I want to start this by letting you in on a little secret: Your body does not have to change for you to start loving it more.
You do not need to lose a pound, an inch, tone up an arm, reduce a wrinkle or build more muscle before you can start loving your body more.
The reason? Body love, just like any other form of self-love, is a choice that you make. It is something that comes from the inside and radiates out –not something that is based on an outer circumstance that then filters its way back in.
I Used To Hate My Body Too
I used to hate my body. When I say hate, I really mean hate. I loathed it. My stomach would flip over when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I would cry over photographs of myself. I would lament the size and shape of my thighs and belly to anyone who would sit near me long enough to listen.
All that body hatred really just sucked me down into more and more body hate. I thought that if I continued to focus on all of the things I did not like about my body, it would give me the motivation I needed to eat better and work out more and generally do the things I thought I needed to do to change my body, so that I could eventually love it.
Body Hate Never Motivates Positive Change
It never worked. I am talking about years and years of trying to hate my body into submission. One day, after a particularly rough bout of low self-esteem I thought of the saying, “if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got.” This helped me realize that all of my years of trying to hate my body into perfection had never yielded the results I wanted, and that maybe it was time to take a different approach.
Loving My Body Where It Was
This is when I decided to start loving my body, just the way it was, in this moment. Of course this was more easily said than done primarily due to the fact that I was now so used to hating my body. To make the process doable for me, I started with outward actions. I started to change a few of my self-destructive behaviours, turning them into self-constructive ones.
At first, nothing all that special happened. It was hard work not to slip into my old routine of berating myself and wanting to punish my body. However, over time as I stuck with my new habits, a miraculous thing began to happen. I started to actually feel better about my body. Nothing really changed on a physical level, but my thoughts and my emotional reactions to myself started to shift and transform.
I started to care less about what I looked like, and started to care more about how I felt. I started to love the uniqueness of my body, rather than loathing it. This process totally and completely transformed my life, which is why I want to share some of my tools with you today. It is my hope that you can start to shift how you think and feel about your body starting right here, right now – no diet required.
Body Love Action Number 1: Dress How You Want To Dress NOW, Don’t Wait For A Goal Weight Or Shape
I was always waiting until my body looked how I wanted it to look before I would give myself permission to dress how I really wanted to dress. I was constantly choosing my clothes based on what I thought would make me look ‘thin,’ rather than what I actually liked.
The other thing I always did was wear clothes that were either way to tight or way to big for me –as a way of proving I could fit into a smaller size or as a way of trying to cover everything up. Neither ever made me feel very good, and at the same time I was energetically rejecting my body all day long by wearing clothes that did not fit.
I highly encourage you to go through your closet right now, and get rid of anything that does not fit you. Then, choose new items that you actually like – don’t worry if they flatter your ‘shape’ or make you look this way or that. Wear what you feel good wearing, and wear clothes that fit you where you are right now.
Not only will you feel more comfortable this way, you will also be energetically sending your body a signal that it is safe, and that is a good thing. If you don’t want to purchase anything new, that’s okay too –just choose to wear your best fitting items that represent your personal tastes in this moment.
Body Love Action Number 2: Throw Out Your Scale – Forever
Knowing how much you weigh in a number of ways is totally useless. The number on the scale is going to fluctuate – and if you are anything like me, every time it does it is going to send you into a tailspin of thoughts, most of which are going to be negatively charged.
This is going to cause you stress, and stress is the last thing you need when you are trying to learn to love your body.
The number on the scale, at the end of the day, means nothing. How you feel inside your body is so much more important. Knowing your weight has zero benefits. If you are overweight and unhealthy, you don’t need to know the exact number of pounds you are right now to know that what you are doing is not serving your body.
Likewise, constantly weighing yourself when you are in a place of war with your body is only going to add fuel to the body fighting fire. Throw out your scale and never, ever get a new one.
Liberate yourself! It may be scary at first, but soon you will realize it was a really good choice to let it go.
Body Love Action Number 3: Move To Feel Good, Not Lose Weight
I used to kill myself working out. I worked out for hours a day, doing things I didn’t enjoy because I was sure they would give me the body I wanted eventually. Again, it never happened. Punishing myself with working out basically led me to adrenal burn out, lots of stress hormones, a messed up metabolism and a totally skewed idea of what my body actually looked like.
As soon as I stopped that madness and chose to do only exercises that I enjoyed, I began to heal. I started to actually enjoy movement, which meant it was not another thing on my list of things I had to do that day, but was a welcomed reprieve and a place to just breath, tune in with myself and enjoy the bliss of moving.
It does not matter what you choose, just choose something that you enjoy doing. If you do not currently have a fitness routine, I highly encourage you to start one knowing that you are doing it because you love your body, not because you are trying to change it. Movement is supposed to feel good – so make that your mandate. You move every day in a way that makes you feel good.
Body Love Action Number 4: Make A List Of Everything Your Body Does For You, Then Sit With It For A While
It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking about everything you wish your body was that it isn’t. This negative thinking pattern will only create more and more negative thoughts. I have found that actively interrupting this cycle is one of the best ways to turn your patterns around so that you start to notice all of the things that you love about your body, more often than you notice the things that you don’t like.
Remember your brain is a pattern-seeking machine –if you set it to finding the negative, it will do that. If you set it to seeing the positive, it will do that too. Every night before you go to bed, I suggest you make a list of at least 10 things you appreciate about your body –more if you can think of them. After you have completed your list, just sit with that list for a while and really feel appreciation for your body. It is amazing what can happen when you make this a regular practice.
Body Love Action Number 5: Refuse To Speak Negatively About Your Own & Everyone Else’s Body
Finally, make a commitment to yourself that you are going to stop speaking negatively about your body, and about everyone else’s body. This means no more sitting and complaining about your thighs or belly to your friends. No more asking your partner if your dress makes you look fat.
No more pointing out how unattractive other people are. Make a pact with yourself that you are now like Thumper –at least where your body and others bodies are concerned – “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
There is nothing to gain from saying bad things about yourself or others. It wont make you thinner or prettier or more muscular to tear yourself or anyone else down. The more you can speak words for affirmation about yourself and your body, the more you are going to feel those words. This is how you turn your negative thinking around -first through what you express with your words. Speak lovingly about yourself and watch how your feelings transform.
Your Body Deserves Your Love
It’s doing the best it can to carry you through your life, to help you live your days doing what you want to do. The more you can align yourself with your body, the more ease you are going to experience in your day to day life –and you deserve that. Try these practices for at least 30 days and see what happens. You may just discover that your body was never really so bad after all.