I have spent many, many years bemoaning the fact that I do not have what I consider my IDEAL body type. I have dieted myself skinny; I have worked hard in the gym to build shapely arms and a tight butt. All my adult life I have regretted not having lush breasts and creamy skin. Especially as I age I am noticing freckles and dark spots and my skin is starting to sag with gravity. However, I refuse to give in to the knife or botox... out of fear mostly.
But over the past few months, I have finally, and happily, come to the realization that I actually like my body. It is strong. It is relatively healthy. It allows me to run... walk... play tennis... golf. And I am appreciating more and more the things I can do rather than concentrate on the attributes I wish I had. I can finally say I have made friends with my body and I think you should too! Yes, I said should.
Why should you make friends with your body? It is all about confidence. When we are not confident we tend to shy away from new challenges, and from new people. We tend to fade into the background at meetings, and events where people might notice us. Even if we have good ideas, or particularly special abilities, without confidence we don't share them or even reveal them sometimes.
Confident people treat themselves better. They are happier. They have better posture. They walk with a certain little swagger. They take better care of themselves both physically and emotionlly. They have more to give to others. I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. And confidence in one area breeds confidence in others. Think about that for a moment.
So how has this change in me come to pass? It's been an attitude shift for sure. And I think it is one that anyone can make with just a bit of work. I have been thinking about it a lot. This is for you if you are struggling with body image or know someone who may be.
Here are 5 things you can do RIGHT now, to start making friends with your body:
1. Go to the mirror and notice 3 or 4 things that you like about your physical body. Say them outloud to yourself.
For example... I like my nose. I have pretty eyes. I like my long legs. I think I have great fingernails. I love the little muscles that are popping from my shoulders.
2. Think of 3 things that your body has done for you over the past 24 hours that make you happy or proud. Say them outloud to yourself.
For example... I increased the weights on my bicep curl/overhead raises today by 3 pounds. I walked 4 miles yesterday. I fit into my skinniest jeans yesterday and wore them all day for the first time in 6 months.
3. Plan 3 things that you are going to do for yourself today. Write them down. Do them.
For example... I am going to have a nice long soak in the tub today with epsom salts to soothe my sore muscles after my morning workout. I am going to prepare myself a cup of green tea after lunch and make a food plan for the next few days. I am going to use coconut oil to clean my teeth today.
4. Leave yourself a little love note on your bedroom or bathroom mirror, or even on your computer screen if you don't want anyone else to see it. A simple note that will make you feel cared for.
For example,... SMILE, YOU ARE AWESOME. Or YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Or YOU ARE STRONG.
5. Catch your negative self talk and replace/reword it with positive phrases.
For example... Oh gosh, I wish my tummy was flatter. Wait, my tummy actually looks better than it did a couple of weeks ago and I am really happy about that. Or.. Wow! I hate my big feet, I wish they looked nice in sandals. But I am going to give myself a pedicure today and start taking better of them.
These 5 things need to be repeated of course... if you do them daily you will soon start to make that mind shift and eventually you will find that you have made friends with your body too.
And one more thing, while we are on the subject... be very mindful of the things you are saying out loud in front of children especially. We model behaviors and attitudes.
Are you friends with your body? What advice would you give to someone else about becoming friends with their own body?