5 Ways to Love Your Body
February is the month of love and there is no better place to rev up the love than with yourself and your body. As a dietitian specializing in eating disorders and disordered eating, I spend a lot of time working with individuals on improving their relationship with food and accepting their body. We receive so many messages through different avenues telling us that we should eat and look a certain way. Body acceptance is all about feeling comfortable and confident in your body, no matter your weight or size.
Everyone’s body love journey is different; here are 5 ways to jump-start your own journey…
1. Change your inner dialogue.Begin to focus on what your body can do for you. Reframe negative thoughts with more neutral or positive thoughts. Our bodies are amazing creations that provide us with the ability to do all the things we love – laughing, playing, walking, and talking. Our body is the vessel that carries around all the real amazingness. How does your body allow you to live your best life?
2. Make nourishing your body a priority. The body requires consistent nutrition from a variety of food sources. Prioritize meals and snacks to fuel the body appropriately. Try to eat every 3-5 hours and include carbohydrates, dietary fat, and protein in all your meals.
3. Respect your body by listening to what it tells you – hunger, fullness, thirst, and emotions.Our bodies have the innate ability to tell us what we need, but we often are disconnected from these signals. Slow down and connect to your body’s messaging system and provide it with what it needs.
4. Provide the body with joyful movement and rest.The body needs both movement and rest. Find fun and unique ways to move your body that you actually enjoy. Acknowledge times when it would be more important to rest instead of move.
5. Remove guilt and shame from the equation. When we label foods with “good” or “bad,” we will eventually eat something on the bad list, resulting in us feeling like we did something wrong. We then internalize that feeling and end up feeling ashamed. Research has shown that feelings of guilt and shame are far worse for us than eating any specific type of food.
Body love is a long process and it’s important to approach it with self-compassion. Changing the way we think about food and our bodies doesn’t happen overnight. Make small, realistic goals and take this journey one step at a time.