For many women, loving your body is one of the hardest practices there is. In fact, most people who are working on their relationships with food and their bodies report that they are able to make changes in how they eat long before they are able to improve their body image. Coming to grips with your shape and size can seem monumental, and in a culture that seems predicated upon body hatred, this practice often feels like running into the wind.
Can you act as if you love your body, even if you’re not quite there? Try these tips to start:
• Refrain from attacking your body with verbal and visual assaults.
• Take care of your body, providing it with adequate nutrition, sleep, medical attention, and other self-care behaviors.
• Exercise for health and enjoyment, not for punishment or compensation.
• Wear clothing that fits, is comfortable, and flatters your physique.
• Participate in activities that you enjoy, without letting your size keep you sidelined or from enjoying these activities.
• Maintain a healthy sexual and romantic life (your body image isn’t an obstacle to your sexuality).
• Treat your body well, and if finances allow, go for massages, pedicures, and so on.
• Accept that while you might prefer to be thinner, taller, tanner, or more toned, this is your body now.
For now, you may choose to view body love as aspirational; don’t expect to get there immediately, but aim to get there someday. A few steps (like those above) can help you toward this goal. The first step (especially important) involves working to reduce or eliminate your body hatred. Do you consistently think body-negative thoughts? Do you behave in a way that disrespects your body? Many women I see in my practice speak to and treat themselves in a downright abusive fashion. Bringing your awareness to the these behaviors can be a powerful intervention.
-Thanks to Stacey Rosenfeld for sending us this content from your book, “Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder?”, for our blog.
Readers, do you have any of your own “loving your body” tips to add?