A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending my cousin’s wedding. It was a gathering of incredible human beings at the breathtakingly beautiful Sundance Resort in Utah. I was a little overwhelmed by all the talent and beauty in one place. My cousin, Justin Libby, and his wife, Katie Ronsse, are both tremendous athletes — as are their friends. So there I was, surrounded by world-class athletes, learning a line-dance for the reception. I was sweating!
I ducked out of the dance practice for a moment to check on our schedule (and to get some water!) and ran into my aunt who exclaimed, “You look great! What’s your secret for losing weight?” My immediate response, before I had a chance to consider editing myself, was this:
“I’m loving my body.”
I smiled as I heard the words tumble off my tongue. They felt true. That wouldn’t always have been the case. Wow. Is this what it felt like to love my body? I liked it. How could I keep this feeling?
What does it mean to love your body?
The first thing I suggest is that we stop judging. In that room at Sundance, surrounded by amazingly fit and beautiful women rehearsing dance moves, I could easily have told myself I didn’t belong. I could have run through lists of comparisons and found myself wanting. Seriously. Not thin enough, strong enough, fast enough. But enough for what? What do I know for sure about my body? I know that it is here for me. It is what it is, and I’m going to speak kindly to it. I’m going to treat it as my ally.
When we focus on flaws, that’s all we see. We miss the joy available to us as we move through the world unconditionally loving these amazing bodies.
I’m not suggesting that we don’t set goals, challenge ourselves, grow in health. But (and this is a big one) we need to work WITH our bodies, not against them. We can work with our bodies when we accept them as they are (the truth), when we let go of judgement.
There is also a need for TLC. What do you do to foster a positive relationship with your body? What actions do you take to let your body know that you care about it?
Here’s an idea. Next time you take a shower or bath, look at yourself. Look at your body, each part of you, and tell each part that you’re grateful for it, that you love it. I am grateful for my feet, my calves, my hips, my elbows. Get comfortable with each part of you. If there is a specific part of your body that you’ve been judging harshly, give it some extra love and attention. I looooove my belly, my upper arms, my thighs, my nose… You get the idea.
How do you feel? What do you notice?
The food we eat sends our bodies all sorts of messages. The process of digestion is amazing and complex as our bodies get nutrients and energy from food. So feed yourself lovingly. Whatever food choices you make, be comfortable with them. When you feel bad about what you’re eating, those thoughts matter. Your body will respond differently if you feel bad about your food than if you are at peace with what you’re eating.
The food we eat matters. What we think about our food might matter even more. If you can’t make peace with a food choice, then maybe it’s not the right choice for you — at least not right now.
What else makes your body feel good? What else can you think of that will be a treat for your body?
Bodies are built for movement. What kind of physical movement would your body like today? Don’t go for a run to punish your body, trying to pound it into submission. Enjoy the movement as your muscles and bones and organs all function together to carry you down the road. Move because it is a loving, life-affirming act. Move because you care.
A positive relationship with your body can transform your life. You can feel more energized, more confident, more beautiful. You can find peace with how you feed yourself. And you can learn incredible things about yourself by listening to your body.
You might learn that line-dancing is actually fun. You might learn that you love beets a little more than you remembered. You might learn that you can have fun and feel good even when you’re the only non-pro-athlete at the dance party. You might learn that you have the most beautiful ankles you’ve ever seen. Look at how they move! You might learn that love gets better results than fear and punishment.
What are you doing today to develop and nurture a positive relationship with your wonderful body?
Want more ideas?
See the NOW Foundation’s Love Your Body campaign. (October 17, 2012 was Love Your Body Day. Did you know?)
Louise Hay’s book Love Your Body is packed full of beautiful affirmations to assist you.
Kimberly Riggins walks you through how to Love Your Naked Ass: 80 Gentle Ways to Transform Your Life, Restore Your Serenity & Rediscover Happiness. (You can do it!)
Kris Carr and Chef Chad Sarno serve up Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution.
I also suggest that if you haven’t already, you check out KrisCarr.com for Crazy Sexy goodness, because really, who doesn’t want to feel that good?!
I’d love to hear how you’re loving your body. Tell me. And let’s spread the love. Body love. Self love. Go.