The truth is, it is really difficult to hate something you take really good care of. If you are someone who struggles with your body image, or with loving your body, you may be waiting until your body changes or looks better before you will start to treat it with love and respect.
This way of thinking and acting is actually partially responsible for keeping so many people in bodies that they don’t love. Like the saying goes, if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.
When you really do not like your body, you are most likely not treating it as though it is the body you want—and in essence, you continue to create this body that you do not want. If, on the other hand, you start to behave as though you have a body that you love, you set yourself up to create just that—both in your mind and in your physical reality.
But do not take my word for it. Try these 5 tips to treat your body like a temple, and see if it helps you shift your perspective and your physical shape in a more positive direction.
1. Wear clothes that fit and flatter you.
One of the things that I see most commonly in people who do not love their bodies is the tendency to wear clothes that do not fit their current body. This may show up as wearing clothes that are too tight as a way of mentally knowing you fit into the ‘smaller’ or ‘goal’ size, or wearing clothes that are way too big in an attempt to hide the body.
Both of these actions communicate to your body that it is not good enough, not acceptable as it is. Then, all day long as you are uncomfortable in your clothes, you are reminding yourself that you are also uncomfortable in your skin.
So, making the commitment to only wear clothes that fit and flatter your current body is a way to mentally send the message to your body that it is safe and loved. It will also help you feel more comfortable in your current shape and size, which you deserve to feel! No more black to slim. Wear what you like and what fits you now.
2. Create a luxurious post-shower routine.
Creating a little spa-like ritual for yourself after you shower is a great way to add some body love into your daily routine and help you start to shift your perception of your body.
Get some really lovely smelling and feeling lotion, and apply it to your whole body after your shower, sending each part of your body a little “I love you” as you moisturize.
This may feel really uncomfortable and even totally inauthentic when you first start doing it, but if you can keep persisting, you may find that you actually start to believe your ‘I love you’s’ after a period of time. Taking good care of your body and doing this little luxury routine communicates to your body that it is worthy and deserving of love NOW.
3. Show up for your meals.
Rather than eating foods you think will ‘make you thin’ or will ‘help you tone up/build lean muscle’ or ‘burn fat’–start to show up for your meals and take notice of how the foods you are eating make you feel.
Does your digestion get upset when you eat certain foods? Do you feel really unsatisfied after meals, which lead to a binge later in the day/week/month? Is your current diet really working for you and making you feel good? Or is it a means to an end you think will help get you where you want to go?
The truth is, even if a certain diet does get you to the size and shape you want to be at, if you hate it, if it makes you feel unsatisfied, does not feel good on your digestion, does not make you feel alive or is simply just not enjoyable, you wont be able to stick with it for the long term. Which means you will just end up gaining all the weight back eventually.
Start to tune into which foods make you feel good, nourished, and satisfied but not stuffed. These are the meals that are really going to get you to the body you want. No diet expert or guru can tell you exactly what is going to work for you. So work from the place of feeling good, and watch how it transforms your relationship with both food and your body.
4. Move to feel good, not to slim down or tone up.
As with the diet point above, if you are moving in a way to punish or change your body, or otherwise with the intention and idea that your body needs to change and is not acceptable, you wont find your perfect way of moving that you will be able to stick with long term.
The truth is, physical activity is actually a very small part of what dictates how your body looks. Physical activity is far more about long-term health, long-term fitness, along with all the mental benefits that come with movement.
So ditch the spin class if you hate it and move onto the pole dancing or yoga lessons you have always wanted to try but didn’t think was ‘high intensity’ enough. Do what makes you feel good, so that you can sustain and maintain your fitness for life. It is far more important what you do over the long term, than what you do in the short term for short-term gains.
This way of moving will help you to feel so much better after your workout, because the intention was to honor and love your body, rather than to punish it. You may be surprised how your body responds to this new way of moving.
5. Turn comparison into love.
Finally, when you catch yourself comparing your body to the bodies of others, do not beat yourself up or tell yourself you should not be doing that. Instead, use it as an opportunity to love yourself.
Each time you catch yourself comparing, say to yourself “Ok, she/he is beautiful and I really appreciate how they look. But I also love my own arms/thighs/strength.”
Acknowledge the beauty you are seeing in others, and the beauty you already embody and posses.~Ali Washington
This process will help you move in a much more positive direction in your mind, and will remove the guilt/shame spiral that we usually get into when we compare.
What do you think? Are you willing to give any of these ideas a try? Remember, reading about loving yourself is not enough—you have to actually do the practices!