Our poor body. It really does cop a lot from us not only physically, and from what we encounter in daily life but through mental anguish.
“I hate my butt”
“I need to wear long sleeve shirts to cover my flabby arms”
“I’m fat, and feel horrible”
“My muscles are too big” (definitely mine .. )
Does this sound like body appreciation?
We really do expect a lot from our bodies. When our mind/body connection is lacking we can fall into the trap of treating our bodies like it’s foreign, that it will take care of itself with its own responsibility. But we also know this is not true.
It’s true though that we treat the closest things to us the worst and our self is the perfect example. Anguish, anxiety, stress, grief, self-hatred are all examples of feelings we retain with a self-defeatist attitude. Not getting enough sleep, overeating, smoking, alcohol and not exercising are ways that we unconsciously deal with these feelings.
But how do you move forward with these emotions that can make us feel the way we do?
The biggest issue is we need to stop the negativity that’s being placing on ourselves. Our bodies are strong, amazing pieces of work that are unfortunately a reflection of our attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions. So, with this in mind if we creatively change our attitudes, beliefs and perceptions in key areas, the awareness around our bodies needs will deepen. With this deeper connection comes a flame from within that ignites and helps us explore the real reason why negativity and self-sabotage (overeating/under-eating/overexercising/under-exercising) exists.
3 ways to develop body appreciation
- Gain some perspective
Social media places a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way and feelings of inadequacy often follow. When we’re young, we take our bodies for granted, ask anyone 30+ and I’m sure they will feel the same. I certainly could write a list of things I would change about my habits in my 20’s.
Instead focus on what your body can help you achieve. How feeling fit and strong can help you do extraordinary things .. Perhaps focus on a sporting goal, or adventure holiday, or simply how damn good it is to be alive and make the most of this crazy journey! Being fit and maintaining your weight is a by-product of a larger goal and will help you take the center attention off ‘skinny”. Bring external goals internally, as this has been researched to provide more sustainable goal success. External goals = a means to an end, internal goals = fuelling for core needs and wants
- Connect through movement
Exercise gives us body confidence and boosts your self esteem. Like I mentioned earlier it allows you to connect mindfully to your body and also leads to healthier eating patterns.
Personally, exercise gives me a sense of control. I view it as a gift and know I can count on it to help destress and free my mind of any worries and refocus. A challenging workout can help you build (what my coach used to love saying) ‘character’, (and this is true), you don’t know what you’re capable of until you push the boundaries of the self.
- Change your mindset
Delving a little deeper into what is causing negative self talk can be tricky business and usually stems from past experiences. I love this juicy part of the equation and bringing out unknown obstacles with Nutrition and Health Coaching clients. We’re our biggest critics and listen to our inner voice way too often. For example, try asking yourself why do you want to change XYZ and why would this improve your life? Is there a real reason or is it simply superficial and mask other issues? Do these beliefs and expectations around health and fitness lead you to stay motivated?
Give yourself a break and talk nicely to yourself and show some respect, your patterns will follow. You might think that being harsh with hateful comments will make yourself more determined to try harder, but the opposite is true. Positivity attracts positivity so be kind and know that it’s ok to not be perfect all the time and natural to stuff up every now and then. It’s how you pick yourself up that counts.