Love is in the air! And to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I want to share some thoughts on what it means to love your body.
Right now, the “love your body” movement is everywhere. And I love a lot of things about it! It is a refreshing change from years of diet culture messaging that can empower women to change their relationships to their bodies.
However, the demand that you LOVE your body can also cause a lot of guilt and stress. If you want to work toward a fat loss goal, are you not empowered? If you look in the mirror and still hear the voices from YEARS of diet culture messaging, are you doing something wrong? Of course not!
I want to share a more nuanced view of what it means to love your body. The body positive movement falls short because it creates a false expectation that you need to LOVE every single thing about your body. Not very realistic! You don’t have to declare gratitude for your cellulite. Body positivity doesn’t mean you NEVER have a bad body image day. It also doesn’t mean that wanting to change something about your body has to equate to hating yourself. It’s 100% possible to have aesthetic goals and approach them from a place of RESPECT instead of self loathing.
Body positivity doesn’t mean you never have a bad body image day.
1. Use more neutral language
Even saying “I have a stomach” is better than “I can’t believe my stomach sticks out like that” or “my belly is disgusting.” You may not be ready for anything much more than neutral. And that’s okay.
2. Shift the focus from appearance to experience
Instead of zooming in to your “arm flab” in a photo, practice honing in on what you were doing in the photo that was so fun! Or, if you are getting dressed, where are you going? What are you looking forward to doing? Maybe even take the time to write down the amazing things your body can DO!
3. Get curious
Start playing detective about your bad body image days. When do they tend to happen? When you feel a certain way? When do you have a certain kind of day? We often get SUPER critical of ourselves when avoiding something else or experiencing an uncomfortable feeling. (P.S. UNFOLLOW social media accounts that make you feel bad about your body – this can be a very common trigger for a bad body image day!).
All of this is a PRACTICE. It takes time. It takes patience. And if you are in a place where you are aiming for body neutrality, or if you are in a place where you are interested in pursuing physique change goals, that doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty or like you aren’t “empowered enough.”
This also takes SUPPORT. If any of this resonates with you, share this post with your friends and hold each other accountable to caring for and respecting yourselves as much as you do each other!
And if you want to learn more about how I can help you approach your fitness and nutrition in a way that helps minimize the guilt and negative self-talk, AND empowers you to pursue the changes you want at the same time, book a free connection call and we can chat.