If you’ve never been on one of our hikes before, you might wonder what makes EYCZ different, and what “body positive” hiking is all about anyway? Today I’ll be breaking down what drives us, and what you can expect at a body positive hike that’s different from other hiking groups.
What is body positivity?
Body positivity is a tricky concept to define, but there are some things that we can all agree on.
We live in a society where there is immense pressure to conform to a certain size, shape, and have other physical characteristics that are considered “good looking”. When people don’t fit that size or shape, it is expected that we should diet and exercise, and use makeup, hair product and even surgery until we do fit that expectation.
Body positivity comes out of the fat acceptance movement, and aims to help people overcome dissatisfaction with their bodies, so they can lead happier and more productive lives. At EYCZ, we are all about accepting that our bodies are unique and realistic, and furthermore, they are amazing and powerful just the way they are.
We want to throw out the guilt of “good” and “bad” food, throw diet talk in the bin, and take away any obligation that you might feel from “having” to get active.
We want our members, and everyone else, to know that we are not broken, our bodies are enough. They are whole, and powerful and capable of amazing things. We are not a project to be fixed. We accept you all as you are.
The outdoors doesn’t care what you look like, and neither do we!
So what is different about body positive hiking?
We aim to be an open group for every woman and gender diverse person who wants to get outdoors but doesn’t know where to start. Many groups are fantastic places for people who are already hiking or having outdoor adventures regularly to meet each other, but we aim to be a starting point.
The majority of our hikes are beginner friendly, and usually take between 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours to complete. We don’t focus on how many kilometres you’ve done, because more often than not, our hikers are capable of much more than they think!
We always go at the pace of the slowest hiker, and there is never any rush to the finish on one of our hikes. We expect and plan for lots of stops along the way, to take selfies and point out the mushrooms and animals we meet along the trail. I’ve heard from some of our members that when they’ve been on hikes with other groups, the hike was promoted with the expectation that they would support the slowest hiker, but found themselves rushed along. At EYCZ we take the need to support everyone at their own pace really seriously – you’ll find a leader at the rear of each of our hikes, chatting to the person who is taking their time.
We also have First Steps hikes as short as 2km, designed for women and gender diverse people who experience chronic pain, injury, are exercising for the very first time or need particular emotional support. We want these to be as open to as many people as possible – if you’re not sure if a First Steps hike is for you, or need particular supports in place to go on a First Steps hike, contact us and we will chat with you about your situation.
We enjoy the experience of being outdoors, caring for our physical and mental health through reconnecting with the natural world. It means we build friendships with people we would never have met otherwise – one of the things I cherish most is the diversity of age in our group, and the ability to connect with people way outside my normal social ‘bubble’.
Escaping Your Comfort Zone hikes want you to feel that no matter your size, skin colour, where you were born, your religion, your favourite song to dance to, who you’re attracted to, your disability or anything else, your body will never be seen by us as a problem to solve, but rather as an individual person who is on your own journey and wants to have adventures along the way.
Would you like to give body positive hiking a go? Check us out!
Canberra – Facebook
Sydney – Facebook
Are you on Instagram? So are we! Check us out at @escapingyourcomfortzone