Seems easy to some, but loving your body is a daily challenge and task that many women beat themselves up about. I’ve been there, I feel your daily pain, and I want to share with you 5 steps that will help you grow to love your body, just the way you are!
It’s highly understood why we women have such a difficult time accepting ourselves and the bodies we have. Could it be the media that surrounds us, only showcasing pictures of the most perfect of bodies (all that have been photoshopped, by the way) and the best scenarios? Or the endless magazines and blog posts sharing “secrets” to a skinnier this or flatter that? It’s almost inevitable to become so saturated with the fantasies of what women should look like that we begin to demand this perfection of our own bodies.
But let me tell you this…Life is far too short to allow media and internet and everything else that’s out there keep you from finding peace and even LOVE for your body!
Over the last few years, as I’ve grown to discover what it means to actually live a healthy lifestyle, I’ve also discovered what it takes to actually LOVE your body. So naturally I desire this for you, too, as I know you’re desire is for this as well.
Step 1: Accept the POWER!
You have POWER over your healthy choices, yes, but more importantly you have POWER over your THOUGHTS! As you go through your day, try to be mentally aware of the personal thoughts that pass through your brain. Are they positive? Or are they negative? Accept your power over your thoughts and consciously give yourself more compliments throughout the day instead of beating yourself up about your body.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
Step 2: Eat to Love
Love is kindled oftentimes by taking care of another person. The same is true for your body. If you don’t take care of your body, how do you expect to find yourself loving it? Be mindful with eating and eat to fuel, not to satisfy a craving or emotional need. Though food is oftentimes seen as the means to stress relief, eating to meet an emotional need will more likely cause deeper distress within. When the focus is not on pleasure (though food is definitely pleasureful), but instead is on fuel for cellular and full body function, you’ll find a greater appreciation for all that your body can accomplish.
Step 3: Get rid of the scale
Why let a number on the scale determine how you feel about your day? A scale can easily turn into a clutch as you seek to get down to or stick to a specific weight. But the truth? You can be still strive to be healthy without the help (more like hurt) of a scale. Get rid of that scale, girlfriend, and stick to more mindful methods to tell you that you’re feeling healthy. Methods like how your body feels, the energy you have, how your clothes fit, compliments from others. So often I even find myself feeling good in my skin, feeling good in my clothes, and hearing good things from other people, but then the second I step on a scale I may get discouraged because of prior expectations I have had for being a certain “number”. Get rid of those expectations. Don’t be a number! Just be YOU!
Step 4: Spend time in devotion and meditation
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” Psalm 103:1
It’s impossible to not love your body when you know its true purpose. It’s purpose is not to be the most stylish or fit or crunchy granola person. It’s not meant to be a key focus for all the things you do. Your body’s purpose is so much bigger than this! It’s meant to serve, and live, and love! With this in mind, there is freedom to eat well and exercise because it keeps the body strong and able. But also gives freedom to live life with a love and passion so much greater than what can be achieved with an inward focus on whether you feel skinny enough or tan enough or fit enough. The best way to change your focus from an inward (me) focus to an outward (others) focus is by spending time in devotion and meditation. Whatever you believe, beginning a day with a calm and restful spirit that determines to love your body will not only change how you feel about yourself (which is important), but will also change how you take care of yourself. You’ll find yourself choosing better quality foods and whole ingredients over processed items and you’ll WANT to spend time walking or running or getting active however you choose! It’s a beautiful thing, being at peace with your body, and it starts from within.
Step 5: Stay true to your girlfriends
This is probably the BIGGEST step to finding a love for your body! Keeping close girlfriends whom you can share every thought and struggle with is key to finding freedom with yourself. Laugh together, eat together, do life together. Be there for each other when things are good and happy, but also when times are tough and sad. The key to me finding peace with my body and with food came when I was in close community with good friends. Friends who encouraged me and prayed with me and helped me along the path of recovering from disordered eating and body image. So here’s the challenge: be real with your friends and let them be real with you.
I know this isn’t the easiest thing…TRUST ME! I’ve been there, and I know that developing a true love for all things about you takes time. But it IS possible! And believe me, the most beautiful thing in the world is a woman at peace with the way she looks.