5 Ways To Start Loving Your Body Like It Deserves
In my previous blog, I shared how my relationship with my body is changing. I talked about the importance of developing a sense of positivity about my body, whatever her current size. I also shared that I had subconsciously been body shaming those who were sharing their body positivity on social media.
I was assuming other people were flaunting and revering their weight (not their body), whenever they shared a ‘body positive’ photo on Instagram. This was not only subconscious body shaming, it was also constantly telling myself that body positivity was a bad thing.
Since starting my journey of self-love, self-acceptance and body positivity towards myself, it’s expanded outwards. It has helped me to see those posting photos of their bodies on Instagram are doing it because they like their body. It’s nothing to do with the number on the scale for them.
I assumed they were glorifying their weight, but actually that is not something that even crosses the mind of someone who is body positive. They have a happy relationship with their body, whatever size it is.
To celebrate one’s body is saying nothing about one’s weight.
Here are five things I’ve acknowledged I need to do more of, in order to love myself more.
1 — Gratitude
When did you last thank your body for something it did?
I rarely showed gratitude for my body previously. I took it for granted that it carried me everywhere, that it functioned the best it could, that I could lift weights and go for walks. I just presumed that my body would always do those things.
I’ve come to realise that my body is a gift — there’s nothing to make it work like the machine it does, with little thanks. Now I make a conscious effort to express gratitude — after a workout, when I smell something amazing, whilst I taste an amazing meal.
Thanking your body for getting up in the morning, breathing for you, being able to hear birdsong, is not even about body positivity really. It’s body neutrality. If you can’t stand in front of a mirror and express gratitude for parts of your body, you can start with this neutrality.
2 — Celebrate Bodies
It’s time that we stop shaming and judging our own bodies, and those we see online, in magazines, and so on. By doing this, we empower ourselves and other women: we are, after all, way more than the fleshy parts of our bods.
Who cares what you think about a random person online?
Who cares whether you’re a similar size to them, or not?
It doesn’t matter.
If certain people trigger you to think in a body shaming way, it’s time to unfollow them. I have unfollowed a huge number of people who simply trigger me into a judgmental way of thinking. When I see the photos of some women, I allow myself to start comparing — and then judge myself negatively. When I see the photos of others, I start judging them. I now unfollow anyone who triggers me in either of those ways.
3 — Self-Care and Body Nourishment
One of my worst habits across my whole life has been oscillating between over- and under-eating. I realised that what I was feeding my body was about self-care. It’s great that I know having a bath is good self-care for me, but that’s not something I do three times per day. Self-care starts with basic nourishment of our bodies.
It’s time that we get real with our bodies, that we nourish them in the most appropriate way. You know, sometimes you’re going to fancy the doughnut or the cake, and that’s okay. I’m accepting that my body’s self-care involves not just eating healthily, but also eating what I truly want.
When you’re judging every food that enters your mouth, you don’t enjoy it. You’re not nourishing your body or your soul emotionally. You are getting caught up in how many calories everything has. This generates stress within the body, dropping us into ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is not healthy for our digestion.
Have you ever eaten, when you’re nervous? I have, and it resulted in indigestion and a lot of discomfort. My body just didn’t have the capacity to both digest effectively, and be in a stressed state.
Nourishment doesn’t just have to be about how you’re feeding your body, it can also be about moving it in ways that feel good. It’s also about touching it in ways that you enjoy, a massage, some reflexology, something sexual, whatever makes you feel good and helps to release tension.
Be led by what your body is asking for, physically and emotionally.
4 — Wear What Feels Good
How many items of clothing in your wardrobe don’t fit anymore?
My wardrobe was full of clothes that I’d ‘slim into’, and oversized jumpers that made me feel like no one could see my actual size.
I squeezed myself into uncomfortably tight jeans.
I even shopped in outlets where sizes were more ‘generous’, so that the size on the label wasn’t bigger than I wanted it to be!
We don’t deserve to squeeze into things that don’t fit, or hide in huge baggy clothing (which actually make us look bigger). Life is too short to feel physically uncomfortable.
5 — Keep A Beautiful Inside-Outside List
I have a note on my phone that is a list of all of the things I find beautiful about myself. Some are ‘inside’ things, like my intuition and empathy, others are ‘outside’ things, like my eyelashes and tattoo.
Every time I have a positive thought about myself, I add it to that list. I read my list every time I have a negative bodily thought — ideally out loud. It reinforces that there are so many positives, so why get stuck in the negative thought?!
At first your list will be short, but the more times you use it to oust those negative thoughts, you’ll increasingly find positives ‘pop up’. You’re communicating to your brain that you want more of those positive thoughts.
I feel so passionately about helping you past your body negativity because I know the impact it can have on your life.
I want you to be able to stand there and look in the mirror in the morning, to really look into your eyes and be grateful for the person that stands before you.
I am excited for you to start noticing just how powerful a machine your body is, and how it’s so much more than its shape or size. Sometimes I even go onto Wikipedia, just to discover how amazing all the organs in our bodies are — most of us have no clue how hard our liver, pancreas, spleen are working. We take function for granted, and focus on form — weight, looks, outside appearances.
It’s time that we all start focussing on what the body is doing for us, every second of every day.