I’m not going to lie. Healing your relationship with your body doesn’t come easy. We practically have to unlearn everything we have ever been taught about bodies and what constitutes a “good” one.
Throughout my recovery from disordered eating, I have picked up a few tips that help me maintain a positive relationship with my body and I’m going to share my top seven with you. They may not all resonate with you, and that’s okay. Please take what you need and focus on them. Remember, any form of eating disorder or mental illness is serious. If you are struggling, please contact a healthcare professional or check out The Butterfly Foundation for more information.
7 Ways You Can Start To Heal Your Relationship With Your Body
1. Throw out those damned scales!
I want you to start thinking about why you are weighing yourself. How does the experience make you feel? Does it lead to a spiral of shame if you don’t like what you see? Does it encourage restriction of food (aka a diet) or exercise for punishment?
I’ve been there too. Obsessively weighing myself daily. Waiting for that magic number to pop up. And when it did, my life would change I told myself. The world would celebrate with me, everyone would be so proud. I’d start to love myself and nothing would ever hold me back. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had this fantasy, obviously the diet industry wouldn’t exist if I was.
Throwing out my scales was by far the best thing I have done! It made me realise just how much of my life I was wasting by obsessing over a number. There are plenty of studies showing that BMI is bullsh*t and that weight is not a reliable indicator of someone’s health. Why fuss over a number when there are so many other wonderfully, amazing things about you? Check out Weigh Free May for some valuable information and inspiration – and make your pledge to go scale-free this month!
2. Clean up your social media feeds
Take stock of who you are following on social media and why. Do you follow “fitspo” accounts that promote dieting and weight loss? Is your feed full of thin white women who are constantly talking about the need to be fit and healthy to have a fulfilling life? How do some of the people you follow make you feel? Do they make you feel good about yourself or do you experience negative emotions? Maybe you feel unworthy because you don’t look like them or guilt and shame for not dedicating your life to the thin ideal?
I’m not here to tell you who you should and shouldn’t follow on social media, but rather to be mindful of those you do and how they make you feel. By diversifying my feeds, I feel much more a peace with who I am. I’ve made a conscious effort to follow people of all different shapes, sizes, colours and backgrounds. No longer do I follow people because I idolise their bodies and want to be like them. I choose accounts that inspire me, enlighten me and educate me and I have made some amazing connections because of that!
3. Stop exercising for weight-loss and calorie burning
Remember when we used to exercise for fun? No, I don’t either. As kids, we used movement as a form of fun. Whether it be playing our favourite sport or running around in the playground – we did it because it made us feel good, not because we felt guilty about the packet of chips we ate a recess! Let’s go back to that time when exercise (or movement) was pleasurable and not a chore.
For some tips on how to get moving again, check out my post here!
4. Clear out your wardrobe
We all have them. Those clothes that we hang on to – just in case we fit into them again one day. My advice – just get rid of the pesky buggers. Donate to charity, pass on to a friend, or sell them – they deserve a loving home and you deserve freedom. If you have any clothes you want to hang on to for sentimental value, then pop them aside somewhere.
Don’t forget to treat yourself to some new outfits! Make sure they not only fit you but are comfortable and make you feel like a million bucks!
5. Practice body gratitude
Get into the habit of practising gratitude for your body each day! Grab a journal and write down at least one thing about your body that you are grateful for. Do this every day, either in the evening just before you go to bed or first thing in the morning. It’ll set you up for a positive day or a peaceful sleep.
– I am thankful for all that my body does
6. Change your self-talk
This one isn’t going to happen overnight but remember, it’s okay to start small! I’ve spoken about self-compassion as a whole and, if you need a refresher, click here. Be mindful of how you speak about your body – not just to yourself but to others as well.
Practising body gratitude and creating self-love affirmations are going to help you curb the negative self-talk. Repeating these to yourself on a daily basis will help you shift negative thoughts and feelings about your body.
– I accept my body the way it is.
– My body is worthy of love and respect
7. Remove yourself from conversations that focus on diet & weight loss
Diet talk and negative conversations about body image are contagious. How many times have you heard one of your friends say that they “need to lose weight” and everyone else jumps in and starts talking about their body woes? It’s become the norm to hate your body!
As much as I like to think my little bubble of body positivity exists in real life, it doesn’t. People are still obsessed with weight-loss and diets and being thin – there’s no escape. Try and remove yourself from these conversations and if you can’t, try and resist the pressure to get involved. One day we will be a diet-free culture, I promise you!