant love and kindness and deserve to be celebrated. I want people to see that our bodies tell stories about our past, but also, who we are isn’t limited to the skin we’re in.
Check out the entire series here.