[TW: Eating disorders]
When I was as young as 8-years-old, I was told my body was far from perfect. That, among many other factors, contributed to severe body image issues which eventually led to an eating disorder, body dysmorphia, and a horrible relationship with my body. I couldn’t accept compliments, let along believe them. I over-exercised, I under ate, I binge ate my feelings, I stopped taking photos of myself, I stopped going to pools or swimming, I kept clothes on during sex, and so many more things that unfortunately way too many people can identify with.
When I started gaining weight after high school at such a rapid weight due to medication side effects and a rapid change in my lifestyle/exercise routine (i.e. not dancing 20+ hours a week), it made it even more difficult for me to adjust to my body, let alone love it. Ultimately, though, that was a huge part of what began my body love journey.
I either could fall even deeper into a hole of self-hate, or I could start finding options for how to dress colorfully in my new size and be comfortable instead of trying to pretend my body was something it wasn’t anymore.
Today, I spend so much time naked I can’t even log it. I wear crop tops, post pictures of me wearing next to nothing online, have sex uninhibited, have removed the word “flattering” from my vocabulary, dance in public, have a *much* better relationship with exercise and food, and genuinely believe compliments that are given to me. More importantly, I like the way I look.
6 Tips For Loving Your Body
1. Start Mirror Work – One of the best tools for loving your body is changing your relationship with the dreaded mirror! Slowly over time, you can build up to how much you look in the mirror and add saying positive affirmations to your own reflection. Check out Mirror Work 101 for everything you need to know!
2. Practice Accepting Compliments – We find it so difficult to accept compliments when we have low self-esteem, especially when they’re about our bodies because we don’t believe them ourselves. Instead of deflecting them or correcting them, try just saying, “Thank you!” and then actually start logging them to read them again later.
3. Cover Up The Mirror & Scale – In between Mirror Work, or if you’re not ready to start it, you can try covering up the mirror if you find yourself body checking constantly throughout the day. You can do the same thing to your scale. Cover the little number/scale part with a piece of paper that says, “You are beautiful!” Check out The Only Diet You Need Is A Mirror Diet
4. Make A List Of Things Your Body Can Do – Do you have a gratitude practice? (You should!) In addition to it or separate from it, I recommend making a list of all the things your body can do. You can rotate every day on a different body part, and focus on things that your body (part) does for your functionally. Do your eyes let you see in color? Does your stomach let you digest food? Do your lips let you kiss? Focus on functionality and then gratitude will start to shift!
5. Have Health Goals Not Involving Weight – It’s great to have health goals. Health is a wide umbrella term and relative for every individual. The thing is, way too often we make our health goals around weight like “I want to lose X pounds”. What if you made it around eating more food that gave you more energy or creating a movement practice. If you lose weight or gain muscle in the process, we could look at that as an added bonus. Or just look at the goal of health as wanting to be alive and feeling good as long as possible instead of needing to be a specific size.
6. Celebrate Your “Flaws” – Another way to challenge pre-conceived notions of beauty and love our bodies is to look at all the things we have been told are “wrong” with us and turn it around. For example, I took colorful markers and drew on my stomach stretch marks so it turned into a rainbow and they looked like lightning bolts. You can do a photoshoot to highlight the feature. You can write a love note/poem to or about it. You can spend naked time with it. How can you celebrate the thing you’ve been scared to share the most?
If you have questions or want to work on it, I’d love to work with you more intensely in my Membership Group or with 1:1 Coaching for me to help you like I’ve helped so many other people start and continue loving their bodies!
Your body is beautiful, unique, and amazing. I hope that you can learn to love your body like I have, and if you need help with your journey, know I’m here.