Love your body. As cliché as it sounds, it really has been one of the main things that has supported me in my journey to boost my body image, normalize my behaviors with food, and put a stop to emotional eating for good. But just because it worked doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a challenge. Having concrete strategies to turn to on days when I was feeling less than stellar about my body was key, and now I want to share some of them with you.
1. Find women of similar shape and size who you admire.
This was a big one for me. As I started to redefine my image of ideal shape, beauty, and health, I learned to seek inspiration from women who were close to my shape and size, rather than the supermodels who are ubiquitous in the media I was faced with on a daily basis. This wasn’t easy at first, but the more I paid attention, the more I realized how many women I admired who weren't what I considered to be “thin,” yet I still found them beautiful.
2. Explore the non-physical qualities of yourself that you appreciate.
Before I started taking steps to love my body just as it was, I spent a lot of time critiquing how I looked. I paid little attention to things like how I acted, my kindness towards others, or my happiness. When I started getting clear on things I actually liked about myself that had nothing to do with what size pants I wore, I realized that there were a lot of traits I could appreciate. It was helpful to see that loosing weight wouldn't alter these qualities in me.
3. Move in a way you love.
Before learning to love my body, I often saw my workouts as a punishment, a way to release aggression over my body, and a way to “get skinny.” I didn’t enjoy them, but at the time, that wasn’t the point. When I began to move in ways I love, I learned to appreciate my body. I finally was able to develop pride in my capabilities, gratitude for my ability, and even embrace my imperfections because they allowed me to move in ways I loved.
4. Buy clothes that fit and flatter you.
I spent a lot of time hiding in sweatshirts and baggy clothes. All this did was reaffirm the belief that my body was something to hide. I also held on to a way-too-small pair of jeans that hung in the back of my closet indefinitely until I lost the weight. Every time I saw them, a feeling of shame rushed over me. Point being: buy clothes that make you feel great, and fit well. Shaming yourself into the perfect body just doesn’t work.
I hope these strategies help you in your journey to love your body. Keep in mind that it takes a whole lot of time, patience, and kindness, to rework your thinking. Be really nice to yourself and I know you will make progress.
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