Hi friend 🙂
Today lets look at 5 practical steps to improve your relationship with your body, that you can start incorporating into your life today.
You deserve to feel comfortable in your skin and to have a positive relationship with your body right now. You do not have to wait until you reach your ideal body shape/size/weight.
In fact, the real truth of the matter is that you wont be able to create your ideal body weight/shape/size and maintain it long term without developing a positive relationship with your body first.
In our culture you are taught that in order to be worthy of loving your body, you must first have a perfect body. You are taught to feel shame and guilt about yourself as a PERSON if you do not measure up to some socially acceptable body image blueprint. You are taught to punish your bodies in the gym, restrict and deprive it of calories and rest and to basically ignore its signs and signals in order to create the bodies of your dreams. It is a common notion that your body is inherently against you, and that you must fight all its natural instincts if you want to be thin/fit/healthy.
I call bullshit on that.
Your body WANTS to be healthy. Your body's number one purpose in life is to protect and preserve your life. It is designed to keep you alive so that you can live your life, doing what you are here to do. It is meant to be a great asset to you. You just need to learn to speak its language.
I am going to do a whole other post on learning to open the lines of communication with your body, but for today lets start with cultivating a more loving and respectful relationship with your body. Because the very first step towards life long health, and life long happiness and joy in your body is learning to love your body.
Part one: The Meditation
To begin, I want you to sit for a moment with your eyes closed and imagine yourself in your ideal body as though you are looking at it from the outside or at it in a mirror:
- Paint a clear picture in your mind of what you will look like at your ideal weight/shape/size.
- Do a mental scan of yourself from foot to head - imagining every aspect of how you look.
From here, I invite you to step inside this body. As though you are physically inside your new, ideal body looking out:
- Notice how it feels to be in this ideal body.
- How do your clothes feel against your skin?
- How does your skin feel against your own hand?
- How are you holding yourself in this body?
- What does it feel like to move around in this body?
Finally, I want you to tune into your mind in this ideal body:
- What kind of thoughts are you thinking about yourself when you look at this new body?
- What are you feeling on an emotional level?
- How are you feeling about those around you?
- What are your thought patterns like?
Stay in this feeling place for as long as you can, painting the clearest picture you are able to paint. Really get into it.
Part Two: Act As Though It Is
Now as you come out of this meditation while all of these thoughts and feelings are still fresh in your mind, start with your five steps as outlined below:
1. Ask Yourself: How Would I Dress If I was Already In My Ideal Body: When you were in your meditation, you most likely saw yourself wearing a specific item of clothing or having a specific style. If you are currently dressing in a way that is different from how you would like to dress due to your body shape/size I am going to encourage you to start dressing the way you want to dress now. Go to your closet or to the store and start dressing in a way that reflects your body confidence. This is important because this shows you that you respect and value yourself right here, right now. I was caught in the trap of hiding my body under layers of sweaters and sweat pants and never buying the clothes I really wanted to wear, because I was waiting until I was my ideal weight to do so. It's not worth it. Start dressing how you want to dress now. Choose items that are your size and that feel good on you right now. No one else can see the number on the tag of your pants, so purchase the size that fits and feels good. You really will notice a difference in how you feel by simply dressing how you wish to dress - by expressing yourself with your wardrobe.
2. Ask Yourself: How Would I Eat In My Ideal Body: This is a huge one. If you are constantly trying to manipulate how your body looks through your diet, you are most likely constantly thinking about how your food is going to affect your weight. In this mindset you are literally trapped in a diet marry-go-round. Go back to your vision of your body at your ideal weight, and consider how you would eat if you already had the body you wanted. If there were not improvements to be made. This may take some practice and at first you may have no idea what the answer is. Keep digging. Set the intention to ask yourself "what would I eat if I were already at my ideal weight" before each meal and see what first pops into your mind. This is a very powerful first step to move away from diet mentality into healthy lifestyle mentality.
3. Ask Yourself: How Would I Carry Myself If I Were Already At My Ideal Weigh? If you are anything like me, you most likely do not carry yourself with confidence and gusto if you are not feeling amazing about your body. I used to slump over, keep my head and eyes down in public, drape my arms over my belly when I sat down. I was constantly trying to hide my body, to make myself invisible. In this moment I want you to lift your shoulders up and back. Broaden across your collar bones. Sit as though you are proud of how you look. Walk as though you are proud of how you look. How does it feel? Start to make it a habit to carry yourself with confidence. Again, this will automatically shift you into a new state and will lift your actual confidence level in yourself.
4. Ask Yourself: How Would I Speak About Myself At My Ideal Weight? I used to complain about my body all.the.time. You can read more about it in this post. Then one day I made a conscious choice to stop smack talking myself. Think of it this way - if you constantly tell a child that they are bad, yelling at them and putting them down they are more likely to behave badly because they take on the identity of being a 'bad kid.' On the other hand if you speak lovingly to a child, and teach them things with love and respect they are more likely to behave well because they take on the identity of being a 'good kid.' Your body is the same. If you keep telling it that it is fat, ugly, stupid, against you and other negative things, the more likely it is to behave that way. Challenge yourself to stop participating in the culture of body shaming. Like Thumper taught you - if you can't say anything nice (about your body,) don't say anything at all.
5. Ask Yourself: How Would I Move If I Already Had My Ideal Body? Lastly, I want you to consider how your exercise/movement plan would look like if you already had the body you wanted. Would you be continuing on with intense workouts you hate doing in order to burn? Would you remain sedentary? I used to kill myself working out. Trying to burn as many calories as possible in the hopes that I would work myself thin eventually. It never worked. One day I decided to let go of my extreme workouts and started to do walking, yoga and Pilates exclusively because that is what I enjoyed. Two years later, and low and behold, I look better than I ever did when I was busting my butt and sweating buckets in my HIIT training. Really consider what you would be doing if you were not trying to manipulate your body some how, and if you were just moving to feel good.
This all may seem simplistic - or perhaps it seems really complicated. But I want you to give it a try.
This is acting it out. This is faking it until you make it. This is the secret.
The habits that maintain your perfect body are going to be the same habits that created it.
That is just how it works. No extreme diet will get you healthy forever because in order to stay healthy forever you must have something that you can DO forever. A way of eating you can maintain. A way of moving you can maintain. A way of THINKING you can maintain. Will power will only get you so far. Self love will get you all the way.
Meditate on your ideal often, and then act as though you already have it.
For a more indepth version of this exercise, and more tools to love yourself more, check out The Perception Diet Here