It’s hard to love our bodies in a society that is constantly telling us not to. We are bombarded with messages to change, to diet, to slather on oils and serums for better skin and to always be striving to look younger. Between the never ending list of diet and exercise fads, the weight loss and beauty industries have found a way to profit from our insecurities and are respectively worth billions. If that isn’t proof that we are constantly being told to change then just walk through a bookstore’s wellness section or look at all the ads on a busy city street and it becomes clear.
With summer fast approaching, the thought of bathing suit shopping or walking down the street in shorts that are riding up between my non-existent thigh gap are not exactly joyful but why? Did I decide my thighs were too big for shorts or was I told to believe that? Did I decide I don’t have a bikini body or have I been conditioned to think only certain body types can bare their stomach? I think we know the answer. I think it’s time we take back our bodies and here are five tested small actions to do just that.
Make an ‘I Love…’ Journal: It can be hard to love your body when you feel everything is wrong with it. If we took a few mindful minutes to truly reflect on our bodies, we might feel differently. Write down ‘I love…’ and fill in the blank with something you love about your body. Maybe you love how your lips look in red lipstick or you love how your body allows you to play with your kids. Reflect on all your body allows you to do and let all the lovely thoughts pour in. Try it for a few days, few weeks or even a few months. You’ll be surprised with how many things you learn you’ve loved all along!
Get Naked: Seems straight forward, yeah? We spend so much time hiding from our naked bodies. By spending time with our naked selves we start to become comfortable with our fleshy bits rather than avoiding the mirror as we reach to get the towel after a shower. Pick one task each morning to do naked. It can be as simple as having 4 naked sips of coffee before getting dressed. Start small and before you know it, it’s full on naked kitchen dance parties!
Do Some Diggin’: No, I don’t mean out in the garden. Do some research. The facts don’t lie. Research the body positive movement and there are so many resources. I started with the book Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe. It allowed me to feel validated in factual information, to gain new perspective and to explore the opposing argument I never knew existed.
Change One Habit: We develop habits that don’t serve our journey to loving ourselves. For me, using a food diary to write everything I ate down or weighing myself every morning were fueling my negative self talk. Pick one habit that isn’t bringing joy to your mind and body, then change it. Give yourself permission to live your life the way you want to and not the way you have been told. Baby steps; start with one then let it grow habit by habit at your own pace.
Confront Your Pant Size: Do you have that one pair of jeans that you periodically try on to see if you fit in them from five years ago? Or you put somewhere visible as motivation? Get. Rid. Of. Them. Now. Have those items ever made you feel good? They most likely have fueled that little voice in your head that puts you down. Confront your body’s truth and embrace the size you are TODAY. It feels good to open a closet full of clothing that fits rather than trying to squeeze ourselves into the pants we wore in high school.
It’s time we start questioning why we are all striving to fit in to the same mold when our bodies were born to look different from one another. Learning to embrace your body is a journey. Whether you want to love your body or to just feel neutral about your body takes a little bit of work. Give it a try? What do you have to lose?