3 Ways to Love Your Body
01 August 2016
As women, our relationships with our bodies are more often than not dysfunctional at best. With big money making diet and cosmetic industries barking at our heels, loving our bodies is no stroll in the park. It’s especially hard when our friends complain about their bodies, and our moms have been on diets since we were in diapers. This need for the perfect body is ingrained so early in life, and so it becomes such a huge part of any women (and even men)’s lives.
But this is a matter of life. When we don’t feel comfortable in our bodies—our natural bodies—we deny our spirits everything from dancing to delicious food to lustful abandon. We miss out on all the sensuality and joy that life offers. And we deserve to have it all, irrespective of the shape or size of our body. Look after your body and nourish it with good foods yes, but do that for the right reasons! Don’t make it about changing your body – that is merely a by-product of healthy living – it should never be the core focus!
We need to learn to love our bodies, flaws and all! (Why are they even flaws to begin with?)
So, in the spirit of Women’s month, here are seven ways to fight the pressure, and practice the new art of loving your body… just the way it is.
Think Inside OUT
When you picture your body, do you think about your heart, your brain, your kidneys? Probably not. More than likely, you think about your thighs, your hair, your stomach.
Because our society places so much emphasis on appearance, and so little on our inner selves, the balance between the two has been thrown off. Have you ever had an upset stomach, a rash, or a giant zit because you were stressed? Has your heart literally hurt when you experienced emotional pain? We forget that our bodies are simply the canvasses upon which our internal conditions express themselves.
For many women, controlling our appetites or looks gives us a false sense of control over our lives. As long as we can focus on “fixing” ourselves, we can avoid thinking about the fact that we’re unhappy, or that we have unmet needs we’re afraid to address. I often have clients tell me that they’re scared to stop dieting because they’ll ‘eat themselves into a coma. But what they’re really afraid of is the tremendous amount of feeling that would come up – the feelings they would actually have to face – head on!
Feelings are made up of energy, which flows through our bodies. Compulsive eating and dieting blocks that flow, repressing the feelings we don’t want to deal with. We need to engage the mind and body in a conversation.
The places where we feel heavy are often where we hold in feelings. Instead of doing 200 crunches when your stomach seems to be sticking out, ask yourself what it’s telling you? A heavy feeling may mean there’s a build-up of energy or feelings there. Instead of dieting to ‘fix’ it, try to understand what the energy means, or how it’s serving you.
When you think negative thoughts about your body, try instead to do something that will help you feel more in touch with it. Talk a walk, write down your feelings, breathe, sing. Getting energy moving restores the flow. Even if it leaves us crying and raging, we have to get it out and let life happen. Extra weight can also be a result of repressed emotion – so let it all out, confront your emotions and work on yourself from the inside out.
Stop Criticizing Others
Sadly, as women, we can be our own worst critics. But consider the toll this has on sisterhood—and on you. Criticizing another woman’s looks makes you look and feel totally insecure. It also makes you paranoid—if you do it to them, you’ll automatically assume they’re doing it to you. Dogging each other keeps us divided, and therefore defeated.
Besides, we all have a unique beauty to cultivate, regardless of our size. Let’s start thinking of ourselves as authentic beings. So what if we don’t look like a fashion magazine model - no one else has our genetics. So let’s start trying to be best “me” that we can!
Stop regarding other women as enemies. It’s not a competition. By working toward self-acceptance, and checking ourselves when we find insecurity flaring up, we will be more open and able to appreciate the individual beauty in other women, as well as in ourselves.
Healthy Comes in many shapes and sizes
Although many people argue that being fat is unhealthy, this is not necessarily true. Weight-related health problems often stem from a history of “yo-yo dieting. Losing weight also causes you to lose muscle tissue. The heart, which is a muscle, is affected by drastic fluctuations. Regaining weight suddenly also puts tremendous pressure on your heart.
Furthermore, diets tell your body that food is scarce. Your body reacts by holding onto its fat, and in turn your metabolism can get thrown out of whack. In the long run, your system winds up in worse shape.
Bottom line: Healthy people come in every size. There are plenty of “bigger” people who are active and “in shape,” and plenty of skinny folks who are “smaller” but unhealthy. In this case, it’s what’s inside that truly counts. Stop making your health about the shape of your body…your health is so much more than that. Leading a healthy lifestyle should be about building longevity and vitality for yourself, NOT to be thin! Focus on your health NOT on the size of your body.
You are responsible for taking care of yourself—and this may mean adding some activity and healthy foods into your life. But to neglect your inner self and favour your body is a waste of your gifts.
Yours in Health Always,