Before we begin, I want you to ask yourself one question. How do you feel about your body right now? Are you immediately going to the past and saying “Well, I used to be a lot skinnier” or going into the future and saying “I’ll just keep those jeans for when I eventually fit into them”. What if I told you there was a way to be present in the moment and with 5 simple steps, you can implement strategies to love yourself unconditionally?
For 12 years, I struggled with an eating disorder that plagued me with debilitating depression, anxiety and lack of self worth. I always blamed food for making me feel the way I felt about myself when in reality, it had nothing to do with food. If someone asked me what I thought about my body at the time, I would of immediately felt shame, guilt and embarrassment. When I started to analyze the externals that were affecting the way I felt about myself, it came down to a few factors: fear, lack of emotional expression and putting everyone else before my own needs. I’d had enough. I knew I was worth more than what life was giving me so I slowly started implementing these 5 steps. Although it has taken time, I have never loved myself more or been more comfortable in my own skin.
(Image by Autumn Goodman)
1. Be Fearless
This is the number one feeling that holds us back from living the life we want to live. Fear can dictate our lives in so many ways. Growth and self development never happens in our comfort zone so take that leap of faith, go after your dream job and leave fear behind to live the life you’ve always imagined. To break away from fear, take a deep breath and tell yourself you are worth it, you are enough and you deserve to live the best life possible.
2. Sweat It Out
Exercise not only helps with detoxification in the body but it produces endorphins that have the ability to improve sleep, reduce stress and make us feel happy. When we feel happier mentally, we are more likely to feel better about ourselves physically. Sweating it out doesn’t mean you have to slave in the gym day in and day out. Find workouts that you actually like doing, even if it’s as simple as going for a walk in nature.
3. Live A Balanced Lifestyle
To me, this means following the 80/20 rule. No, that doesn’t mean that Monday to Friday your eating perfectly healthy and then come the weekend it’s all about “cheat meals.” Incorporating foods that satisfy us — like pizza, burgers, chips, cookies, whatever it may be to you —throughout the week will have a greater impact on your overall health. It will ultimately lead to less cravings and binges because you allow yourself to have it. Listen to your body when it craves something and allow yourself to indulge.
4. Talk About It
When we bottle up our feelings and suppress negative thoughts, we typically turn to outside things like food to heal and make us feel better. Talking positively about your body and avoiding self-cristism is hugely beneficial to loving yourself. The way you talk to yourself greatly impacts how your view yourself, so if you are consistently engaging in negative self-talk you will believe it to be true. Look in the mirror each morning, pick a part of your body to focus on and tell yourself how beautiful it is and what you love about it. Keep doing this until you believe it to be true.
5. Positive Affirmations
Practice saying these affirmations to yourself upon waking up or going to sleep at night:
- I am grateful for my healthy body
- I honor and respect my body
- Even on days where I feel insignificant, I am worthy of happiness.
- I am grateful for the uniqueness of my body
- I recognized that all bodies are different and I love mine the way it is
- I see food as fuel so my body can take care of me
- I thank my body for carrying me through life
I believe that everyone should love their bodies no matter what stage of life they are in. Being healthy is not about a fad, trend or a punishment. It is all about YOU. Self-love and acceptance isn’t about waiting till you are a certain size to deem yourself worthy. It’s about accepting yourself on the journey your on right in this present moment. So wherever you are on your journey, thank your body for being there right with you.