Posted on Oct 29
Accepting the your body can seem like an impossible task, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle. But accepting your body as it is now can be the key to eventually getting where you want to go. In fact, it might even help you shift your goals to be more fulfilling and less focussed on the scales.
When you’re focused on what you want to change, it’s easy to lose sight of all the good things about your body. Why not try writing down a list of all the amazing things you’ve done with your body. Your body enables you to work, play, love, learn and experience everything around you, regardless of your size or fitness level. You may experience things differently as your body changes, but the fact that you get to experience them at all is amazing in itself! So make a list, and take a moment to appreciate it.
Finding a sport or movement practice you love can make a big difference, but even vacuuming your home counts. Even a single bout of exercise around the house is enough to improve body image, and even just one squat is better than no squats! The key is to find something that you enjoy, even if you turn on some tunes and dance around the kitchen. Moving helps you feel connected to your body and in control of it. Plus, enjoying physical activity will set you up for long-term success and bring the focus back to your body’s many capabilities.
Even if you plan on dropping sizes, you should invest in clothes you’re excited to wear NOW. Having clothes you love is important because it can change your whole attitude about the day. When you only have old, oversized, or too-tight clothes to wear when you know you are working on changing your body, it can continue a cycle of negative thoughts about yourself, which can lead you to giving up on your goals. Instead of getting disappointed every time you see clothes you love that don’t fit, getting some pieces that fit now can help you feel excited and like you have options again. If budget is a concern, pick one or two items you really love, or opt for accessories such as hats, scarfs or footwear that you car wear over the long term.
Mindfulness has many health and fitness benefits, including feeling more at peace in your body. It doesn’t have to be a traditional meditation practice, a massage or Yoga. Simply Walking and doing simple daily tasks like taking a bath or reading a book without distractions are great ways to stay present and connect with your body. It activates the ‘direct experience’ circuit of your brain and focusses on observing sensations. This gives you an opportunity to enjoy the sensory experience of being in your body without critiquing it. It might be uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier with practice.
Acknowledging that beauty standards are constantly changing can help you keep body expectations in perspective. Look at Renaissance paintings, and compare them to images from the 1800s, 1960s, 1990s and now. The ‘ideal’ body type has changed a lot over time, but if you look at all these images with an open mind, you can see that they’re all beautiful. Pay attention to the times that you feel the worst about your body - Do certain magazines tend to cause you to have a bad body image? Are there social media accounts that make you feel like you don’t measure up? Even if there’s nothing inherently negative about these things, if you find they tend to leave you hating your body, ditch them. Negative self-talk can be a major source of body image issues. Ask yourself if you would ever talk to a friend or family member with the same disdain with which you talk to yourself about your body. You would likely never tell a friend the same negative messages you tell yourself. Replace negative self-talk with the same positive messages you would give loved ones.