How loving your body, lumps, bumps and all can improve your health
I hear it all the time, Kate it’s easy for you to love your body. You don’t look like this (pointing down to a tummy that maybe doesn’t qualify as a #instamodel). I will love my body when I am a size X or X kgs or can run X kms in X minutes.
Sorry lovely, but it doesn’t work like that.
You have tried hating yourself thin/fit/healthy for how long now? How has the restriction, deprivation and body loathing worked you for you on your health journey?
When appearance is more important than just about everything in our culture, I get it’s freaken hard to love your body when you don’t fit the mold.
But health, true down to the core improvements in your health, that are sustainable, need to come from a place of love and respect of that wicked vessel. Not from a place of self loathing.
We learn about food and our bodies from the culture we live in. From our parents and their beliefs, from the media and its disordered projection of how we should look. It shapes the way we think about food.
In the diet mentality, our food choices are made on the way they will shape our body, not nourish our tummy and mind. In diet mentality, we need to eat and move in a way that will control our weight. When weight or body shape isn’t controlled in the way we are hoping, the restriction belt gets tightened a notch or two and the screams from our body to please feed me are will-powered out of us.
Fat is bad, thin is good right? Regardless of the impact it has on your mental and physical health, do what I need to do to be thin.
Waiting for your body to look better before you could possibly love it is a vicious cycle.
Your happiness and health are not dependent on your size, even if you may still think they are.
Consider for a moment the happiest moments in your life. Did they have anything to do with your dream body? For me, some of my happiest moments have been in a larger body. Meeting my babies for the first time. The moment I realised I was in love with my now hubby. Those misty childhood memories. I was living in a larger body for all of those moments.
And it is a common distortion that being in a smaller body will make you healthier. Maybe it will but maybe that smaller body is a result of severe restriction, excessive exercise and some pretty nasty self-talk. Maybe that smaller body spends half her waking hours researching, counting and scrutinising food. Maybe that smaller body has been shaped with diet pills, bought he over the counter type or the appetite controlling illicit substances that are ever so popular among teens type. Maybe that smaller body hasn’t had a period for 2 years or is losing hair and blacking out from a lack of nourishment. Declaring that weight and health are aligned is problematic for a number of reasons.
Our consistent behaviours are the biggest indicator of our health and gorgeous, weight is not a behaviour.
You can still do “all the right things” and still not see the scales move. When we focus on the weight as a measure of success or failure and the scales don’t budge despite our best efforts we are likely to fall into the throw in the towel, fuck it, this isn’t working, pass me the whole cheesecake kind of thinking.
Women are taught from a very early age to hate their bodies. Self-objectification is a bitch. Far too many girls and women are victims to it. Self-objectification is when we go through our lives picturing ourselves being looked at. Not thinking about how well our body works, not how it functions how strong, smart, kind we are but how we look to other people. We are objectified by ourselves and others as shapes, not as thinking, feeling beings but as how big or small we are.
It keeps us defeated, focusing on our body at the expense of everything else, especially our health.
When you start to see past the shape of your body and appreciate it for exactly what it is you can start to truly look after your health.
When we can see past the shape of our body we can honour our hunger. Honour those biological cues to nourishing yourself instead of continually fighting and attempt to work on that willpower.
When we can see past our body shape we can partake in movement that feels amazing. We are far more likely to develop consistent healthy habits that will improve our health. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “I’m too fat” or “not fit enough” to exercise.
When we can see past the shape of our body we can enjoy (not indulge in) a bowl of ice cream or a vanilla slice without being terrified of what it will do to our thighs. When we have that unconditional permission to eat, food is not so tempting anymore. It doesn’t feel like the confectionary isle is a magnet anymore. You can actually create brain space for something other than how to not eat the chocolate.
When you see past the shape of your body, you can start to see it for exactly the freaken miracle you it is. You see with fresh eyes that the binge restrict cycle you have been on for forever, is because you have hated your body so much. You have hated it so much that it had to change. You diet, until you can’t diet anymore and hey presto you binge. That cycle is like the energiser bunny until you decide enough is enough.
You have tried hating yourself thin/fit/healthy. How has it worked out for you? Maybe time to try something else.
That body shame you have been carrying around for just about your whole life, doesn’t have to rule the roost. It doesn’t have to stop you getting your swimming costume on or going for that job interview or taking a leap of faith. You don’t have to restrict or binge, you can go and face those thoughts and beliefs head on.
You can learn how to connect with your body and be empowered and happy by the decisions you make for your health, not for the size of your jeans. When we can see past the shape of our body and we can see past that vison of how other people view us we can be free. Free from diets, free from body shame and free to get out there and live!
When you find connection and pride in your body you find peace.
As the amazing Taryn Brumfitt says your body is a vehicle to your dreams not an ornament. It’s here for our own enjoyment, our own experience, not to simply look good. I want to be remembered for so much more than my abs or whether or not I had a thigh gap. Finding value and fulfillment in ourselves that has nothing to do with our weight and shape is so incredibly empowering.
Empowered women, empower women and we desperately need more of that.
Tips for loving your body today
Recognise the negative thoughts – most of these thoughts go unrecognised. These thoughts are not only habitual, but they are unquestioned. We never challenge ourselves when it comes to the inner mean girl. You can’t change something if you don’t know it’s a problem.
Write down a list of 20 things that make you amazing that have nothing to do with how you look.
For every negative thought you have about your body, list in your head 5 things that make your body amazing. Refer to you list above when stuck.
Write yourself a love letter apologising for all the unhealthy things you have done. You check mine out here.
Learn about Intuitive Eating. It really is the bridge between the diet/binge/ restrict cycle and letting it all go to shit.
Grab a free copy of The Wonder Woman Method's Guide to Diet Freedom to get started today!