Loving your body can be really challenging at times. Most women at one point in time have struggled with body image issues and feeling confident in their own skin. Some women feel extremely self-conscious about their bodies all the time and for many years, I fell in this category.
For me, it all started when I was 14. I never felt like I fit in at school and was constantly teased by people about my appearance. I also grew up dancing and there was constant pressure to be smaller, and have an amazing body. This would lead to being featured in more dances. I was getting all this feedback from my peers and my dance coaches to change my body and the way I looked; consequently my eating disorder and body image issues lasted 9 years. I grew up “learning” that people would like me more if I was prettier and skinnier and it was really hard for me to break this habit.
Now, if you know me or have seen pictures of me, you are probably thinking why the heck did this girl have any issues? Frequently, people compliment me on my body and my looks. Most people don’t understand that body image issues and eating disorders have almost nothing to do with your actual size or body shape. They have to do with how much you value yourself and how much you believe you are worth. They are a byproduct of hating yourself on the inside, and thus, being reflected on the outside.
If you struggle with negative body image or have any sort of eating disorder, you know making the change to recovery is really scary. And no wonder it is scary and hard. It is something you can control and it probably has been a part of your life for a very long time. Change can be scary, hard, and uncomfortable, but you know what is more scary? Living with it for the rest of your life!
My road to recovery started when I decided that enough is enough. I was extremely tired of beating myself up all the time and not loving my body or loving myself at all. The pain was too great and I made the unwavering decision to get better. Now, this doesn’t mean there weren’t hard days after this, because of course there were. But, I knew, without a doubt, that I couldn’t take this any longer and I needed to get better. Once you make this decision, it becomes a lot easier!
After I decided I couldn’t take it any longer and that I had wasted too much of my time not loving my body/loving my life, I started doing a few things that really helped in my recovery. Doing these things ultimately gave me the ability to finally love myself and love my life.
This has been one of my biggest avenues to loving myself. I started meditating every night with a positive manta that got my brain thinking differently. If you struggle with negative body image/disordered eating, you are probably telling yourself negative things constantly (I’m ugly, I’m fat, I’m not beautiful, etc). The sooner you can remove the negative mind chatter the better, and mediation is a great tool to help with that. Try turning your negative mantra into a positive one and mediate with it daily. Some examples are, “I am beautiful”, “I am enough”, and “I am perfect just the way I am”. When meditating, say this phrase to yourself over and over again. The cool thing about your brain is when you start saying something to yourself regularly, you actually start to believe it!
2) Find Gratitude
Think of a few things everyday that you are grateful for about your body. This can be really simple at first, such as, I am grateful for my beautiful hair. It also helps to realize what your body is doing for you on a daily basis. You have two feet that allow you to get around this world, you have two eyes that allow you to see the beautiful things around you, and you have two arms that allow you to hug your friends and family. Start finding gratitude for your body on a daily basis.
3) Listen To Your Body
This can be a hard one, but start to notice what your body needs. Do you need to eat three meals a day? Maybe you need to eat five. Are you eating because you feel like you have to, or are you eating because you are hungry? What is your body craving and how can you give it what it needs? Also, listen to your body in regards to exercise. Are you exercising because you feel like you have to even when your body is exhausted and screaming for rest? Or are you exercising when you feel good and because you enjoy it? Your body is very smart, and you are very smart. Start listening to what your body needs regularly.
4) Realize You Are Worth It
Often times with eating disorders you can feel like you don’t deserve to love yourself and your life. This is far from the truth, so start to tell yourself you are absolutely worthy of an incredible life. You have every right to love your body, love yourself, and love what you are doing in this world. Life is too short to be constantly worrying about your next meal or when you are going to exercise. It’s time for you to realize you are worthy of having the best life possible!
If you are ready for change, I have a three-month program that works with women who have eating disorders/body image issues. I am not a weight loss coach, but I am a self-love coach. I can help you realize how amazing your body is so you can stop dieting/over exercising, and start living the life you want to live. Life is beautiful, amazing, and so much fun. Your struggle doesn’t have to exist. You are worthy of change, and I’m here if/when you are ready!