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?  


I Hate to Weight said...

losing the diet and eating in peace always mean gaining weight for me.

i'm learning, learning-- (but very slowly) that that's okay.

with scrutiny, i'm thin. losing the diet -- a little pleasingly plump.

not so easy, but you're more than 100% right.

thanks for the reminder!

LittleMissFairy said...

I cannot.
I just cannot.

Colleen Romanelli said...

Our bodies know when we hate them.

Health_Adventure said...

What you are saying just touch my heart! I totally agree with you and I even wrote the quotes into my own notebook! Thanks! It is definitely inspiring! I love your blog~~

P/S: I just started to blog about fitness, wellness and ed recovery, it means so much to me if you check my blog out :)
Thanks, let's support each other ^^

I Hate to Weight said...

i love your blog too and always look forward to new posts.

Siddhartha Biswas said...


Was just wondering around is several sites and landed up in your wonderful blog. I was Bulimic, recovered a few years back but still fighting to avoid a relapse. To keep myself engaged I maintain a Eating-Disorder-Recovery club.
Just want to say your readers that : "Good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who DON'T GIVE UP" . Please let me know if I can be of any help of yours to help our friends battle eating disorders.

Georgette Hosking said...

All of us should take care of their body through proper diet and exercise. But it should be in such a manner that it is safe for your health. Excessive dieting and exercises will bring you to eating disorder which is a kind of addiction caused by the fear of gaining weight.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think it's possible. I have a lot of hang ups about the way I look (and I am blogging about my efforts to get in shape) but that doesn't mean that I "hate" my body. I do think that it's a problem that eating disorder treatment doesn't necessary recognize that you can "love" you body while still maybe wanting to change things about it, and that wanting to lose 5-10 isn't necessarily pathological. However, I understanding that it can take a long time to genuinely get to that point.

Theveka said...

Hi there, I tend to agree with you on lots of accounts! I'd love it if you would check out my blog!

So, I think what you're talking about is one of the first steps of creating a compassionate relationship with the body image. Kind of like the fake it until you make it. Willingness and wanting can be mutually exclusive. It's about having faith in yourself that if you practice self-love long enough, you'll milk those neural pathways and then they'll just start firing on their own! Not that it isn't terrifying, because it is...absolutely terrifying. But we're all much much more brave than we believe.