Back when I was a chronic dieter, I had a temporary mechanism to cope with the panic and overwhelming hatred I would feel for my body.
There were days when all of a sudden I would be consumed with hatred. It would seemingly come out of nowhere. I would see my reflection in a store window, or catch a glimpse of some fat “bulging” out of my shorts as I was in downward dog. And I would panic.
I would cry and worry and worry and worry about how I could make myself thinner RIGHT NOW.
After a while, I would be able to calm myself down. Not by reassuring myself that I was making healthy choices. Not by telling myself I was nurturing my body. By ignoring it. I would tell myself
I’ll just ignore my body until it’s the way that I want. I won’t look in the mirror or think about my body until my thighs stop touching and my belly is flat.
So, instead of feeling constant body-hate, I was in a state of body-denial.
Consciously choosing to ignore my body because the thought of acknowledging and accepting it was overwhelming and scary.
I compartmentalized my body-hate and ignored my body instead of embracing my body.
Your body deserves to be loved, acknowledged and embraced. Not ignored.
Now, I’m a firm believer in the magic of loving the body you have no matter what. This doesn’t mean that you like your body 100% of the time (although that would be ideal), but it does mean that you LOVE your body 100% of the time.
That you embrace your body 100% of the time.
Here are four tips to start working toward embracing your body as it is right now:
Focus on all of the things you can do.
Whenever you get distracted by something you less-than-love about your body, shift your focus to what that body part allows you to do. Even now, when I see myself in pictures, I’m drawn to my thighs and how big they look. For a split second my stomach turns and I start to hate on them, but then I remember all of the amazing things they allow me to do. Like squat heavy weight, run and dance. All things I love to do and that I wouldn’t be able to do without my thighs.
Remind yourself that you’re on your way.
That your actively working toward your goals by fueling and nourishing your body with whole foods. It might take longer than you expect to reach your goals, but you ARE making forward progress. When you start to feel lost or like you’re not sure if you’re on the right path, think of three things that are going really well–like choosing whole foods 80% of the time, or being able to acknowledge when you’re emotionally eating. Write these things down and refer to them often.
Find ways to gauge your progress that have nothing to do with that specific body part you tend to less-than-love.
Like getting stronger in the gym, clearing your skin or being more flexible. Concentrating on a health goal that has nothing to do with that body part may help you continue to feel positive about your forward progress. For example: (not to harp on the thighs, but…) I tend to focus on my skin as an indicator of my health. When I have clear skin, I know that my body is working well– that it’s nourished and strong. So I focus on striving for clear skin rather than thinner thighs.
Shift your focus from weight to health.
Everything changes when you honestly shift your focus from weight to health. You can read more about that here.
What’s one thing you can do today to start embracing your body? Please share in the comments!