Befriending Our Bodies

Befriending Our Bodies

Filed Under: Body Acceptance

17 March 2015 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

“The body too has it’s rights, and it will have them: they cannot be trampled on without peril. The body ought to be the soul’s best friend. Many good men however have neglected to make it such: so it has become a fiend and has plagued them.” ~ Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1826

This past weekend, I had the privilege of teaching a workshop at Emoyeni Retreat Centre with an incredibly knowledgeable colleague and friend, RJ Chippendal. We were a group of about 20 very brave people all sharing our challenges with our relationship with our bodies and eating. We spoke about eating, mindfulness and about accepting our bodies. The discussions on body acceptance and appreciation got me thinking…

We often think about our ideal home and our ideal relationships. We imagine what it would be like and how we would like our partner to treat us and talk to us. How we would treat our partner, what we would do together. We can spend hours imagining what this could look like, but let’s take a moment to reflect on an ideal relationship with our bodies. After all, we live in our bodies – they carry us through life.

What would your ideal relationship with your body look like? How would you ideally treat your body on a daily basis?

Here are some ideas that inspire me…

  • To treat our bodies in a way that leaves us feeling nourished and nurtured every day.
  • To be on the same side as our bodies.
  • To befriend and have a very close and intimate relationship with our bodies.
  • To listen to our bodies and hear their subtle messages (the body whispers but the mind shouts loudly!)
  • To stop the negative self-talk, criticism and body bashing.
  • To stop comparing our bodies look and ability to others and not to be affected by the “perfect” photo shopped images in the media.
  • Ideally, to feed our bodies both for nourishment and pleasure and to feel relaxed around all types of food.
  • To eat and move in a way where eating is pure pleasure and moving is a delight and that is non- judgemental and free from guilt.
  • To speak to our bodies in a calm, kind and gentle way and not bully them into extremes.
  • To establish healthy, caring life long habits not because we should but because it actually feels good in body, mind and spirit.
  • To trust and be patient with our bodies.
  • To be forgiving when we don’t eat mindfully or when we are critical.
  • To create a relationship with our bodies that is based on kindness, acceptance and unconditional love, almost the way our pets love us.
  • Ultimately to foster a connection to our bodies where we listen to what they are saying and having a commitment to loving our bodies as they are and the courage to accept them despite their imperfections and limitations.
  • To keep our promises to our bodies.

“What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and the skin more beautiful than the garment in which it is clothed?” ~ Michelangelo

With love,

“From our first meeting - two faces on Zoom across the world from each other, there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that was a healing balm for a lifetime of food struggles and dieting. Without realizing how much damage I had done to myself by adhering, for decades, to restrictive food plans and rigid diet programs, Xen had a way of redirecting the harsh and negative self-talk and sending me forth each week with compassion, mindfulness and a new way of seeing myself in the here and now. Gone are the maybe somedays, and if-only, and when-I’m-smaller thinking. Now I am committed to the imperfect and rocky path to listening to my body, accepting my perfect imperfections, and rejecting diet mentality. Those negative voices will revisit me from time to time, I know, but Xen has offered valuable tools for meeting each day as a fresh start - another choice, another chance. Her devotion to this work and her belief in her clients is a remarkable gift; I am so fortunate to have found her. It is never too late to let go of the drama and embrace joy, ease and self-acceptance.”

Karen L, Denver, USA

“I felt hopeless and helpless in my daily struggle with mindless eating for many years. Then I found Xen which is exactly what I needed! My decision to work with her helped me to finally repair my relationship with food. It's changing my life for the better, one day at a time. Now I have control over the food, instead of it having control over me, which is the way it should be. I highly recommend Xen to anyone who has a desire to overcome similar food struggles. Xen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Karen J, Colorado, USA

“I reached out to Xenia because 2021 started on a tumultuous note for me. Between deaths, businesses suffering, hospitalizations, and job losses in our personal circle, I felt depleted and found myself being available for everyone but myself. Then I was hit with an unexpected health diagnosis, which was the last straw as it meant giving up “healthy foods” and workouts that I leaned on for my well-being and stability. Despite working in wellness (Yes, coaches and healers are vulnerable too!), I found myself reaching out to desserts for comfort. I like to live a life of permissions (not labels or deprivation leading to bingeing), so I wanted to work with someone who approached healing from a place of mindful compassion. I didn’t want to be my own client. Xenia was great in reminding me to be kind to myself. Working with her, brought me peace and helped shift my mindset. I love how desserts and I look at each other now.”

Sweta Vikram, New York, USA

“Working with Xenia was amazing. She armed me with a bunch of tools to help me through difficult times. Xenia is the kind of person who really cares for helping you in the long run. Her work will forever have an impact in my life.”

Daniela Velásquez, Ottawa, Canada

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel, Dublin, Ireland

“Working with Xen has been very empowering. Her approach is so refreshing from the usual. I have learned that I am in charge and that I get to choose what I put in my body and how to move my body in a way that I like! I get to make my own choices. It’s so liberating. Once you get a taste of freedom with food, there is no turning back to old ways! Thanks Xen for guiding me along the way to freedom.”

Heather B, Cork. Ireland

“This is the answer for those of you that struggle with food and all that surrounds it. Xenia said that I could make peace with food and it seemed at the time like an impossible dream. Turns out it isn’t. I recommend Xen and the mindful eating / intuitive eating approach unreservedly. If you have any questions about my experience, please get in touch. Thank you Xen. My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”

Michelle, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Xenia was a walking, living, breathing example of what can be done. I laughed and cried my way through a short course in this fascinating and invigorating programme with her, and have gained a designer tote full of coping skills that go way beyond containing kilogrammes. I feel infinitely lighter. I am doing this for me and, yes, you can do this for you too! And believe me, I’m cynical!”

Diana, Vancouver, Canada

“I don’t obsess about food like I used to. I am thinking differently about food and feeling so much more relaxed around all types of food. It’s wonderful to have pleasure and satisfaction from eating.”

Sarah, Illinois, USA

“I learned a new way of thinking about food. I have learned that food is not the enemy and that it can actually be enjoyed with no guilt.”

Sandy, London, United Kingdom

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating