I am all about positive body image – sharing the tools that can help people find peace and contentment with the skin they’re in!
Resources are something I spend a lot of time researching and I’m happy to share any I find that may be helpful. Here’s a fantastic movement The Body Positive. It shares the same philosophy as I do – we may come to it from a slightly different place but the principles are the same.
Learning to love your body definitely enables you to look after it. This means no more harsh and ineffective diets (remember, over 95% of people who diet regain the weight) or punishing fitness regimes!
For years I felt as though I was at war with myself. This manifested in binge eating, out of control weight gain, depression and a hell of a lot of wasted time and energy.
Is it loving yourself to spend your days like this? I don’t think so.
The first principle of Patanjali’s ten (his basic guide to living if you like), is non-harming. Obviously this relates to other people but just as importantly, it means not doing anything to harm yourself.
Negative self-talk, punishing diets and fitness programmes, and binge eating (or any form of eating disorder) are all forms of self-harm. Obsessively jumping on and off the bathroom scales (which really should be left to fish – see Scales are for fish) is also a form of self-harm.
One of the first changes I made when I embraced yoga as a way of living, was to start following Patanjali’s principles. This meant that every day, I focused on the things that I am grateful for – the blessings – and that included my amazing body. Yep, the one that protected me all these years despite the hateful things I’ve said to it and the abuse I’ve subjected it to.
There’s much more (nine more principles in fact) but this is a good starting point. Even when you don’t think there’s a single thing about your body that you love, consider what it actually does for you every day and be thankful for that. Say it. In the mirror. To your reflection.
“I am grateful for everything you do for me; for breathing, thinking, running around after the family, working…” The list is actually pretty immense!
Non-harming also means not beating yourself up with negative self-talk; you know, the I hate my thighs, they’re huge and wobbly, I am such a fat pig etc. You know the stuff.
For some this diatribe plays like a broken record over and over all day long – I know it did for me. There were a lot of untruths (we’ll get to those as well) that I was hanging onto from my childhood, reinforcing and beating myself with.
Put a stop to negative self-talk (and about anyone else for that matter).
Don’t go beating yourself up about it but register when you’re doing it and counter with something like: “You know what, that’s not true. My legs have climbed mountains (run around after the kids), they’re strong.”
Try these small changes and see how it feels. I’m pretty sure you’ll soon face some shifts in attitude and how you perceive your body.
Here’s another goodie, from the Body Image Movement. Baby steps, little changes every day do make all the difference!