Of course, many people do enjoy lifting weights or running on the treadmill. But thinking outside the box, and perhaps away from conventional gyms, where body ideals are often narrow and limiting, can be especially liberating for queer people. That could mean signing up for a queer kickboxing class, joining a sports league, or (if you’re like me) simply going on more walks to feel things.
In any case, approaching fitness solely with weight loss in mind may condition you to feel down about your body as it is now.
“Make sure that you’re really thinking about what you want to do, and why you want to move,” says Alysse Dalessandro Santiago, the queer blogger behind Ready to Stare, where she writes about body acceptance. Consider linking fitness goals to activities you enjoy, or things you’d like to do or accomplish, like a long-distance hike with friends, or building up the endurance for an all-night dance party.
“Focus on the kind of movement that brings you joy,” Santiago says. “Tie your goals to that and be consistent because it feels good to your body, not because you want your body to change.”
Discover what makes you happy
Many of us have done some soul searching over the past two years, asking ourselves what we really want and perhaps reorienting our priorities. Inevitably, that has meant being in touch with our bodies — taking care of ourselves (and others) through sickness, feeding our hunger for food, sleep, and self-pleasure, and maybe even making discoveries about our identities.
The results of that self-exploration can be invaluable moving forward, particularly when it comes to how we think about our bodies. And the results of that self-reflection are already becoming apparent.
“I’m really impressed by the way I see people talking about resolutions now,” Rashatwar says. “We’re talking about things like wanting a better relationship with our bodies, about taking time to listen to what my body wants.”
What many of our bodies likely want after all that we’ve been through is a breather. Maybe exercise can serve as a valuable release valve and escape, but other outlets can be just as nourishing.