Learning to love your body – just as it is now

Learning to love your body

9 January 2015

Written by Jennie Bayliss

Do you love your body—just as it is right now? Or do you hate the way your body looks back at you in the mirror?

Bring into your mind someone you don’t like so much – or maybe even hate. Are you inclined to be kind to this person? Do you treat them with respect? Or spend time really getting to know them? Are you gentle when they are stressed, sad or overwhelmed? Probably not. Rather I’m guessing the person you dislike (hate) gets short shrift and you move away from them as fast as possible because you don’t wish to be associated with them. What though if this ‘person’ is actually your body?

If you dislike/hate your body – are you going to be kind, respectful and gentle? Do you look at your body in a full length mirror and hate your reflection? Or perhaps hate it so much you rarely, if ever, truly look at your body? Yet your body is part of you and your body doesn’t want to be as big as it is either. Your body is not the enemy: if you begin to work with your body instead of fighting and hating it – it will change as you want it to. And as Jason Vale (The Juice Master) so eloquently put it: If you don’t look after your body—you’ll have no where to live.

How to love your body—just as it is right now

When I was heavily overweight, I rarely stood naked in front of a mirror, for my reflection made me feel sad. When I did, I would sigh and despair then quickly cover my body with clothing to hide what I thought was an ugly body with too many curves and folds. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you may too feel like this. Because of this, I know what I’m about to ask you to do will be challenging. Yet this exercise in truly accepting your body is very powerful. Are you willing to embark on this healing journey to love your body again?

Step 1. Choose a day where you can be alone without any interruptions for 20 minutes or so. In the privacy of your bedroom, undress and stand in front of a full length mirror and look at your body – not in the hateful way you normally do.

Begin looking at your face – notice your eyes, hair and smile. Now slowly let your gaze drop down and take in your breasts, belly, bum, arms and legs. Take your time: this isn’t your usual quick ‘I can’t stand the sight of you’ glance. Really look at yourself and truly see how your body looks. This is your body. Place your hands on different parts and get a sense of how it feels to your touch. As you look at your body in this way—it may make you feel very sad. Please though don’t hurry away. If there is sadness let it come up for it helps you connect back to the body you have been ignoring. And in this way your sadness will be released. Your body is unique – don’t even begin to compare it with your friend’s body or those Photoshop-created images of celebrities. This is your body and I wish for you to honour and begin this process of loving your body. End this time in front of the mirror by saying sorry for not looking after your body as well as you could. Don’t though beat yourself either: rather recognise that with everything going-on in your life to-date it was the best that you could do at the time, but now it is time to give your body better care.

Step 2. Redress: now looking in the mirror will be easier. Again, I am aware how self-conscious this will make you feel – but in part that’s why I’m asking you to do it. Ask your body what does it need? It’s not going to suddenly talk back to you!! None-the-less you may get a sense of something. Perhaps it wants to move more – or be more hydrated or it needs more fresh food?

Choose to take an action for what you have sensed. Pay attention to this ‘sense’ of what your body needs and begin to follow your own guidance.

Step 3. For the next 30 days consciously do one ‘nice’ thing for your body every day to show yourself that you love your body. For example drinking more water, going for a brisk walk, or choosing to eat more fresh vegetables. Listen, honour and take one action every day. It really is that easy to start this transformative change. Ask yourself questions like: ‘Am I really hungry – or is this just a habit for dealing with stress?’, ‘Is this hunger or thirst?’ or, ‘How will a massage make my body feel?’

After 30 days you will be far more in touch with your body and quite naturally you will be making better food and drink choices. If you are more than a stone overweight, this process will lead to weight loss. If you are more seriously overweight, you will be very surprised (in a good way!) how being kind to your body enables you easily to lose a more substantial amount of weight.

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