A different approach to loving your body
What if I told you that your body was perfect just the way it was? It might be easy to dismiss this and not believe it. You might even think that you’d be happier once you lost those 15 pounds, shrink in size, or perhaps even gain some muscle. THEN you’d love your body, but telling yourself “I’ll be happier and healthier when I like what I see in the mirror” is the biggest myth of our time. You’re not alone in this belief. In fact a shockingly 86% of women don’t like their bodies, and 92% of girls don’t like at least one part of their body. This study includes individuals of all shapes and sizes, and men were no exception.
The shame you feel about your body is tied to the belief that your value and happiness is correlated to your weight. I’m not saying that you can’t focus on being healthy, more so, reminding you that emotional health is an equal part of the equation. Health begins by being kind to yourself. Following diet culture trends will instead have you fixate on your physical appearance at the expense of yourself. Diets will make you feel better about yourself when you consistently deprive yourself and worse when you “cheat on yourself”. “Why can’t I just get it right?” you ask. But body image is deeper than skin deep. Instead ask how do you feel about yourself? How do you treat your body?
The good news is that you have the freedom to make your own choices instead of following meaningless rules about what your body needs to look like. Think beyond about what your body looks like.
Let’s begin by appreciating what your body can do.
We are living breathing organisms. Our cells replicate themselves and we have 50-70 BILLION cells turn over per day. Our bodies are a powerhouse and they allow us to see, taste, hear, smell, and feel the world.
Our bodies are faithful and they love us.
So the next time you look at yourself and point out a body part you don’t like I want you to pause and try the following exercise:
Take a deep breath in.
Close your eyes.
Place your hands on that body part that might need some extra attention. (Maybe it’s your stomach, arms, or thighs). I want you to think about all the hurtful things you have ever said about this body part.
No need to feel guilt or shame- instead as your hands continue to be on this body part, feel some compassion for it. You can say, “I know we have been through a lot and we have had a lot of expectations.”
Think about all the ways this body part helps you on a daily basis. Maybe you shift from seeing your arms as “big and awful” and instead think about how strong they are as you hold your child or your loved ones. Your thighs are now two parallel towers providing structure to your body. They allow you to get from one place to another as you navigate life. Your stomach is constantly creating powerful enzymes and breaking down food.
Continue to think of this body part and all that it does for you. Show it some love back. Take a deep breath once again. As you continue radiating love and compassion to this body part tell it, “I want to treat you the way you deserve to be treated”. Stay with that as long as you need to.
Remember, your body loves you and you are allowed to love it back. Continue to form this bond with your body and remind it that “we are in this together”.