5 Steps Toward Respecting Your Body

In the words of legendary Aretha Franklin,

What you want

Baby, I got it

What you need

Do you know I got it? 

All I’m askin’

Is for a little respect

Sorry!  I know you will now have that song stuck in your head all day.  But that’s a good thing! Remember it and you will remember that YOUR BODY IS AMAZING! Your body is an extraordinary machine that fights for you every single day.

But after years of seeing only the negative attributes of your body, it can be difficult to start appreciating the positive ones. Many fear that if they see something good, they will not be motivated to change.

While on the treadmill, I used to tell myself that I HAD to run because I needed thinner thighs. I would yell at myself that I had to make up for my cheat meal. Anyone who knows me knows that I HATE running! Yet, I felt I should force myself because it was the only way to reach my goal. I can tell you this…I NEVER FELT GOOD ABOUT MY ACCOMPLISHMENT. Even after running I still felt deflated. Negativity does not push you forward toward change.  It holds you back, in ways that you may not even recognize.

If your negative body image hasn’t gotten you to a sustainable goal, maybe it’s time to try something new.  Maybe it’s time to try positivity.

These 5 Steps Toward Respecting Your Body will guide you on your journey to recognizing the awesomeness of you!

 

1. Get Rid of the Scale

It is insane how much control a number can have over our lives. Something as small as 0.5 can make or break our mood. The scale carries us on an emotional roller coaster. We stare at it, nervously hoping for the best outcome. We watch the numbers as they adjust, silently praying it will settle where we hoped. If it does, we are temporarily ecstatic. But the high is fleeting because we then become consumed with how we will maintain that number throughout the day. We stress that we now have to do even more if we want our progress to continue.

And if it didn’t settle where we hoped, all is doomed.  We feel lost. We yell at ourselves, cry and debate giving up. We believe we are a failure.

YOU ARE MORE THAN A NUMBER! That number does not describe your self-worth. It does not tell the value you add to the world. It does not determine your health.

If you are not yet ready to part with the scale, consider how you can begin to get out from under its control.  What do you need to do to begin to weigh yourself less? Perhaps you move it out of sight or commit to only weighing yourself once a week, gradually making the time between weigh-ins longer and longer? It may scare you. You may be feel like you have lost control.  Eventually, however, it will be freeing.  You will actually feel more in control!

 

 

2. Accept Your Genetics

I make fun with my Mom that she never gave me the long legs that I wanted but that I was a better Mom and gave them to my first born.  My oldest daughter is 12 and already taller than me and her legs go on for miles. When I was in my teens and 20’s, I hated my legs! To me, they always looked short and fat and I truly believed that if I lost weight they would look longer.  Once I let go of that impossible belief, I realized that my legs actually weren’t all that bad. No amount of exercise was going to stretch my legs.  My legs are muscular.  They are powerful! They allow me to climb my stairs endlessly, chasing after my kids, carrying laundry. I feel amazing when they push me through a strenuous workout. By taking my focus away from all that I felt was bad with my body, I began to actually listen to my body, which has resulted in my healthiest self.

You have a genetic blueprint. You did not have a choice in the matter. And that blueprint makes you uniquely you. Instead of focusing on aspects of your body that you cannot change, or setting unrealistic expectations that are truly impossible, look at the environmental factors that may be affecting your outcomes.  Restrictive diets, quick weight losses and extreme workouts can negatively affect metabolism, making it harder to reach your fullest, healthiest potential.

Write down the negative views you have of your body. Be honest. Then reflect on your genetic makeup.  What would happen if you dropped the negative opinions of yourself and accepted your genetic blueprint?

 

3. Tune Out the Body Basher

I grew up listening to women tear themselves apart. Very rarely did I hear someone say what they liked about themselves. Even those who saw only the good in people, would see only the bad in themselves. That talk is toxic!

Think of a young girl, perhaps your daughter, granddaughter or niece. Imagine them sitting in front of a mirror. Would you tell her she was fat?  Would you tell her that her worth was dependent on her outward appearance? Would you want her to feel insignificant? NO! Of course not! And you shouldn’t tell yourself that either.  But it can be difficult to change.

The first step is recognizing when you do it; in the shower, as you pass a mirror, trying on new clothes. Acknowledge how that comment made you feel. Then redirect your thoughts. Focus in on how relaxing the hot shower is, or the feel of the new fabric.  Fill your mind with your surroundings. Negative self-talk can become consuming and set you down an unhappy path that lasts hours or even days. Picture that young girl and say to yourself what you would say to her.

 

4. Realize All Your Body Does for You

Your body is on your side. It’s pushing through even when you restrict its resources, feed it poorly, overstress it or give it too little sleep. Write down 10 things your body is good at.  If you struggle to identify them, take a step back and think about all you do from the moment you wake up. Did your body haul loads of groceries, carry kids or get you through a workout class? Don’t allow yourself to discredit your accomplishments. Be proud.

 

 

5. Dress in Clothes that Feel Good

Do you keep ‘skinny clothes’ in the closet?

Do you try to hide your body in oversized garments that aren’t really you?

Do you feel it isn’t worth spending the money on nice clothes now because you plan to change later?

I have coached many people who struggle to dress in clothes that actually make them feel good in the present. They feel they shouldn’t be wearing certain styles they love or that they don’t deserve to spend the money on themselves because they have ‘let themselves go.’ They fear that buying new clothes and throwing out the old ones means they are giving up.

Acceptance does not mean defeat! Respect for your body does not mean surrendering your goals. It means letting go of the negativity that holds you back. It means giving yourself the love and respect you need to move forward.

I can guide you on this journey Click and I will help!

 

“You can’t hate yourself happy. You can’t criticize yourself thin. You can’t shame yourself worthy. Real change begins with self-love and self-care.” — Jessica Ortner

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