Loving yourself should never be seen as a radical act, but a conscious and common choice you make. But of the women I work with and know, very few can honestly say they love their body unconditionally. Sadly, positive body image and positive self talk is both uncommon practice and pretty radical among women. If you only read one part of this post, read this and try to commit it to memory: you only have one body in this lifetime, so what is the point in spending your time hating on it and picking yourself apart?
I’m not saying that you can never address aspects about your body that make you insecure or unhappy, but working with yourself rather than against is surely a happier route to take in order to make a change. You’ve heard me say it before that exercise should be an enjoyable part of your lifestyle that you feel grateful you get to do, instead of a punishment you have to do to fit a certain ideal body type. While Studio LB is super effective for challenging your muscles and building cardio stamina, I try to always keep it dynamic and fresh so you’re still having fun while working.
There are a few easy ways to begin giving yourself some grace when it comes to your body image and self talk, some of them a little less conventional than others.
Thank your body for its strengths, and forgive its weaknesses. Appreciating the tiny movements you often take for granted is a simple first step toward a better relationship with your body. I’m so thankful I’m strong enough to lift up my kid and give him a big bear hug after he hurts himself. But there may be a day (soon?!) he outgrows me and I know I’ll have to accept my physical inability to lift him up that way anymore. Hopefully on that day I won’t register it as a failure, just a shift.
Think of the way you talk to yourself in your head, and now think of how angry you’d be if someone said those things out loud to your best friend, daughter, sister, etc. “Your back fat rolls are disgusting and you definitely didn’t need a second greasy slice of pizza last night. Gross.” You’d be outraged to hear it, so stop saying it to yourself.
If you use social media, find people with a range of body types to follow for inspiration on fashion and lifestyle. This may sound minor, but we’re constantly inundated with images of women that may not reflect what we see in the mirror and it can be super helpful to see more models with diverse bodies. When I was younger, it was they heyday of Kate Moss and my figure definitely wasn’t heroin chic. Today, it can feel like unless your measurements match a Kardashian or Em Rata you’re screwed. Filling your feed with diverse, personally relatable looks can help reframe your beauty standards.
Finally, a daily mantra to remind yourself that you’re a badass and deserving of love is really powerful. Look at yourself in the mirror before going to bed and repeat your mantra out loud ten times. Eventually, you’ll start believing the words. I have a hard time with this one and sometimes can’t think of a solid mantra, so lately I’ve found myself using Lizzo lyrics. Some good ones are “Put me on a pedestal, bet on me, bet I will.” “No I’m not a snack at all. Look, I’m the whole damn meal.” “I’ve been lifting heavy metal. See this ass? Ain’t no rental.” If nothing else, saying the lyrics as kind of spoken word poetry makes me laugh and feel happier afterward.
Working toward cutting out negative self talk can be a long process, and something that ebbs and flows with time and circumstances. I’m certainly not perfect at being kind to myself all the time. We can be so great at building up our friends and so ruthless cutting ourselves down. Try to give yourself a little grace and become friends with your body, and I promise you’ll end up feeling better both mentally and physically.