By Jordan Metzman

*Do a cursory Google or Instagram search for body positivity, and you’re likely to find #loveyourself and #girlpower stories in abundance. It’s a beautiful sight, considering that the Internet can often be a source of unrealistic expectations and societal pressure to look a certain way.

Something’s happening, though. The body positivity movement is bringing to light a topic we desperately need to destigmatize and have more real conversations about. In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, we’re encouraging the GNI community to celebrate their bodies and all they can do, from getting active to lounging and everything in between. Here are some ways you can be part of the change as we make moves to create a more body-inclusive, appreciative internet (and world!) for us all to share.*

1. Measure words, not bodies.

It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of negativity when we’re not feeling our best. One thing to be conscious of? The language we use in these moments. While words like “fat,” “ugly,” and the like may pop into our heads occasionally, the permanency of the words can be seriously detrimental to long-term self-image. Think twice before posting – words like these can harm self appreciation and be upsetting to those struggling.

2. Positivity really is contagious.

Whether you just crushed a sweaty spin class, challenged your mind with a new genre of book, or you’re serving up a lewk that makes you feel your best, post what you want to post – and don’t let anyone stop you. Give yourself permission to be 100% yourself, share what makes you happy, and do what makes you feel good. With that as your North Star, your truth and positivity could be just what somebody needed to see today.

3. Reshape your compliments towards others to be more internally charged.

Think about the last compliment you gave. Was it a stranger’s earrings, your co-worker’s shoes, or maybe even your best friend’s booty? It’s second nature to call out a friend for looking good, but using terms like “skinny” or “thin” in these compliments can add fuel to the fire in someone struggling with an eating disorder. Find personal, connective ways to spread the love to your community. Compliment a friend’s fashion sense instead of how her top fits, how strong your workout buddy is rather than how tiny she is. Get excited about the ways to show your appreciation for the ones you love without targeting appearance.

4. Diversify your Instagram community

While social media has been linked to lower self esteem, there is so much community out there if you know where to look. By filling your feed with body diversity you can fight the “one type of woman” idea social media can sometimes perpetuate. Connect with influencers, friends, and brands that inspire you to love yourself, not change yourself.

This week we’re showing ourselves and our community love, but it doesn’t stop here. Every day we can challenge ourselves to bring new light to body positivity and help end the awkwardness around discussing our mental illnesses. In this community we’re strong and we’re real. We have failures and battles and stories to share and it’s our time to spread the word to end the stigma.

GNI is not a team of psychologists or therapists. We are a team of strong, supportive women working to encourage other women in our community to prioritize self-care. If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder please seek medical assistance to begin the road to recovery. We’re with you every step of the way- you’ve got this.

Image credit: Girlfriend Collective.