12 Ways To Love Your Body
We live in a culture that spends billions of dollars on diets and idealizes the perfect body. Everywhere we turn, we have images of what we should look like — a model. I bought into that image hook line and sinker. I thought that the only way to love my body was to look like those models in the magazines and the movie stars.
Then one year, I made the leap to loving my body. Now, I say leap, but it wasn’t that at all, it was a step-by-step journey. Creating a positive relationship with my body was a process, and it’s a process that I want to invite you to explore. Because honestly, loving the body you are in is so very much more fun than hating it.
After years of feeling like I just wasn’t good enough and looking for another way — after having kids and knowing I wanted them to have a better relationship with their body than I did, after years of yoga and self-study — I stepped to the other side…I stepped into the 3% of women who actually accept their body.
Here are 12 ways I learned to love my body:
Stop the negative dialogue
Bring awareness to how you talk to your body; “I look disgusting”, “I feel fat”, “I look old”. The only way to stop the self-hatred, is to shine a light on it. The more awareness you bring to your negative body talk, the more you can change it.
Stop believing that a dress size will bring you happiness
Postponing your life until you become thinner, fitter or “healthier” is a way of procrastinating happiness. We do believe that if we look better, our world and life will automatically improve. Isn’t what they have sold us in a number of movies? I’m sorry to break it to you; it is a lie. You will be happy only when you decide it to be.
Spend 24 hours without criticising your body
How often have you caught yourself in the mirror and felt unhappy with what you saw? How often have you criticised that person? See if for 24 hours you can interrupt the automatic negative-talk pattern and start to create a positive critic-free dialogue with yourself.
Delete old body pictures
Do you know that picture you compare yourself to? Maybe you were thinner, and you wish you could go back there; maybe you were in a larger body, and you are terrified to fall back into old habits. Either way, that picture isn’t serving you. Delete!
Stop focusing on your body and do something fun
Do you know that there is a life happening out there? Do you know that you can still travel, learn a language, hang out with your friends, read a book, start a business, join a yoga class even if your body’s size doesn’t change or increase?
Go out there and experience the world.
Every night, list 3 things you are grateful for. Waking up next to your child? Smelling the aroma of coffee in the streets while walking to work? The kind smile of a colleague, or an old song that you love on the radio? Pay attention to the small things, sink into the pleasure of the mundane. Live. Don’t underestimate the power of noticing every tiny blessing.
Take care of yourself
What do you need right now? A massage? A holiday? To write down your thoughts? Maybe a warm bath or some time for yourself? Whatever self-care means to you, implement it into your daily routine. Don’t procrastinate, and book in time for yourself in your diary.
Leave the scale, the fitness trackers, and the calorie counters behind
We do give numbers so much power. I need to log in 10,000 steps a day, I need to work out for at least 30 minutes (and not a minute less), I have to weigh less than …. Numbers are just numbers, and all the external tools don’t know a thing about your life and your needs. Leave them behind if you want to move forward.
I’m sure you have compared to someone else — and then end up feeling bad about yourself. Instead of spending useless time comparing your life, body, and situation to someone you don’t know (let’s be real here, it’s impossible to know even our sister or best friend entirely), bring self-compassion to your life. Such a better way to spend your time.
Even if you don’t have the body you have always dreamt of, dress up! Even if you spend a day doing nothing, dress up! And dressing up means wearing nice, comfy clothes that make you feel happy and in tune with your body. Sometimes it’s enough to wear a bit of lipstick or some mascara.
What movement do you like the most? If you didn’t have to gain muscles, lose weight, get fitter…what would you do? What do you really enjoy?
We have forgotten that we have a choice when it comes to moving our body. If Jane Fonda is your spirit animal, I invite you to embrace it fully
Tune in with your menstrual/lunar cycle
We are not meant to give our 100% and be social every day of the month. Respect your monthly cycle and the ever-changing seasons. Embrace rest when you need it, and movement when you crave it. Eat light food when you don’t have a strong appetite and have a second serving when you are hungry or when something tastes good. Let go of guilt. Sleep soundly. Have fun, rest in between.
Be f.. awesome!
Claudia is a Qualified Nutrition & Dietetic Consultant (BHSC) specialised in hormonal balance, women’s health, and disorder eating behaviors. She sees clients online and in clinical practice; you can find more about her or the Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery program by following her on Instagram, Facebook, or by checking her website.