Do You Respect Your Body? 6 Ways to Get Started Today
If you’re trying to make and stick to healthy lifestyle changes, respecting and appreciating your body may be a very important first step.
After all, when you spend too much time worrying about the size and shape of your body, you’re likely to start obsessing about food, give in to the temptation of restrictive diets, and ultimately get stuck on the diet and binge roller coaster.
I’d like you to answer these questions: Has disliking and disrespecting your body actually helped you to take better care of it? Is it of any benefit to you?
It’s certainly hard to give up the behavior of speaking badly to and about your body, as nearly everyone around you is probably talking negatively about their own bodies, and you’re probably getting the message that if you just tried a liiiiiittle bit harder, six pack abs could be yours.
So how can you get past this negative mindset? According to authors of Intuitive Eating, which is written by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, if you want to reach your natural weight (which is not necessarily the same as the one at which society wants you), you actually have to loosen up on yourself, put weight loss on the back burner and treat your body with respect.
I know, that’s a totally scary idea, but hear me out for a second.
First of all, remind yourself that strict diets and berating yourself about your weight haven’t helped you get or feel healthier. Second, begin focusing on respecting your body instead of punishing it. Don’t disregard your body, don’t throw in the towel and hook up an IV of hot fudge sauce, but take time to appreciate what you are capable of and what you do have.
And one more little piece of motivation: research over the years has shown that women who focus on the functionality of their bodies, rather than on the way it looks, are more likely to be intuitive eaters. That is, they are more likely to be able to eat when hungry and stop when full. Those with favorable attitudes toward their body were more likely to honor these signals and put down their forks.
Here are six tips for getting started on the body respect journey:
- Try to make your body comfortable. You deserve clothes that fit, you deserve to eat when you’re hungry, and you deserve to leave the table when you’re pleasantly full, not uncomfortably stuffed.
- Your body deserves to get its basic needs reached. You deserve to be touched affectionately and with respect. You deserve to move comfortably.
- Change how you measure your body. Instead of weighing yourself frequently and being obsessed with a number, try measuring something more pleasant, like whether you gave your body enough sleep, or moved it enough.
- Quit checking out your body and other people’s bodies. Start focusing on what you like about yourself, and start looking into the eyes of other people instead of assessing their size. Start focusing on what feels important to you.
- Let go of fat talk. Every time you focus on what you hate about yourself, you’re more likely to feel awful and fall prey to another diet.
- Let go of the fantasy that weight loss will solve all of your problems. Find happiness now—it will carry with you no matter what your size.
Have you experienced any foot complications from diabetes?