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27 Activities That Have Improved People's Body Image

Psssst — they're not all athletic ones, either.

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what accessible things helped them to accept their bodies. Here are the activities that worked for them.

1. Switching up Your Look

"I just dyed my hair bright purple, which was an incredibly liberating experience. When I look in the mirror I don't see my 'flaws'; I see how good I look!" — Dangel3272
lisavirgo / Via instagram.com

"I just dyed my hair bright purple, which was an incredibly liberating experience. When I look in the mirror I don't see my 'flaws'; I see how good I look!" — Dangel3272

2. Martial Arts

"It teaches you how powerful you can be, whatever your size or ablility. You discover strength and confidence you would never have believed possible. And as a woman, you learn how to take care of yourself and start walking around with your head held higher, because you know how to really kick ass. Just make sure you find a dojo or class that you feel comfortable in, and an instructor who is patient and kind." — S CA Sievers, Facebook

3. Roller Derby

"There is nothing like skating with an amazingly diverse group of people (men included!) to show you that you can be strong and fast at any size or shape. Not to mention that your teammates give the best compliments, and love you no matter what you look like." — maddyk40c2de9be
tjmakay / Via instagram.com

"There is nothing like skating with an amazingly diverse group of people (men included!) to show you that you can be strong and fast at any size or shape. Not to mention that your teammates give the best compliments, and love you no matter what you look like." — maddyk40c2de9be

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4. Standup Comedy

"I listen to fellow comics every night laugh about their bodies as a means of taking power over them." — Jason Brent, Facebook

5. Pole Dancing

"I've hit a plateau with my weight, but now I have other fitness markers like strength and flexibility to keep me focused and motivated. I'm constantly achieving a new spin, hold, or move. Everyone in the community is so supportive, too; the emphasis is definitely on having fun, not looking a certain way." — Tristen van den Berg, Facebook

6. Weightlifting

"I started lifting with a friend, and shifted my focus from losing weight to building strength. Since I'm thinking about how much I can lift and eating well instead of counting calories, it's helped my recovery from an eating disorder. And of course, my friend cheering for me when I finish a set I was struggling with makes me feel good all day!" — Adrienne Grace Collins, Facebook
chasingmichaelmills / Via instagram.com

"I started lifting with a friend, and shifted my focus from losing weight to building strength. Since I'm thinking about how much I can lift and eating well instead of counting calories, it's helped my recovery from an eating disorder. And of course, my friend cheering for me when I finish a set I was struggling with makes me feel good all day!" — Adrienne Grace Collins, Facebook

7. Writing Yourself a Letter

"I had an eating disorder for over ten years, and at 21 ended up in a treatment center fighting for my life. My huge 'Aha!' moment there was when I wrote a letter to my body, and had my body write a letter back. In those letters I realized that I had been punishing my body for the one thing it was created to do: survive. To this day, whenever I struggle with my body image, I read those letters." — Alyee Willets, Facebook

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8. Swimming

"I joined a swim team at age12, which helped me to see my body as a strong, capable tool. My awkward middle school (and later high school) years were full of training and racing, and my confidence grew leaps and bounds! I look forward to many more years of loving my body for what it can do for me, instead of abhorring it for not fitting exact social constructs." — RMW1007

9. Learning to do Makeup

"I started by doing my makeup really well, and began to see my features as beautiful even when I took the makeup off." — courtneymariec
poeticdrugs / Via instagram.com

"I started by doing my makeup really well, and began to see my features as beautiful even when I took the makeup off." — courtneymariec

10. Zumba

"Zumba is where I learned to appreciate that even if my body wasn't perfect, it could move and dance with so much passion and energy. I am so appreciative of that." — Brieanna Romero

11. Getting Tattooed

"I was self-conscious about the acne on my shoulders, to the point where I wouldn't wear tank tops in the summer. So, I got a tattoo there! I still have some acne on my shoulders, but I'm much more comfortable with it now because my tattoo makes me love them." — EllaJD

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12. Yoga

"When I started doing yoga, I found out that I was a lot stronger and more flexible than I thought. Realizing that my body was a functioning machine rather than a decoration made me grateful for it; I started treating it better, and in turn, I felt better." — Helene Støvring, Facebook
mynameisjessamyn / Via instagram.com

"When I started doing yoga, I found out that I was a lot stronger and more flexible than I thought. Realizing that my body was a functioning machine rather than a decoration made me grateful for it; I started treating it better, and in turn, I felt better." — Helene Støvring, Facebook

13. Having Sex

"Once I started doing it, I realized people don't really care about your 'flaws.' It made me realize for once that I could completely relax and do something fun without worrying about my body." — Melissa Williams, Facebook

14. (By Yourself)

"Around 13 or 14 I discovered masturbation, which opened my eyes to how beautiful and strong my body is. I believe an intimate sex life with yourself is a great thing for your self-esteem." — Bailey Jane Borchardt, Facebook

15. Joining a Workout Group

"Mine is called November Project. They're so encouraging, celebrating not only progress, but effort too. By welcoming me with open arms, they made me realize I deserve acceptance no matter what I look like. They have become my family." — EJ Klein, Facebook
novemberproject / Via instagram.com

"Mine is called November Project. They're so encouraging, celebrating not only progress, but effort too. By welcoming me with open arms, they made me realize I deserve acceptance no matter what I look like. They have become my family." — EJ Klein, Facebook

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16. Cheerleading

"It has made me feel so much more confident in my own skin. I'm plus-size, but I'm also strong — I spend two days a week tossing my flyer around like she weighs nothing! When I put on my uniform, it doesn't matter that my stomach isn't flat or that I've got huge thighs; I am a kickass cheerleader and I am awesome." — 20s0mething

17. Dry Brushing

"I brush my entire body with a special skin brush, which has helped me connect with and care for every part of myself. I do it before showering, and it helps me check in with my body and what I may be feeling bad about. It's really therapeutic." — phoebeg45f20d69b

18. Hula Hooping

"I have suffered from an eating disorder for 10 years, but three years ago, I discovered hula hooping. I used to totally hate my body, but now I appreciate it for what it can do. Without my body being properly fueled, I wouldn't be able to dance my heart out with a hoop!" — elliemanw
bellamonika / Via instagram.com

"I have suffered from an eating disorder for 10 years, but three years ago, I discovered hula hooping. I used to totally hate my body, but now I appreciate it for what it can do. Without my body being properly fueled, I wouldn't be able to dance my heart out with a hoop!" — elliemanw

19. Going Commando

"When I lived alone, I'd spend a lot of time naked. At first I really disliked what I saw, but eventually, I began to just accept it. My belly isn't good or bad; it's just there. My feet don't look stupid; they're just feet. Seeing the parts of me that I'd been working to hide all the time made me feel a lot less dissatisfied with how I look, in and out of clothes." — Jacqueline Lee, Facebook

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20. Belly Dancing

"Almost three years ago, I started taking a belly dancing class as a fun way to work out. I just wanted to exercise, but we ended up dancing at art festivals, nursing homes and libraries, too!" — Dikatdancer

21. Hiking

"I am a thick human with a myriad of health issues, but when I am able to make it to the top of a mountain, I feel invincible. It's been a huge confidence booster for me." — Tara Woods, Facebook
hayleyhermsofficial / Via instagram.com

"I am a thick human with a myriad of health issues, but when I am able to make it to the top of a mountain, I feel invincible. It's been a huge confidence booster for me." — Tara Woods, Facebook

22. CrossFit

"I started five months ago, and it has changed my life. I've started to love my body not because it has changed much physically, but because it's constantly showing me what it's capable of. I couldn't jog 400m when I started, but yesterday I managed 5km. I was so happy that I cried! My trainers and friends there are so supportive, too. I still have a long way to go, but I finally feel like I don't have to do it alone." — Sue Thought, Facebook

23. Drawing

"Being an artist and learning to draw and appreciate many body types and unique, quirky faces has really helped my self-image as a queer person. If I drew a character purposely with scars, freckles, body mods, or a tummy, and I’m proud of them, why wouldn't I be proud of my own 'flaws?'" — nekoboy999
buzzfeed.com

"Being an artist and learning to draw and appreciate many body types and unique, quirky faces has really helped my self-image as a queer person. If I drew a character purposely with scars, freckles, body mods, or a tummy, and I’m proud of them, why wouldn't I be proud of my own 'flaws?'" — nekoboy999

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24. (Especially Figure Drawing)

"I started puberty early, which made me feel much bigger than my peers, and subsequently inadequate. I was unhappy with my body until I was 18, when I attended my first nude figure drawing class and saw bodies of various ages, weights, and shapes. All of the women who stood naked in that crowded room with nothing to hide taught me about body positivity, without ever saying a single word. They'll never know what they have done for me, but I'll always be grateful to them." — tessmarie

25. Running

"I don't have a traditional runner's body. Once I realized running wouldn't magically make me lose weight, I simply began to appreciate what my body could do, and started loving it more. I'm competing against myself and nobody else." — veronical4e390d725
runningonmylastleg / Via instagram.com

"I don't have a traditional runner's body. Once I realized running wouldn't magically make me lose weight, I simply began to appreciate what my body could do, and started loving it more. I'm competing against myself and nobody else." — veronical4e390d725

26. Rugby

"Women's rugby attracts women of all ethnicities, sexualities, and gender identities, so there is a true sense of acceptance and openness you can't find anywhere else. I have been overweight and not athletic for most of my life, but someone with any body type or level of athleticism can play as long as they're willing to work hard at it. It truly is a team sport, and it made me realize how strong I was." — r45d940aec

27. Playing the Violin (or Whatever Makes You Happy)

"I started playing the violin, which is the thing I love most, much more. It brought me so much happiness, which boosted my confidence. So, my advice is: do stuff that makes you happy, whatever it it is. You can do it. You have an awesome body that does everything it can to keep you alive, and you are a miracle." — lisah4ca0a0d8a
hf.ozcelik / Via instagram.com

"I started playing the violin, which is the thing I love most, much more. It brought me so much happiness, which boosted my confidence. So, my advice is: do stuff that makes you happy, whatever it it is. You can do it. You have an awesome body that does everything it can to keep you alive, and you are a miracle." — lisah4ca0a0d8a

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Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Body Positivity Week is a week of content devoted to exploring and celebrating our complicated relationships with our bodies. Check out more great Body Positivity Week content here.

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