February is heart month to bring awareness to how to keep a healthy heart. I fully support this campaign and encourage you to get your blood pressure checked, but there is something else I want to draw awareness to this month as well. I want to draw attention to cultivating a positive body image and truly loving ourselves enough to move, eat, drink and think in a way that supports our own body.
It is not a secret that I spent many years hating my body. I will be speaking about my years of struggle with poor body image that led to disordered eating on an upcoming episode of the Real Foodie Friends Podcast airing on Monday, February 15th. I encourage you to listen, as I share my story, as well as some of my favorite tips that I use daily now. It is a very vulnerable episode for me, as it is not a topic I talk about often, not even with my closest friends. That is why I want to talk about it on the podcast and here because I think it is time to break the silence, talk about it openly and support one another.
I think many of us often look into the mirror and do not like what we see back. We don’t like our flabby arms or the extra fat we have around our abdomen. We focus on all the negatives we see and often overlook our positive attributes, like our beautiful eyes, muscular legs, strong shoulders etc. It is easy to do and I have fallen into this trap too often. I have vowed to myself that I will no longer waste my time hating my body. I will only appreciate all it does for me and love it going forward.
One big change for me in taking steps towards loving my body is the shift in my perspective about it. When I look in the mirror now, I see strong legs that carry me through life. I see hips that helped me carry the most important person in my life, my daughter. I see an abdomen that might not be exactly the way I would like for it to look, but love it because it was the house for my baby to grow and be nourished for almost a year. I see my arms that are strong and allow me to do many things everyday. I am thankful for all that I can do with them, like carry my daughter, or type this blog post. So you see, when we shift our perspective, then we can look at our body with a whole new set of eyes and realize we do not hate it after all. In fact, we might just find a new appreciation for it and love it. This is what I am learning to do right now and it feels so much better then wasting all my energy on negative self body talk. Try finding the beauty and appreciation in every part of your body as you put on lotion after getting out of the shower. Start with your feet and move all the way up to your beautiful face. Once you get to your face, look in the mirror and say this affirmation: I love and approve of my body. Notice how you feel and see if anything changes for you as you go about your day. You might be pleasantly surprised.
As we start to develop this positive relationship with our bodies, more things will start to fall in place. Our bodies have been there for us all our lives. They are a temple for our soul and deserve to be treated well. Marriane Williamson says it best, “Your body wants to move; movement helps your muscles, your heart, your lungs, your brain.” If we want our bodies to continue supporting us everyday, then we must move it, feed it with healthy food, and talk kindly to it. It is all an act of self love to eat, move and think in a way that supports your body.
As we are near Valentine’s Day weekend, take some time to love yourself and treat yourself well. Go get a massage, pedicure and/or a facial. Take a walk with a friend. Meditate. Read a book that inspires you. Instead of going out to dinner, try a new healthy meal at home. Do something that makes you feel great. Whatever you decide to do, remember to be kind to yourself.
Happy Valentine’s Day!