Do you love your body? I bet you could tell me instantly what you don’t like about your body … but what if I asked you to tell me what you love about your body? Could you find a positive thing to say about your body as easily as you can come up with a criticism? I bet not, right? Why is it that we are so good at being hard on ourselves and self-critical, but not so hot at loving our bodies? It doesn’t help that we are constantly bombarded by the media of a narrowly defined image of beauty. Consider …
Let’s stop the war you have waged on your body. I want to help you begin to love your body. No more listening to the inner critic in your head. No more sad or defeated faces in front of the mirror. The best way to care for your body is to start to love it—just as you are, right here, right now. You can start the journey to love your body—even if it’s taking the tiny step of naming just one thing you love about your body.
Think about it. You love your kids, spouse, dog or your job. And when you love something, you pour your time, care, and energy into it. The same holds true for your body. How wonderfully do think you will treat your body if you have a fulltime job of hating on it? Liberate yourself from self-loathing this year.
How to Love Your Body
Love where you are. You can love your body, be kind to yourself and still want to improve your body. I am all about New Year’s resolutions and healthy change, but only if it comes from a positive place. When you love yourself, you empower yourself with self-acceptance. It’s similar to how amazing you feel with the love of a spouse, family member or child. Love fuels more love. Love your body and you will want to take good care of it.
Compliment yourself. One of the best ways to start loving your body is to give yourself a compliment. Notice what you like. Stop the criticisms because they don’t do anything positive for your self-image or your body.
I decided to consult my good friend, behavioral scientist and renowned psychologist, Dr Michael Mantell, on this subject. Women are notorious for being hard on themselves. “Low self-esteem stays low because of one’s own self-critical thoughts,” says renowned psychologist, Dr. Michael Mantell. “Stop listening to the negative parrot chirping irrational and illogical statements in your head. The key is to stop believing that parrot’s negative self-statements. Catch them, check them and challenge them,” Dr. Mantell advises.
He recommends using the T H I N K method. “Is what I am believing TRUE? Is it HELPFUL to think like this? Is it INSPIRING to me to think like this? Is it NECESSARY? Is it KIND to myself or others to reject a compliment?”
Extend yourself the same kindness you extend to a good friend. Your body is the only place you have to live, so start the process of loving that body you call home—no matter where you are on your journey.
Respect your body. When you respect your body, you will want to take care of it. This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect or become a gym rat, just try and make healthy choices most of the time. Respecting your body also means not insulting it. Every time you do something good for your body your self-respect and body image will go up. Pay yourself a compliment or accept compliments from others instead of dismissing them. “Think about accepting a compliment as assertiveness training, Dr. Mantell says. “Do two or three sets a day and you will build that muscle.”
How to LOVE YOUR BODY
Compliment other women. A wonderful way to practice being kinder to your own body is to be kinder to other women—friends, family and strangers included. Give genuine compliments and you just may get better at accepting compliments from others too.
Stop the comparisons. We are all on our own journey. We all have our own personal stories and challenges. Comparing yourself to others is pointless because you can always find someone who you think is doing better than you or looks better than you. Why would you choose to do that to yourself? Dr. Mantell says “Low self-esteem minimizes the positive and maximizes the negative, leading us to believe no matter what anyone says, ‘I am not good enough.’” This can lead to a cycle of “compare and despair” Dr. Mantell says. Comparison only fosters negativity. Next time you are tempted to compare your thighs or your abs with someone else, stop yourself. Stop the negative thoughts. Decide to only compete only with yourself.
Negative thoughts about your own body only hold you back.
Love what your body can do. What has your body done for you? What capabilities of your body do you love? Maybe your body has allowed you to walk 10,000 steps a day. Or your body produced life. Maybe your body competed in your first 5k or triathlon. Or your body beat cancer. Whatever your path, celebrate the amazing things your body has done for you.
Change from a place of positivity. Guess what? You can LOVE your body and still want to improve it. You can do both at the same time. You actually will have more success if you can love your body through your weight loss journey. Whether you want to lose 50 pounds, five pounds or stay at your current weight—still love your body right now. Work on your thoughts. Change from a positive place. Loving your body means you are on your own side—and that’s the best place for change to blossom.
Here’s your challenge. Tell me something about your body that you love. Is it a body part? Something your body can do? A new muscle defined? I’m created a whole page on my website for a LOVE YOUR BODY campaign. Celebrate your body by giving yourself a positive shout out! And, read what others have to say about themselves! (oh yeah … please refrain from any inappropriate photos!!! )
So, do you have the courage to share a picture and name something about your body that you love? Email firstname.lastname@example.org a picture of yourself and tell me something you love about your body .We will get it up on the website right away. If you don’t want to send a photo, write me a quick note and I’ll turn that into a post. (you can send it by Twitter or Facebook if you prefer) Let’s start the conversation! Comment on my blog below, or on Twitter or Facebook and use the hashtag: #loveyourbody. I also will be creating a Pinterest board to celebrate all that we love about our bodies so together we can start 2014 from a positive place of body love.
Okay, I will start. What do I love about my body? I love that I’m fit and active. I’m serious. I see so many people who lose their desire to move, ability to do things, and their range of motion. Movement is therapy for me. Movement is my happy drug. I’m proud of my body, but believe me, I sometimes have to silence my internal self-critic. However, at the end of the day, I’m happy with myself and my body. I do think age helps. Even though our bodies may be changing (thanks a lot menopause!), our minds are wiser. Confidence often comes with age and I’m totally okay being who I am—and that’s a big part of loving yourself and your body.
What else … I also am proud that I’m strong…I like knowing I can defend myself or do something physically challenging. Now your turn! I know it can be hard, but studies have shown that actually writing out positive affirmations helps to train your mind to believe. So, show some love to the BOD that GOD gave you!
Start 2014 from a positive place. Don’t put off living any longer until you weigh a certain number on the scale or look a specific way. Love your body and LIVE today. Give your body a shout out this January. If you are used to hating on your body, it might make you feel uneasy (at first) to switch to being positive, but you can do it. Don’t shame yourself into change. Start your year celebrating what you LOVE! Take what you have and rock it out! Join my movement to LOVE YOUR BODY! Let’s lift each other up and start this year with body love!