May 13, 2019 | Lex Daddio
Good Morning & Happy Monday! I know what you’re thinking even after just looking at the title. Respect your body, yeah right! How am I supposed to do that? I get it, I was at war with my body for years. Or basically my whole life, and honestly I still have my days! We’re all human. I realized once I stopped fighting against my body, and instead letting go and working WITH my body, the better I felt physically and mentally. Just to throw it out there, I have been in a place where I was 40lbs heavier than I am today back in my eating disorder days. I have been in different body sizes. I’ve found that it’s really hard to try to find peace with food if you’re constantly trying to fight your body. If you’re so focused on changing your body, etc, you’ll tend to gear more toward a diet mindset, which usually leads to restriction, which then can lead to binging, as well as NOT having peace with food but feeling crazy around it. It’s all a crazy, vicious cycle and it’s exhausting. Once you learn to really let go and not fixate everything on your body and what you look like are you able to really become free.
“Studies have shown that the more you focus on your body, the worse you feel about yourself.” (Intuitive Eating, pg. 166) Isn’t this so true though? Think about it. The more inward you think, the less you think about others, and you’re constantly thinking about yourself which at the end of the day is a bit selfish. I mean I’m just being honest, and I’m not talking just to you, but I’m talking to me too! Because trust me, I need the reminder myself! Think of a time when you’ve been out with friends or family or anyone and you laugh so hard you could cry. Where you just have so much fun that you completely forget about what your body or you look like. Isn’t it fun? Isn’t it freeing? Did you even think about your body? Did anyone else even care about your body or were you guys just having so much fun being present with each other that you were able to let go? Sometimes I think when we’re really struggling with body image or having a hard day, the best thing to do is to take the focus off yourself (because mind games can be harsh!) and to go help someone else, or check in on someone you love, or do something nice for someone. I am all for caring for ourselves, but I also think it’s important to care for others too!
The book describes why they called the chapter “respecting your body”, because it’s important to take care of yourself, but also to be gentle with yourself. The book says, “Respecting your body means treating it with dignity and meeting its basic needs.” (Intuitive Eating, pg. 169) Treat yourself as you would your best friend. Be gentle. Be loving. Be kind. Be honest. Part of respecting yourself IS taking care of your basic needs like: drinking water, getting enough sleep, moving your body in a way that feels good, eating fruits & veggies because they’re good for you, and eating a chocolate chip cookie with your best friend because it’s also good for mind and soul! So how do you respect your body? Here are some ideas from the book that I think will be super helpful for you:
Appreciate your body parts that you already like- your legs, hair, eyes, nose, etc!
Buy clothes that are comfortable and flattering. Don’t hide behind something too big or try to squeeze into something uncomfortable and too small. Make sure your bras and underwear are comfortable & feel good too!
Take bubble baths or hot showers, whatever feels good! But make it feel special with exfoliating scrubs or good smelling soap and then lather yourself in lotion or cream. Something that feels wonderful!
Hug someone. Physical touch is so important and so good for us as humans. Hug someone, get a massage, etc!
Stop weighing yourself! This one is huge and I threw away my scale years ago. Letting your day or body be defined by the number on the scale is NOT a way to live. Get rid of it!
Quit body-checking. You know what I mean. When you pass a mirror and lift up your shirt to check your stomach or check yourself out in a negative way. It’s great to check yourself out with positive talk, but get rid of the negative comments. No body bashing! Or when you compare your body to everyone else’s in the room. Reframe your mindset. Catch yourself when you start doing this and start thinking about something else. You have power over what you think. You can renew your mind and thoughts!
Don’t compromise for a big event. I know this one is hard. Maybe your best friend’s wedding is coming up and you’re trying to lose weight for it. The more you focus on the weight loss, the more fixated you’ll be on your body, diet culture, etc. It typically only backfires and you end up gaining all the weight back because you were restricting. Trust me, there will ALWAYS be some kind of event coming up.
Stop trying to make yourself be something your not. Maybe your body type isn’t the same as someone you see on TV. It doesn’t mean you can’t do things like eat well and move your body to feel the best you can in your body. Taking care of yourself is super important, but I don’t think you can really get here until you let go and take care of yourself out of love rather than out of frustration, etc.
Think about this. Do you want to live your whole life being miserable in your own body, bashing yourself, or constantly trying to change? What if you accepted yourself and started being gentle with yourself. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel good in your body and confident? I think we all should no matter what we look like! I get there is SO much more to this and that this conversation goes way deeper than just this post! & there is a lot more to cover. So if you’re struggling, I highly suggest checking out the book, Body Kindness. It’s such a great read and I think it will be super helpful. Also, here is the link to the blog archives by The Real Life RD about body image. I talk about Robyn all the time, but she truly is an incredible woman. She has a gift with the way she writes and makes me feel like she’s speaking my story. Highly suggest reading through some of her posts, and then she has a lot more categories that could also be helpful for you if you’re struggling: eating disorders, intuitive eating, hormones, etc.
By the way, if you ARE struggling with an eating disorder, this post might be hard for you, and it might not make sense and that’s okay! Seek help my friend, because your life is worth it. You are worth it and you matter. You don’t have to live the way you’re living, I promise. I’ve been there and it’s HARD! But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The light ALWAYS overcomes the darkness. Be encouraged! You are more than enough.
Tribole, E. and E. Resch. 2012. Intuitive Eating, 3rd edition. St. Martin’s Press, NY:NY.