5 Crucial Lessons On Body Positivity And Self-Love That We Learned From BJ Pascual
BJ Pascual—you either know him as the fashion photographer that celebrities, models, brands, and society personalities adore like no other, or for his recognizable work in magazines, campaigns, and digital publications.
What you won't associate with him is a tough, ongoing journey of self-acceptance and a past riddled with moments of lingering physical insecurities that resurface once in a blue moon, episodes that manage to weigh him down on especially bad days.
Who would have thought?
The lensman's social media accounts show him healthy and enjoying life, often in fashion-forward ensembles or topless outfits at the beach where he looks his absolute best. But that's the reality of his relationship with himself, BJ reveals, as he dives deep into his childhood and adolescence that he describes weren't as kind to him as his adult life is.
In an interview first published in Metro Magazine's 2019 "Body Issue," he fortunately ends this story with a happy ending. Though his journey of wellness—physical, mental, emotional, and everything in-between—can be full of ups and downs, he's made one massive realization that'll always be enough to keep him going: strive for your personal best and nothing else.
And in his very own words, he adds, "...As you get older, the less f**ks you give! And it’s better that way.”
It's a mantra that all of us need to keep in mind, and one that comes with lots of other mental notes worthy of memorizing. Here's everything we learned about body positivity, self-love, and focusing on your own growth and no one else's from BJ himself!
Turn the hurt into motivation
On Instagram, BJ continued his reflection on self-love with a story of how his childhood peers used to call him painful names for being a kid on the heavy side. It hurt a lot in the past, but as an adult, he turned the negativity into motivation to strive to become better.
Lingering won't do you any good, but the desire to prove bullies wrong is what should come out of experiences like this.
Professional help, please
He couldn't emphasize this enough: Do not, and we repeat, do not experiment with dieting and exercise regimens in an attempt to lose as much weight as quickly as possible! Although the method may help you drop pounds, its long-term effects are unknown, but likely not very good.
The best thing you can do is consult with a personal trainer who can give you an advice on the proper pace in which you should be working out (and what kind of exercises to do), as well as how you can transition to clean eating habits for sustainable results.
The keyword is "process"
BJ looks amazing these days, but he wants everyone to know that his is a body that was literally five years in the making.
Don't be discouraged if results of your switch to healthy living don't yield noticeable results on the get-go; it takes time for your body to respond, and on your part, patience and perseverance. And even after achieving the results he wanted, BJ also comes clean about maintenance; reaching your body goals means having to stick to the pattern that got you there—there's no place for complacency and falling back on old habits!
Get to know yourself
It's totally acceptable to find inspiration from others, but what truly matters at the end of the day is getting to know yourself: what your body's strengths and weaknesses are, your assets and areas of improvement. It's the only way for you to know which areas to target and what issues to address; otherwise, you might be wasting valuable efforts on things that your body won't respond to as efficiently, or doesn't need at all!
Set attainable goals
At the end of the day, we must never forget that we're stll bound by certain limitations. That's not to say that we can never attain our dream bodies, only that we should set attainable goals that we can actually reach (in healthy, manageable ways), rather than strive for things that are close to impossible and could set us up for disappointment.
Like many people have said before, BJ says it again, from experience: everyone and every body is different. The whole point of getting healthy is not to fit into a certain mold, but to end up with a body and mindset that are healthy for you and make you proud to be you.
Check out BJ's Instagram post where he talks about his uphill climb to body love:
When I was in grade school my classmates started bullying me, calling me "pot belly" every single day until I cried, to the point where I dreaded going to school (oddly enough some of these bullies eventually became my best friends ?? love u guys haha) but since then I've always been a lot more conscious about my body. I remember wearing one of those thick workout waistbands under my uniform so I could hide my belly. I started crash dieting, yoyo dieting, and developed unhealthy eating habbits. I lost a lot of weight (and gained some) through the years but even at my "skinniest" I always had a lot of fat around my midsection. I finally decided to start working out in 2014 after a bad breakup. I thought it would take a few months to achieve my ideal body, but here I am 5 years later still going at it! Apparently getting lean is a lot trickier for "skinny fat" bodies (search "Skinny Fat Scott Herman" on youtube!) and involves a lot more discipline and time. I'll skip through the trials and errors along the way but probably the biggest realization I had is that we shouldn't force ourselves to fit a certain mold because it will most probably end up in disappointment. Everyone's bodies are different and we should learn to accept its strengths and weaknesses. Stick to a realistic goal and commit to it. There are no shortcuts. The important thing is that we do our PERSONAL best. Thank you @captainjason17, my trainer for almost two years now, for guiding me through all this! You're the best! @gracesioson for always helping me out with recipes for my meal prep, Ronnie for meticulously preparing my crazy macro counted food every day for the past 3 months, Damian for waking up early to drive me to the gym, and to my @theaiveeclinic family @draivee @drzteo @anngtirona @xtiancarreon for all the help and treatments! Long way to go but PUSH LANG! #aiveesummerbody #metrobodyissue2019
Photos from @bjpascual