BY GUEST EXPERT: LYNDSI KEVES
If you battle negative body image, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault.
Most of us struggle with our body image to some degree or another, at some point in our lives. We live in a culture that teaches us to find “flaws” so that we’ll spend time, money, and energy fixing what was never broken in the first place.
It’s also important to know that you have the power to turn it around.
You deserve to have a healthy and loving relationship with your body.
Here are 5 powerful practices to help you get there:
5 STEPS TO LOVE THE BODY
1. MAKE A LIST OF 20 THINGS YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT YOUR BODY EVERY DAY
There is SO much more to celebrate about our brilliant bodies than there is to criticize. Remember, we’ve been trained to see “flaws”, so we’re well practiced in that, but the more we practice looking for aspects to appreciate, the more positive our body image becomes. Focus on what your body does for you and allows you to experience, like strong legs that carry you through your day, eyes that take in the faces of loved ones, and ears that allow you to enjoy beautiful music. Turn up the volume on gratitude and criticism is silenced. There just isn’t room for both.
2. STOP ALL CRITICAL BODY TALK
Body bashing is a common – and damaging – pattern among girls and women. How unfortunate that so many of us are relating to each other over things we dislike about our bodies. Our words are powerful. We cannot speak negatively of our own body, or the body of another, and expect to like what we see when we look in the mirror. Our friends, sisters, and daughters are listening. It’s up to us to break the cycle.
Cause the words that come from your mouth
You’re the first to hear
Speak words of beauty and you will be there – India Arie
3. CLEAR YOUR SPACE AND SCREENS
Throw away your scale. Seriously. No good comes from that little tool of torment! Get rid of the clothes in your closet that don’t fit or help you to feel your best. Toss the “beauty” magazines filled with airbrushed images designed to make us feel insecure. Unfollow any social media that causes you to compare and despair.
I even got rid of my TV at the beginning of my body positive journey. That was 11 years ago and I haven’t missed it yet! You deserve to feel good about yourself. Let go of anything that isn’t contributing to your confidence.
4. TAKE TIME FOR DELIBERATE ACTS OF KINDNESS
Act as if you already love your body. Your mind will catch up. Create a list of ways to pamper yourself. Treat yourself to one kind act every day. This doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. A little bit of love goes a long way. Here are some of my favorites:
- Soak in a hot bath with soothing music, candles, and scented oils.
- Lovingly massage coconut oil or your favorite lotion into your skin.
- Go for a walk in nature, breathe deeply, pay attention to the beauty around you, and enjoy the feeling of moving your body.
- Smile at yourself in the mirror, say, “I love you”, and give yourself a compliment.
- Rest. Take naps. Sleep in. Lounge around while you read a good book. Make yourself cozy with comfy clothes, a blanket, and a nice cup of tea.
5. GIVE YOURSELF UNCONDITIONAL PERMISSION TO EAT
It’s really hard to feel good about ANYTHING – let alone our bodies – when we’re hungry and deprived! Let yourself eat what you want, as much as you want, and know that your body’s got this. As we embrace our appetite and specific food desires, the feeling of deprivation is soothed, our intuition takes over, and eating becomes easy and pleasurable. Peace comes when we stop trying to control our eating and our weight. A well-fed body is a happy body.
Remember, loving our bodies in a culture that would have us feel ashamed is radical. It requires courage and persistence. Be gentle and patient with yourself as you make the shift toward body positivity. You can do this!
Lyndsi Keves is an Intuitive Eating and Body Image Coach. She uses an anti-diet and body-positive approach to help people find peace with food. After struggling with eating disorders herself for over a decade, she knows first-hand that it is possible for anyone to have an easy, pleasurable relationship with food. Lyndsi now guides others through the journey of learning to cultivate self-love, trust their intuition around food, and adore their bodies.
Where you can find Lyndsi