There is a body acceptance movement going on around us, and I love it. While we’ve still got a long way to go, I no longer only flip through magazines and see models with rail-thin, unattainable perfection staring back at me. We have celebrities like Oprah who are vocal about loving and caring for yourself and appreciating the body you have.
Though it can be hard not to see every flaw staring back at you from the mirror, the benefits of accepting them and loving yourself fully are incredible. Last week, we talked about loving and caring for our bodies. Though closely related, body acceptance is a little different. Body acceptance means loving and approving of your body in spite of real or perceived imperfections. Many of my clients, (and maybe you, too) have a difficult time believing they could ever accept the parts that are too heavy in their eyes, the stretchmarks on their midsection or the crinkles around their eyes. But I promise you, you can, and the results are extremely freeing.
Working Toward Body Acceptance
Body acceptance doesn’t come naturally for many of us, so it’s something you have to consciously work on. Here are a few ways you can begin to build a better appreciation for the body you live in.
- Take note of negative thoughts and talk and replace with positive statements. If every time you look in the mirror you think things like “I hate my thunder thighs,” or “You can see wrinkles for miles on my face these days,” take note of the negative comment. Make a mental note or track it in a journal. Do this for a few days, then recognize how frequently you say or think degrading things about yourself. Make a pact with yourself to stop. Each time a negative thought comes up, replace it with a positive statement instead.
- Use positive affirmations about your body. I mentioned this last week, but they fit in really well with body acceptance, too. Create positive statements about the things that bother you most about your body. If you want to be a fast swimmer, but you feel like you’re too slow, each time before exercising recite “My body and I always strive for the best when swimming,” or “My body is strong and allows me to participate in this sport I love. For that I am grateful.” Gratitude can have amazing power in your life. If you’re still focused on those thighs, instead of thinking about how unhappy you are with their size, say to yourself, “I’m grateful to have legs that carry me, allow me to chase my children and walk through life on.” Play with the words that feel right to you and say them often!
- Remember that your body appearance is only one piece of who you are. Mentally, spiritually and emotionally, you are so much more. Your physical appearance is hardly all that defines you. You are capable of and are likely already doing amazing things.
- Focus on what you like and what you are able to do. We also touched on this in the last blog. Don’t focus on all the aspects you hate. Focus on what you love and your abilities. Be grateful that you can swim laps for 20 minutes a day. Feel gratitude for your gorgeous hair and eyes. Be thankful you are strong enough to volunteer and help others. Make a list of all your abilities and favorite traits and post it on your bathroom mirror. Look past the wrinkles and instead focus on the incredible things about you each time you’re standing there.
Poor body image and a lack of acceptance can really weigh you down. People with poor body images can have low self-esteem, relationship struggles, anxiety, depression and eating disorders. If you are struggling with your body image, let’s work on this together. Contact me to get started on a positive path to wellness, acceptance and happiness.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.