This body. This vehicle that you’ve been riding around in your entire life. How do you love it? Do you show it love by beating it up in the gym? Do you restrict your diet, always telling yourself you “can’t” have this or that? Do you force it to work when it's begging for rest?
That doesn’t sound like love. But I’ve been there. I was never really satisfied with or comfortable in my body growing up, and into my late twenties. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking “good enough,” on more than one occasion. I hated the way my clothes fit and my digestion didn't work well; deciding what to eat felt like a chore. I always thought that discipline was the answer; that a workout routine and strict diet would get me the body that I wanted, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my lazy weekend mornings or frequent pizza binges, so I’d just never quite get there. Good enough was going to have to be good enough.
But body love is not about forcing your body into a shape that it’s not meant to be, or constantly skipping out on the things you enjoy for the sake of hitting a certain waist size. Body love is about loving the body you’re in, now. It’s about reconnecting to this beautiful vehicle you’ve been given, the one that’s carried you through this life, has seen everything you’ve ever done, been everywhere you’ve ever been. It knows all your secrets; it even holds some of them for you.
While diet and exercise do play a large part in body love, it may not be in the way that you think. Diet and exercise are not meant to be punishments for a body that’s not what you want it to be, they are rewards. Your body is not your enemy; you are on the same team, working together to stay healthy. And wherever you are on the fitness spectrum, you can love your body, now. And in return, your body will love you back.
The “how” comes in the form of a study on water crystals. Perhaps you’ve heard of Dr. Emoto’s research from the 1990’s. Dr. Emoto and his team experimented with the impact of positive and negative vibrations on water molecules. They played songs, read prayers, and recited positive affirmations to some of the molecules, while spouting more negative commentary at the other group. What they found was that the water in the “positive” group formed gorgeous crystals, while that in the “negative” group formed broken and disfigured crystals.
Now consider that the human body is made up of about 60% water, and think about how you’ve been talking to yours.
We rarely take time to acknowledge all that our bodies do for us. I remember speaking to a friend of mine shortly after she gave birth to her son, as she told me how much she hates her post-pregnancy belly. Hates. Even I could feel her intense dissatisfaction with this part of her body, I wondered how her belly felt about it. I told her to consider what that belly represents; how it carried and protected and nourished her baby boy! How could you hate something that was so integral to the health of your child? That was a part of something so beautiful?
Not all our body parts represent such positive memories; you might look at some and think: painful sports injury, or, that box of doughnuts I ate last week. But they are all a part of you (and that's where that reward-not-punishment thing comes in). They all support you as you tackle this world day in and day out. They’ve taken a beating, I’m sure, from different workout trends to late-night taco binges; don't even get me started on alcohol. And while they might show some wear and tear, they carry us through. So what if you stopped to thank your body? What if you acknowledged all of the systems that work together in harmony, to digest your food and pump your blood and move your muscles? What if you took a hint from Dr. Emoto and told each part how much you love it; find something to love about it and actually tell it. Out loud. Everyday. What if you even wrote positive words on your body, like, love, and thank you? What if you dressed it with comfort and respect, not trying to jam it into a different shape, but honoring it as it is now? What if your workouts were more gentle, your food more nourishing, and your rest more...restful??
What if you stopped comparing it to others and loved your body for being YOURS? For sticking with you and carrying every last bit of YOUR story, the good and the bad? For being your partner, your teammate, and not your enemy?
If your body had a message to tell you right now, what would it be? How can you honor it and become friends?
Feel like you could use some more support to mediate the relationship between you and your body? Set up a call to see how working together can help you reconnect and get comfortable in your own skin.
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