Body Love

Posted on 13 February 2017 by Dominic

I must be honest, I am not a big fan of Valentine’s day, in the same way that I am not a fan of New Year’s Eve parties. I see them both as “compulsory enjoyment” days.  My inner rebel protests and does NOT want to give or receive flowers or go out for dinner on the 14th of February!  I far prefer spontaneity and random romance days!

However… I DO like the message of Valentine’s Day…

LOVE

This Valentine’s Day I want to look at other kinds of love, like love for the precious bodies that we live in.

The past week has been uncomfortable for me, I have had severe backache and on the weekend it took a turn for the worse to sciatica. I can’t do basic things like bend and walk without pain. Pain is a rather humbling and reflective experience, so I have been thinking a lot about body appreciation and body love.

I struggle with it and so do most of my clients! I understand that it’s hard to love and appreciate your body when all you’ve ever done is criticise it! I get how it’s a big jump to go from hating and blaming your body to loving and respecting your body.

We only really start to appreciate our bodies when something gives in and we realise that we take so much that our bodies do for us, for granted. But is it really necessary for things to go wrong before we start to appreciate our bodies?  Perhaps they give in because we inflict so much judgment on them?

The body battlefield is a rough place. Think of how may times you have mistreated your body by being:

How many times have you starved your body?
Stuffed it to the point of discomfort?
Dissociated from it?
Abused it with overexercise? Overwork? Lack of sleep?

Many of my clients ask me how do you love your body?  How do you go from hating your body to loving it? It’s a slow process, it takes time and patience.

The first step to learning to love your body is awareness.

Start by noticing your thoughts about your body, both the negative and the positive. Pay attention to what you tell your body when you get up in the morning, as you get dressed and throughout your day.

We then need to examine the negative thoughts and see if we can neutralise them. So, for example:

  • My body is so fat and ugly … my body carries me through life.
  • My thighs are disgusting can be changed to… my thighs help me sit and walk.
  • My arms are flabby to… my arms help me carry things.
  • My stomach is big to… my stomach digests my food

The second step is respect.

Respect what your body does for you — how your body breathes and your heart beats so you can live. Your body does that effortlessly and serves you loyally day after day. You don’t have to like someone / something to respect it. You can accept its imperfections and limitations and still respect it.

The third step is practicing appreciation and gratitude.

Think of everything your body does for you…

  • Healed a bruise or a broken bone
  • Taken you on a long walk
  • Digested a heavy meal
  • Bent down to pat your dog or hug your child
  • Released you from pain
  • Given you a pleasurable sensation

So, this Valentine’s Day what if you were to start a romance and love affair with your body? What would it look like?

  • What would you say to your body on a daily basis?
  • How would you treat your body?
  • What would you do when your body is tired? Hungry?
  • How would you feed it?
  • How would you move it?

My wish for you is that instead of feeding your body the junk of judgment, you nourish your body with acceptance, respect, love and care.

“Your body is not your masterpiece – your life is. It is suggested to us a million times a day that our BODIES are PROJECTS. They aren’t. Our lives are. Our spirituality is. Our relationships are. Our work is. Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life – where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.” — Glennon Melton

May you learn to treat your precious body with love.
May you learn to look after your body with joy.
May you learn to respect and accept your body with kindness.

Love
Xen

Are you are tired of yo-yo dieting, emotional eating and obsessing about the size of your body or what you are eating? Do you want to learn how to let go of diets and change your relationship with food, eating and your body? Join our 8 Week Mindful Eating Programme (starts 5 October in Jo'burg) OR book a FREE Mindful Eating Introductory Session with me.

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