Hello beautiful reader!
I originally wrote this back in 2018 about 6 months ago, but, I wasn’t ready to share myself with the world. But, I know I should now. This idea helped me when I was down and feeling bad about myself. So if you struggle with a positive body image, as so many women (and men) do, maybe it will help you too.
Firstly, a positive body image is not just about loving the way you look it’s about aligning your mind and body so that you feel and look great. You can’t look after one and neglect the other. Your health goals should not be directly linked to a number. They may incorporate some, but, set your goals to a feeling instead. Get into the habit of asking yourself questions like; do I feel happy? Do I feel healthy? Do I have more energy? Could I feel better?
I am a yo-yo dieter. In the past, when I hit a specific weight I would congratulate myself with something delicious. Like pizza or that chicken- tandoori pie etc. “I can handle it I’m looking good” I always think. Then “Womp, Womp, Whahhhh” the weight starts to sneak back on. It wasn’t until I focused on how I feel, both mentally and physically, that the healthy living stuck.
I wrote most of this article before I had come to terms with the mind-body alignment idea. This was part of the journey of getting there. To set the scene I was having a topsy-turvy week, as I originally put it. I had been sick most of the winter, I was learning how to start an online business and I wasn’t enjoying my day-job.
Then, I rediscovered my Yoga practice. As part of this, I was asked to complete the sentence “What I love about my body…”.
I was stuck looking down at my podgier, unhealthy body. I didn’t want to lie to myself. I wanted to honestly love my body. Then I had an ‘AHA’ moment. Get creative! My body is an intricate vessel that contains me and dammit if I’m not going to find 7 things I love about myself.
Here are my 7 things I came up with:
- I love a wide range of healthy, delicious foods and I love trying new foods. I know I said earlier about the chicken-tandoori pie and pizza, but, honestly what I was eating was not the main issue. It was how much I was eating (and drinking) and the lack of exercise.
- I don’t have many allergies. Apart from some Band-Aids, I’m good. (knock on wood)
- I love that I have started to look at the positive aspects of life and focus more on solutions than problems.
- I love my taste in music. Anything poetic, but, mainly rock and roll. If you’re in a musical mood check out our post 14 Songs Celebrating Positive Body Image.
- This one was pushing it as I struggle with adult acne but I love that I have youthful skin. I got/still am a bit obsessed with wrinkle prevention and having the oily skin of a normal teenager, this definitely helps.
- I love that I feel at home in nature.
- The last one is a bit more personal, but, we are all grown-ups here. I love that I don’t have terrible period cramps.
How do YOU apply this to yourself to love your body more?
- Write down 7 things you love about your body, like my list above. Be honest and if you need to be creative & think a little broader. There are lots of things you can find to love yourself without having to ‘fake’ telling yourself you love your thighs etc. (If you struggle to do this in one sitting, stretch it out over the week. Add a new thing to your list every day).
- Every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep read your list of 7 things for 7 days.
- Remind yourself of these every time you are hard on yourself.
- Congratulate yourself for working to love yourself every day you finish your list.
- Challenge yourself to keep going after the 7 days.
This activity is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. We are challenging our old negative stories and replacing them with kinder, more loving ones. You should start to feel better if you stick to this for the whole week. Keep going until it feels really natural and easy for you. The time this takes will vary from person to person. Keep at it!
When I first wrote this I struggled to find 7 things. Now that I have practiced, I don’t find it nearly as hard.
- Be curious and kind to yourself.
- Focus on how you feel not what your ‘ideal’ size/ weight would be.
- When you’re feeling ‘blah’ answer the question “I love….. about myself” creatively to find things you genuinely love about yourself.
- Remind yourself of these answers every day while you work on feeling healthier to boost your self-confidence.
- Focus on love not hate
- Align your body & mind for the ultimate feel-good life recipe.
Body image is such a big issue these days. Creating an open conversation is important to changing the norm. You wouldn’t want your daughter to say horrible things to herself.