Thursday, May 23, 2013

Can You Love Your Body Without Really Loving Your Body?

Lose the Diet.
Love Your Body.
Eat in Peace.

Those are three of the major tenets of my work with eating and body image.  The order in which women accomplish these goals is fairly standard.  First, they give up dieting.  While this may be a radical notion for some, usually it's not too difficult to accomplish.  Next, and as a part of a new non-dieting approach, they learn to find peace with food.  This step may require a bit more finagling, but many women are still able to find success.  So far, so good. . .  But, what comes next is, in my opinion, significantly more challenging to approach.

Love Your Body.

What does that mean?  Do you really need to love your body to move beyond eating and body issues?  Is love a requirement to heal?

I don't believe that you must really love your body in order to recover.  The truth is that most women (and an increasing number of men these days) don't love their bodies.  But, what is important is acting as if you love your body.  What does that mean exactly?
  • You refrain from attacking your body with verbal and visual assaults.
  • You take care of your body, providing it with adequate nutrition, sleep, and other self-care behaviors.
  • You exercise for health and enjoyment, not for punishment or compensation.
  • You wear clothing that fits, is comfortable, and flatters your physique.
  • You participate in activities that you enjoy, without letting your size keep you sidelined or from enjoying these activities.  
  • You have a healthy sexual/romantic life, and your body image isn't an obstacle to your sexuality.
  • You treat your body well, and if finances allow, you go for massages, manicures, etc.  
  • You accept that while you might prefer to be thinner, taller, tanner, or more toned, this is your body now. 
Can you try to act as if?