How can I love my body when I've been hating on it for years?

Just love your body...

Sounds simple but it's a life long journey that's more about the process than the destination. Loving your body is a great notion but it's not always feasible and even if you do find that feeling for a while it's not guaranteed to last the rest of your life. Your body will change and evolve as you encounter different phases of life and this can change the way you feel about yourself.

So how the hell can I even start on this life long journey of finally feeling comfortable in my own skin or better yet actually LOVING my body?

I know it seems impossible, especially if you are still stuck in the dieting cycle where you start and fall off a new diet every week, feel waves of shame and desperation and cannot see how you could possibly stop this way of thinking. 

What makes this idea even harder is that most of our friends and family are on diets too so there are few people to talk about this idea with. Dieting is the norm. I honestly have never met anyone that has never been on a diet. This is NOT normal, it's the norm in our society but not normal and definitely not natural.

When we are born we focus on how our bodies feel. We know when we're tired, hungry, full, sick etc. But as we grow older we are taught to stop listening to our bodies and to start manipulating our behaviour and habits to fit society's ideas of what health and weight should look like. Dieting is like plugging your ears to what your body is telling you and we need to start listening again in order to begin down the path of body love. If you listen to your body like you would listen to your best friend instead of yelling at it to do what it was told like the bratty kid down the street you used to babysit, you would have a much better relationship with your body.

Okay but how can I begin changing this relationship? 

1. Don't expect too much: You're never going to fall in love with the body you've hated your whole life but you might find small changes in your thoughts and feelings when you starting working on your relationship with your body. When you look in the mirror before you hop in the shower and you see a glimpse of yourself that you like. When you all of a sudden are amazed at the ability of your body when you moved that furniture around in your living room. It's the small changes that you need to celebrate because, damn, this journey is hard (but so worth it).

2. Practice body neutrality: This is where you realize that your body is just your packaging. Your body is merely a vehicle for you to live this life in, it isn't who you are. Your looks are the least interesting this about you and if you can practice thinking this way you'll be able to obsess less about your looks and start valuing all the other amazing qualities you hold.

 
 

 

3. Stay in your lane: Quit worrying about your friend that just lost 10 lbs on the latest diet trend, the celeb you've always dreamed of looking like or the fact that your partner is way more "fit" than you. Do the best you can for your body, somedays this might mean a lot of nutritious food and activity and some days it might mean rest and pizza. Take care of yourself and give your body what it needs, regardless of what else is going on around you. 

 
 

4. Let other people in on it: Let those around you know that you want to start thinking more positively about your body. Tell them you want to stop talking about dieting and weight loss because it is no longer serving you. Once you let people know you are trying to move on from the self hate, diet focused lifestyle they'll be more aware of what they talk about with you. Bonus: Your conversations will go from how many calories you ate at lunch to much more meaningful discussions about life and the things that really matter.

Most importantly, never feel shame or worry that you should love your body by now. Progress towards body love and body acceptance can be very slow but I promise it is worth it when you can stop obsessing about food, exercise and the way you look all day long.