Small Steps to Love Your Body (Even When It's Hard!)
Here are 5 small steps you can take to love your body TODAY.
Loving our bodies can be hard. Just like it took years and years for the beauty standard to be seared into our brains, it will take discipline and consistency to undo all of that. But before you throw in the towel, think about it this way: how can we become the best version of ourselves if we don’t acknowledge and accept where we are today?
For the last five years, I have been studying how to love my body. The disfigurement I have in my feet was just a doorway to the overall hate I had towards my body. Although the culprit could change by the minute, one minute it was my short legs, the next my fingers, I recognized that it all added up, or should I say subtracted, to my self-worth. How I thought my body looked on the outside, was actually chipping away at what was on the inside. This MORTIFIED me. Even in my lowest days, I believe I am destined for big things so to think that how my body looks was interrupting my ambitions was a HUGE wakeup call for me.
Learning from other women and their self-love journeys, I have come to understand that working on my relationship with my body is a top priority. If I am taking care of my body and respecting its limits, then everything else flows. If I don’t, then my self-confidence, my drive and ultimately, what I will accomplish or who I will become in life is at peril.
Knowing the real-life consequences of not loving my body has forced me to implement the following small steps that make a BIG difference to love my body every day:
- Get to Know Your Body: Think of an ailment you get from time to time. Have you ever taken the time to figure out why it happens? In my case it was stomach aches, I would get them when I would skip a meal or after eating too quickly. For a while I accepted it as a fact of life, until my husband, then boyfriend, casually asked me one day why I got stomach aches so often. Since then, I make sure to check-in with my body. If for some reason I cannot eat when my body is asking for sustenance, I make sure to take a big glass of water or bring snacks with me. Don’t wait until someone else worries about your body to get to know your body, take care of it.
- Practice Body Neutrality: Some people hate pineapple pizza and some people love pineapple pizza. Now think, pizza is just pizza. Likewise, if you feel like you can’t go from despising the cellulite in your legs to loving it, then just look at the back of your legs and say “that’s just my legs and they get me places.”
- Stop Judging Women’s Bodies: I cannot stress this one enough, we need to stop comparing each other. Last year, I wrote a piece about how a comment from a relative comparing my sister and I really threw me off my body-confidence game just a week before my wedding. Next time you are about to compare others, remind yourself of that pesky relative. You don’t want to be them! Also if following #fitspo models on social media is getting you down, unfollow them.
- Practice Gratitude: Back in 2015, I went through one of the toughest moments of my life. A challenging work environment coupled with the realization that I was not happy in the industry I was in, created the perfect identity crisis for me. What got me there was constant complaining. Did you know that complaining a lot actually rewires your brain for negativity? Don’t do it. Instead practice gratitude. If you are not into meditation, try a yoga class. It will help you set an intention for your practice. Most of the times I set mine to being thankful for something, whether it is my health or my career, it varies by day.
- Challenge Fatphobia: Unfortunately the odds of you being fatphobic or having fatphobic tendencies are incredibly high due to our society's strict beauty standard. So next time you look at yourself in the mirror and see something you don’t like, or try a pair of pants that are a bit snug, pay attention to the thoughts that come about. If any of them touch on losing weight or working out more, you are subscribing to the mentality that being fat is bad and there is nothing wrong with being fat. NOTHING.
Of course, there are many other ways to love your body. These are just the ones I am currently practicing to love my body every day. We would love to hear what you do to practice body love every day, please share in the comments section.