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October 13, 2015 2 min read

Earlier this month, women went shirtless for a SoulCycle class in NYC's Union Square for Dare to Bare, which is a series of local events hosted by the body-positive Movemeant Foundation. The idea behind the body acceptance series comes from the foundation's founder, Jenny Gaither, and her own personal struggle to accept herself. “The pressure of unrealistic body standards led to issues with my self-image, and eventually a struggle with anorexia and bulimia," she says. Gaither eventually gave up dancing and took up spinning. And one day, while teaching a class, too afraid to throw off the jacket she was wearing for a Rihanna-themed ride, she realized she needed to do something to combat the negativity that led her into feeling ashamed to spin in a sports bra. "The goal," says Gaither "is to shift the dialogue around fitness from a focus on what you might lose (weight) to what you’ll gain—confidence, strength, and a new sense of self that’s larger than life.” Want a taste of the type of positivity Gaither promotes? Here she shares three steps to body confidence. 1. Find a support system: “Surround yourself with only with people who value, appreciate, and respect everything about you. Seek out a mentor who makes you feel strong and unstoppable, and will encourage you in your fitness goals (it might be a friend, a personal trainer at your gym, or an instructor you love at a local fitness studio) and reach out to her whenever your negative self-talk gets louder.” 2. Find an activity you love: “When I used to hear the word ‘exercise,’ I’d think of treadmills, burpees, and sprints—all things I hated. So if you don’t like working out, don’t work out! Instead, go dance. Climb. Swim. Take a walk or a bike ride. Because if you call it what you like, you’ll like it, and it should feel like a reward.” For over 66 hours of exercise ideas, check out Sweatflix℠! 3. Be proud—and keep taking risks: “Prove yourself to yourself by accomplishing something that is challenging for you. Your mentors are there to support you, so don’t be afraid to take some leaps and push yourself as you near your goal. There’s no greater thrill than realizing you’re capable of anything if you invest your heart and soul into it.” Was Gaither's advice helpful? Source: Glamour  

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