The thing I’ve struggled most with in my life has been living in my body. I’ve had every kind of eating disorder, tried more diets than I can count and have had two plastic surgeries in my short life.
I was on a mission to change myself: not only the way I looked, but also the way I felt. My emotions and desires felt out of control, shameful and inappropriate. Inside and out, I did not feel at home in my body.
When I began to unwind my programming and retrain myself to love my body, to see my emotions as allies on the road to happiness and to stop constantly looking for an escape, things began to change.
Here are 10 signs that you're loving your body.
1. You listen to what it says.
When my body sends the signal to eat, I eat. When it feels nourished and satisfied, I stop. It sounds obvious, but I used to see how long I could go without food, depriving my body of nourishment. This would set me up for a binge, leaving me feeling so full I couldn’t move.
The more I listen to my body’s cues and follow them, the better my food choices are, the more energy I have, and the lighter and comfortable I feel.
2. You don’t stay in one position for too long.
This sounds simple, but it’s amazing how I can suddenly find myself in a position I’ve been holding for hours. When I’m loving my body, I make it a priority to get up and walk, shift positions and stretch throughout the day.
3. You work out but don’t push yourself to the point of pain.
I used to be so hard on myself, challenging my body to run long distances when I wasn’t feeling well or go to stuffy gyms because I thought I had to. But the truth is, when you move how your body wants to move, you'll be in shape. I used to think my body never wanted to move but it was just because I hadn’t discovered what kind of movement felt good yet.
4. You wear clothes that make you feel safe.
Don’t me wrong, I’m all about exercising the freedom to wear (and not wear) whatever I want. But sometimes I don’t want to dress sexy or wear a bikini. And in those moments, I honor what my body wants and put on something that makes it feel safe. This strengthens my trusting relationship with my body and makes my body less likely to look for other ways to help me feel safe, like overeating.
5. You own your sexuality.
For years I was terrified of being a sexual being. But part of loving my body is owning my sexuality and having fun with it, however that looks like. Whether with other people, myself or simply through my manner of being, exploring sexuality in a safe and playful way allows me to feel like all parts of my body are welcome.
6. You're not waiting until you're “the perfect size.”
I used to let my weight determine if I lived my life. Whether I went to parties, got my picture taken, went on dates, etc. I've come to realize that only through living my life fully and following my heart does my body actually feel good enough to not look to food as its only source of satisfaction.
7. You have a range of clothes sizes in your wardrobe.
As a woman, my body fluctuates in size all the time. I have a range of sizes in my wardrobe so when I'm in those bigger moments, my body feels accepted, loved and trusted to resume its more comfortable weight when it’s ready.
8. You don’t weigh yourself.
My beauty and self-worth are not dependent on a number. I know I’m truly loving in my body when I don’t waste time tracking my weight.
9. You don’t compare yourself to others.
It’s so easy to get caught up comparing myself to other women, especially when it comes to our bodies. However, this never helps anyone. I know I love my body when I’m more focused on getting to know people’s hearts than wondering what they eat or how they look.
10. You smile when you look in the mirror.
We receive so many messages to not like what we see in the mirror, so why not shoot yourself a sweet smile every time you see your reflection?
What if instead of focusing on your thighs, you bring your attention to the color of your eyes or the angles of your face? What if you used every time you see yourself as a reminder of the wild, mysterious being that you are living life in a miraculous vessel? A vessel that works non-stop to keep you alive. A vessel that asks for nothing but your care and affection.
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