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Where did we go wrong so many years ago to allow mainstream media to feed us total falsehoods about how to have the "perfect life" or that we have to be living the "all-American Dream"? These lies have become the standard by which we judge ourselves and others. The silly sausage on everyone's BBQ is that being skinny or a size 0 will solve the rest of your life's problems. No more money troubles, relationship flops, career jumping, or lack of respect from strangers - they'll all magically disappear, and your life is finally "perfect".
Sounds ridiculous, don't you agree? Logically, we know that this mentality makes no sense. Yet, we diet, starve, juice, fast, HIIT, sweat, 5 min ab, shapewear, nip, tuck, inject, blur, photoshop, shame and guilt our bodies to fulfil this ancient myth.
No matter your source or reason for having a lack of love for the body you see in the mirror, there is still time for you to turn the self-hate into self-love and acceptance.
A is for Acceptance:
By wishing and wanting our bodies to tick the boxes of what society deems "acceptable", we seek to be accepted by them (our parents, friends, partner, community, etc.). Because humans still have a deep-rooted tribal mentality, our subconscious considers acceptance from our 'tribe' an element for survival.
Accept what yo' mama gave ya! If you're going to fixate your attention on your looks, then shift your focus to what can be changed, like your overall body fat percentage and muscle mass. Instead of wasting your mental energy wishing to change things like your bone structure, eye colour, hair type, height, skin tone and other factors that are impossible to change without cosmetic surgery, or if at all.
B is for (at least) Be Neutral:
It's less draining to be in a perspective of unbias, where you neither hate nor love your body than to dive into fake positivity. It will take time and energy to undo the years of self-loathing patterns and habits you've lived by for so long.
If it's too difficult to start telling yourself you're beautiful when you're naked, at least do your best to be able to look at yourself naked and say, "Yup, that's my body. In all it's natural glory. It is what it is and I accept it!".
C is for Conscious Choice:
You have won half the battle by acknowledging your current relationship status with your body needs some TLC, and the rest of the journey, like any successful weight loss journey, requires daily commitment. Self-love is essentially a habit as it needs deliberate choosing every day. Even on days when you don't feel like giving your body love, that is when she needs it most!
Please remember that you will have bad days and a few wobbles after you've decided to start loving your body. Give yourself grace and try again tomorrow. The more you force yourself to "just love yourself already, damnit," the more challenging and longer your journey will be.
D is for Daily Gratitude:
How often do we give thanks to our legs for being strong, healthy and able to walk us wherever we wish instead of criticising the cellulite and "wrong shape" that they are?
Look at your body as a whole, or per part, and give thanks for what it does for you. Show appreciation for the ways they assist you to move about and keep you alive. As a woman, essential fat can range from 18%-25% of your body weight. That amount of fat is vital for daily function and maintenance, and from an evolutionary point, we generally hold more fat than men to prepare for successful pregnancy and childbirth.¹
These steps don't have to be followed in order. See what feels comfortable to add to your daily routine and gradually increase it over time. Achieving 100% self-acceptance is not an overnight occurrence. Your journey for self-love will have you unpacking beliefs and feelings you never realised existed - and it can be tough!
The reward on the other side of your pain is unconditional love for your body and all she does for you.
In her book Pleasure Activism, Adrienne Maree Brown writes:
"I know that my body could never be inappropriate. If I walk around naked all the time, or wear a muumuu slit to the moon to show my big dimpled thighs, or let my tummy hang soft and low, it's right. I am of nature. I have cycles in my body that reflect the cycles of day and night, of seasons, of the moon and the tides. My body is a gorgeous miracle."
Would you like to repair and heal your relationship with your body? Would you like to love your body regardless of your current image or weight?
Book your consultation with Elaine today to receive 1:1 coaching!
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Written by: Andrea Thelen of AuthenticAndrea44
7th October 2022
¹ N. A. (n.d.). Learn why women carry more fat than men. Human Kinetics, from https://us.humankinetics.com/blogs/excerpt/learn-why-women-carry-more-fat-thanmen#:~:text=The%20reason%20for%20this%20difference,last%20two%20trimesters%20of%20pregnancy).
DISCLAIMER: All blog posts are for educational and entertainment purposes only. Any advice or recommendations given in these posts does not supersede directions received by a licensed medical professional (i.e. doctor, psychiatrist, nurse, psychologist, etc), nutritionist, dietician or your personal trainer. The reader is responsible for their own health and well-being.