1. Fall in love with being IN your body.
2. Give up on a “destination”.
Having goals can be a beautiful thing but so many of us have this idea that once we get “there” (the perfect body/job/relationship/etc) we’ll have “arrived”. I don’t mean to take any excitement from your life but there is simply no permanent arrival state – but hey, this is WAY more exciting. We are ALWAYS growing. Finding the balance between unconditional self-acceptance and constant change is the true sweet spot. Practically, this means that the scale may go up and down but we can cultivate an inner contentment that isn’t shakeable.
3. End the “fitspiration”, “thinspiration”, comparison game.
I know, I know, that Pinterest board feels so motivating. Interestingly, studies have actually proven that we tend to desire the body shapes we’re looking at the most often. Sadly, this means that it’s really easy to limit our brains idea of beauty. I’m not against the pursuit of beauty, not at all! It’s a natural feminine desire to express beauty. That said, there’s a MUCH broader definition of beauty that we could be embracing and expressing if we chose to stop limiting ourselves to what was currently considered “ideal”.
4. List the things you think you can only do once you look a certain way. Do them now.
Are you waiting for that magic number on the scale to wear those little shorts or start that health coaching business? Do you ever say to yourself “once I lose the weight I’ll (fill in the blank)? Begin catching yourself in those moments and create a list of all the ways you’re going to stop holding yourself back.
5. Know that “body positive” and “feminist” are not separate from “health nut” or “feel-good junkie”.
At least, they don’t have to be. This is all about you being home for yourself. Would it liberate you to give up your strict diet for more meals out with friends? Or would you feel more free by admitting that you’d actually like to be stronger and fitter (without berating your sweet self today)? Neither option is wrong – what’s true for YOU right now?
6. Be honest.
Unless you’re a robot, it’s pretty hard to flip a switch and only think positive things about ourselves. A far more effective strategy is to acknowledge what’s already there and then extend that thought. Example: “Ok, I’m feeling angry about the way my body looks…AND I’m learning to treat myself with unconditional compassion.” BOTH of those thoughts can be true at once, you don’t have to shove the negative out – just observe it and offer your brain a little something new to chew on. Love the part of yourself that still feels critical but don’t let her run the show. As soon as we start shoving parts of ourselves away, they’ll begin searching for another way to express.
7. Re-frame “discipline”.
If you’re still in the “my body isn’t the way I want it to be” boat- there’s a good chance you feel your willpower isn’t what it should be. Discipline is often looked at as this heavy and awful thing we don’t have enough of…but have you ever considered that discipline can have a lightness to it? Discipline yourself to only speak sweetly to and about your body. Discipline yourself to make pleasure a priority in your life. Discipline yourself to LISTEN to your body rather than control her. It’ll take a little focus, sure, but as my favorite quote goes: “It takes discipline to be a free spirit”.
8. Find a more powerful motivation.
To tack on to the “fitspiration” comments above – it can feel like loving ourselves will send us down the road of netflix-and-ice-cream binges alllll day every day. But look a little deeper: would that actually FEEL good for very long? Is that what a woman who loves herself does? Here’s my biggest secret: FIGURE OUT HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL. If you’re not sure, think of yourself living in your ideal body. How does that version of you feel in your skin? Free? Light? Confident? Get descriptive and get excited! From there, make your choices. Eat to feel the way you want to feel. Exercise to feel the way you want to feel. Make your choices based on how you want to feel.