How to Start Practicing Body Love.

How to Start Practicing Body Love.
I’ve got a feeling that deep inside, you know that living in a body you love is a bliss you deserve – it’s only natural really.
We’re meant to love our bodies.
How do I know?
‘Cause anything else really freakin’ hurts.
I sensed it too, for years.
There was this constant, nagging feeling that if I had a body I loved – life would be far more delicious.
So I threw all my energy into crafting a body I felt was lovable- diets, fasts, exercise programs, thinspiration, fitspiration, and the constant motivation that “someday” I’d be living the life of my dreams in all my confident glory.
“Gosh” I’d think to myself, “if I had a flat belly I could take on the world” (or at least crush an audition and run a wildly successful business).
I got so close so many times but bliss eluded me.
It was always 10 pounds or another juice fast away.
See, I was totally right that living in a body I loved would be bliss…but I missed the memo that my body didn’t need to change.
I kept holding self-acceptance out in front of myself thinking my motivation would wane if I got soft.
What no one told me was that if I hated (or even just tolerated) my body on the journey – no number on the scale would quench my thirst for more than a few weeks.
Falling in love with your body is falling in love with the home you live in.
It’s not that you “should” love yourself.
Fuck “shoulds”.
It’s that NOTHING LESS FEELS GOOD – even the “perfect” body.
Here are my top 8 tips for living in a body you love:

1. Fall in love with being IN your body.

Imagine for a moment that you’ve been in a horrible accident and became paralyzed from the neck down. I hate to get so dark with you but go with me for a moment. What would you miss? What pleasures, sensations, and experiences would you crave? What might you be taking for granted? Begin focusing on the EXPERIENCE of your body from the inside-out rather than judging it from the outside-in.

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.

More than anything, learn to love your body because it’s yours.
It’s your home.
You take it everywhere and the experience you have in it affects everything you do.
If love feels like a stretch, start with acceptance: stand in front of the mirror, take yourself in, and simply say “you’re ok with me”. No matter what thoughts may rage to the contrary, breathe deeply into that sweet belly of yours and practice, practice, practice.
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Rande Moss

Eating Psychology Coach. Kundalini Yoga Teacher. Guide to Food & Body Freedom.
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