The picture above is taken of me at the beach in Florida. I was 22 weeks pregnant, here. I didn’t feel any weirdness in a bathing suit. I felt really, really comfortable.
The question of, “how do you learn to love your body?”, was posed to me by one of my girlfriends. And, it’s such a good one.
5 years ago I wouldn’t have known how to write this blog. Today, I’m not sure I’ll do it justice, but I hope that I can give some insights into my journey that has been “learning” to love my body.
I almost hate to use the word ‘learning’ because I wish it didn’t have to be this way.
I wish we didn’t have to teach ourselves HOW to love ourselves. But, this was my reality and I know it is to be the case for many of you reading, too.
What is loving your body?
I’ve been through phases in my life where I’ve been pretty comfortable in my body, seriously uncomfortable in my body, and FULLY at home in my body.
These days I feel lucky to live in the ‘fully at home in my body’ place, but let me tell you, I’ve spent many more years in the ‘pretty comfortable’ and ‘seriously uncomfortable’ places throughout my pre-teens/teens/and early twenties.
Personally, when I think of what ‘loving your body’ means, these words come up:
What does it mean for you?
It doesn’t have anything to do with what my body shape LOOKS like. This took me years to “get”.
I was of the mindset for so long that I’d be able to love my body when my abs looked like ________, and my legs looked like _________, and my arms looked like __________.
Fortunately, that’s not true.
I want to continue teaching myself how to love my body regardless of it’s shape. I want YOU to continue teaching yourself how to love your body regardless of it’s current shape.
Actually, scratch that. I want you and I to continue teaching ourselves how to love our bodies BECAUSE of their current shapes.
What is NOT loving your body?
If you’re feeling some stress about your body, you might be familiar with these things:
• Pulling and poking at your body parts. Wishing you could suck the fat or muscle off one part and transport it to another
• Telling yourself you’re ugly, fat, too skinny, too tall, too short – whatever the word of the day may be
• Constantly wishing and hoping your body would look differently
• Being afraid to gain weight, fat, muscle, etc
• Stressing about the size of clothes you’re wearing or how many pounds the scale says you weigh
• Obsessing about calories, macros, how many grams of protein/fat/carbs are in every single bite you take
• Being a slave to your workout schedule
• Feeling guilt from missing a workout, or from eating more than your allotted amount
Ugh. Been there. I’ve felt all of these so many times before. It’s zero fun. It’s so draining. It takes up so much mental space and mental energy.
It’s almost all you can think about.
The good news? You don’t have to be plagued by these thoughts. They don’t have to run your body and your life.
How do you start learning to love your body?
Here are 7 steps to put in place TODAY that can help you start loving your body as it is, right now (not 6 months or a year from now).
1). Talk to yourself like you’d talk to your best friends, sister, daughter, etc.
Just notice how you speak to yourself. Are you lifting yourself up? Are you putting yourself down?
You deserve to be spoken to with respect and love, don’t you? You do 🙂 Speak to yourself that way, just as you would speak to those you love.
2). Look at yourself. I mean really look at yourself and hold the gaze of your body.
Stop looking away. Get comfortable looking at your body. Get comfortable looking the parts of your body that you might not be currently jazzed with.
Say something nice to yourself about those parts and let yourself feel the compliment.
3). Buy/wear clothes that you are totally comfortable in, regardless of their size.
Seriously, do this. Schedule in a shopping date with yourself. Take a good few hours.
Don’t worry about the size. If you thought you’d be a smaller size but they’re not fitting well, go for the size up. No stress. It’s just a number.
Buy a few pieces (or a lot of pieces) that you feel incredible in.
4). Ditch your goal weight, the scale, and the measuring tape.
Immediately. Stop this.
I tell my coaching clients that they can return to the scale and the measuring tape if they WANT, when they have no emotional attachment or expectation to what the numbers will say.
You won’t be jumping for joy and you won’t beat yourself up. You’ll see the number and be unfazed.
Side note: if you never get to this place, it’s all good. I will NEVER be a person who weighs and measures herself – and life is so much better because of that.
5). Thank you body
This is something I repeat to myself, often. When I’m working out. When I’m trying on bathing suits. When I’m eating food.
These are things I’m ABLE to do. How lucky is that?
6). Stop reading food labels
I know, I know. You’ve been taught this is a good “healthy habit”.
I think this can get us trapped in tricky waters, though. We start obsessing over the exact calories, how much sugar is in this much of a serving size…but who eats the allotted serving size anyways?!
I’ll sometimes read food labels for the specific ingredients, but I never look at the fat, protein, or grams of sugar. Again, create some ease here around eating.
7). Know that it’s ok to think LESS about your body. It’s going to feel weird.
This is something I hear from my coaching gals when they get started on their journey to loving their body:
“Is it ok that I’m not thinking about my body that much? I’m not even thinking about food and exercise that much!”
YES! This is a beautiful thing. You just eat. You just exercise. You thank your body, you say some nice things to yourself and you move along.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. None of this does. We’ve been taught to fear our bodies. To be obsessive over it’s shape. To be in a state of wanting to constantly change it.
It’s completely fine to not give any eff’s about any of this stuff. Actually, I’d encourage it 😉
So, what’s the secret to all this loving your body business?
You have to start. You have to practice. You have to do it everyday.
It’s like building muscle or improving your fitness level. It will take some effort. But, eventually, you’ll be in maintenance mode where it won’t much thought at all.
I want to share with you what one of my reader’s said about how she learned to love her body because it’s SO powerful:
“I started to look at myself through my husband’s eyes, how he ACTUALLY sees me, rather than how I thought he must see me after the changes my pregnancies made to my body.
Realizing that he wasn’t judging my fleshy tummy or my lumpy scar tissue from my c-sections…he just wanted to be near me. He truly just wanted a happy wife who wanted to be near him, that’s all.
I’m not trying to impress anyone…because the only person I want to impress, is already impressed! And honestly, his support has truly helped me accept my body and love my body and work to get strong and healthy rather than just focusing on getting back my own perceived “attractiveness”.
Also, my daughter. She’s perfect. And I never want her to hear me saying negative things about my body, because chances are she’s going to end up with a very similar build and I want her to be proud of herself always.” (From Colette)
Incredible. My hope is that this can be your reality, too.