These Three Things Changed How I See My BodyMar 01, 2023
Are you tired of the eternal battle between you and your body? I was, and it has taken me a long time to get to a place where I’m not constantly criticizing my body, feeling bad about how I look, and micromanaging what I eat and how I exercise. Looking back at my body image journey, there were many baby steps and many wrong turns, but in the end, I believe these three things helped me get into a better relationship with my body.
Stop romanticizing the “skinnier you from your past”
One thought that continuously circulated around in my mind was the “I did it before, so I can do it again” thought. When I really started deep diving into why I wanted that different body, I discovered that I was making it seem as if that body brought me happiness and inner peace. But the complete opposite was true. Here is a picture of me when I was at my leanest. I had the oh-so-sought-after six-pack, but I also had an obsession with working out (at least two workouts a day), I pre-planned every meal to the last calorie, and I was in an abusive relationship. Recognizing that was a game changer for me. I don’t want to go back to that! We can’t just take a body out of context, we need to be honest and admit what it took to get that body.
Seeing yourself through a different lens
Would you talk to your family and friends about their bodies the way you talk to yourself about your body? I bet not. So why is it ok to do that to yourself? What made me take a turn to more self-acceptance was having a baby at 41. Nothing like giving birth in your 40s to mess with your body :)Having a daughter and wanting her to grow up loving herself and her body has made me take a very hard and tough look at how I see myself. I made the choice never to refer to refer to myself or others in size, weight, or shape. Try it, you will be amazed how often we say things that refer to the body and not in a positive way. My daughter is now almost eight years old, and it's been a struggle to accept the "new" me, but I have.
Give your body credit
We tend to forget what our bodies do daily, what they afford us to experience, the injuries it has recovered from, the hills it has climbed, etc. I finally focused on giving my body credit. This body has been through a lot: I have incurred quite a few injuries in the military. The chronic pain has been incredibly challenging because I had to learn how to exercise again. I was so stuck on my routine that the thought of being unable to do it left me depressed. But now, I can look back and see that the pain has given me a new way of moving. I have explored other ways to move and train while honoring my limitations. This body has experienced a lot and it has allowed me to have my amazing daughter. So it's pretty awesome! And none of those experiences were bound to my body fat percentage or weight. It's all about perspective. Don't miss out on amazing experiences!
Body image issues are not something you just overcome; it's something you learn to identify and manage. And by manage, I mean you learn to be kind to your body, and slowly but surely, the negative thoughts become less, and the positive ones take the lead. I still have negative body image thoughts, but I don’t let them derail my day or make me change my plans. To me, that is a success! You can do it. Reach out if you need help.
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