5 Things You Can Do to Begin Loving Your Body More
By: Stephani Fenkanyn, Health Educator at BANA
We hear it often: “Love yourself! Love your body! Be You!” But, do you sometimes come away from one saying these statements thinking: “Ok, but how? How do I cultivate this appreciation for my body?”
I can total appreciate that this is way easier said than done! It is not as if we say one positive body image quote and then next morning, we wake up feeling 100% in our skin. No, not at all. However, there are some acts of self-love you can practice that can assist in the process of getting there. It is the cumulative effect of small acts of kindness to yourself that lead you there. With time, consistency and conscious effort, you can build a more positive relationship with your body.
Here are a few ideas of how this is possible:
1.Focus on what your body does for you.
Without our beautiful bodies, we wouldn’t be able to experience all we are able to in the world! Shifting your focus to the abilities of our body sheds light onto how wonderful they really are. For me, I love my strong legs that allow me to go for jogs along the water. For another, it might be the body that brought her children into the world. For another, it might be mobile arms that help him go for swims in the ocean.
Can you name 2 things you love about your body because of what they do for you?
2.Engage in movement to feel good (not to loose weight)
What type of movement lights you up inside? What do you find fun and makes you loose track of time? Maybe its jumping rope for you, or dancing to your favourite song. It could be a nice, juicy stretch session, trying out new yoga poses, or meeting your friends to toss the ball around at the park. A walk after dinner with a family member might make one feel at peace or for someone else a sweaty hike on a beautiful day has a positive effect on their mood.
Make your choice of movement something you enjoy doing rather than focusing on burning calories. This makes you more likely to engage in movement daily and it cultivates a more positive and beneficial relationship with exercise.
3.Honour your hunger and fullness.
Our bodies are smart. They know exactly what we need. Practice intuitive eating principles by tuning in to the body to assess how hungry or full you are. You can do this before, during and after your meals. To get into this habit, keep a note of this in a journal and rate your hunger and fullness on a scale from 1-10 at each of these times.
4.Seek out positive role models that look like you
What we see in the media is inundated with what is called the ‘thin ideal’, but the reality is, most people in our population don’t look like this! A study found that only 5% of the general population have the body of the typical model seen in the media. This is why you need to be decisive and selective with what you are exposed to most frequently. Seek of role models that look like you and you can relate to. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and representation of them matters!
5.Ditch the scale and stop focusing on the numbers
The scale doesn’t give us a full picture of our overall health. Weight science literature tells us that there is way more considerations that come into play in determining our weight, such as genetics, hormone health, access to food and the environments we are brought up in.
Start looking at your health more broadly and let how you FEEL be the guide.
Reminder: You do not have to start doing all of these at once. Pick 2 and try to integrate these practices into your daily life to start and keep track of how you’re doing.