My body has been all kinds of shapes and sizes. I travelled the world when I was deemed to be obese, and I’ve been insecure at my smallest size counting every calorie.
Neither of those scenarios are perfect, but what I strive for for myself (and for you!) is to love your body as it is. So many women that I know are waiting to accept their body until they are a certain size, weigh a certain amount or can fit into a certain item of clothing.
If we digest that concept for a second, we’re telling ourselves that we can only love ourselves and our bodies at an uncertain time in the future. That we’re not good enough as we are.
Let’s imagine for a second that you loved your body EXACTLY as it is right now. I know it sounds like a foreign concept, but just try.
How would your life be different? Would you act differently? Dress differently? Show up differently? How would you feel about yourself?
Here’s the magic lesson – you can have that now.
Let’s be real, it’s a hard road and you’ll have big ups and downs. Major life changes tend to throw a wrench in your progress, but the goal is to strive to get back on track.
For example, I’ve had a real hard time postpartum with baby number two. With my son, I feel like the weight just dropped off. Baby number two? I swear to god those pounds are holding on for dear life. And I’ve been letting it upset me for too long, so believe you me I’m employing all the strategies that I’m about to share with you.
Part of the inspiration for this particular post has come from reading Jes Baker’s Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls (ah-mazing – get it now), and following the Body Love Society podcast (one of the gals is local to my hometown!).
So, here goes.
This podcast is a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network, powered by ATB. Check out the latest episode of Let’s Do Coffee presented by NAIT’s Mawji Centre for Entrepreneurship. And for a little laugh, check out Repodcasting to find out how the gals recast Manchester By Sea.
If you’re anything like I have been, you stop shopping when you’re unhappy with your body. You’re waiting to shop until you feel good. Well… let me tell you that if you’re living in clothes that you hate, that make you feel worse, that ‘feel good magical day’ isn’t happening any time soon.
After I gave birth to my daughter and it was clear that things weren’t moving as fast as I’d like, instead of living in sweats and maternity tops, I went shopping. I decided that the number on my clothing didn’t matter, what mattered was how I felt.
And you know what? Not only did I feel good, but other’s noticed. I get so many compliments on the clothes that I bought because they FIT, I feel confident in them, and I’m actually embracing colour instead of hiding.
So if you’re waiting to shop, don’t. Go now. If you HATE shopping, bring a friend for moral support, or shop online somewhere that has a good return policy. Personally I prefer trying things on if possible, but you do you.
Take Some Selfies
There are periods of my life where there are next to no photos of me… and I look back and think about how sad that is. I didn’t want to document the incredible things that I was doing because of the way that I looked.
This time around I refuse to not be in the photos. Because right now… right now I’m starting a business, my children are young and exciting, and I am in a great marriage. Those are three pretty epic reasons to document my life and show up in pictures.
Additionally, and I pull this directly from Jes Baker’s book, the more you see your body the more normal it becomes. Think about it, if all you are seeing are “thinspiration” photos, then you’re striving for an ideal that ACTUALLY doesn’t exist because Photoshop y’all. Start seeing yourself. I’m not telling you to post all those photos (but if you do, rock on girl), but take them. You’ll be glad you did later.
Move Your Body
Not in a burning calories to lose weight way. Move your body because it freaking feels AMAZING to move your body. The key is to find the types of movement that light you up.
For me that’s walking outside in the fresh air. That’s stretching after a hot shower or bath. It’s barre class where I can dive into the music. It’s dancing in my kitchen with the kid. It’s racing my son up and down the hallway. It’s running on the treadmill (the first 20 minutes… anything after that becomes LESS joyful for me) while lip syncing to Hamilton.
When we don’t move our body, we’re not allowing an outlet for our stress and tension. We’re telling ourselves to stay small and quiet and to not be present.
Screw that. Move your body and move it with joy.
Ditch the Scale
I’ll admit it, I wrote a whole post on why you should throw away your scale… and then I bought another one after my daughter was born. Do you know what good that did me? Zero.
So while I haven’t taken a hammer to this new scale, it does sit on the top shelf and I don’t think I’ve weighed myself in weeks.
Here’s the thing, I’m slowly re-learning that the way I feel doesn’t equate to the number on the scale. Especially during my period – ladies, I’m sure you relate – I feel huge. I feel bloated and enormous and like I’ve gained ten pounds. The scale will either amplify that or not.
You know what the scale will NOT help with? Loving myself. Being happy NOW. Being grateful for all the things that my body can do. Because you know what? I may well weigh what it says on the scale, but I can still keep up in barre class. I can still walk 10,000 steps a day. I can still play with my kids. The scale can’t tell you that.
So… what are you proud of your body for being able to do, regardless of what that scale says?
Monitor My Feed
Social media can be uplifting or it can be soul crushing. I know you’ve heard this one before, so I’m not going to belabour the point. All I’m going to say is what you surround yourself with is what you feed your brain with. Feed it with images of unattainable bodies (only 4% of women in the world meet the standard of beauty that our society has set on a pedestal) and you’ll feel miserable. Feed it with images of women who are smiling, who are embracing life regardless of what the number on the scale says, and you’ll find yourself moving into more body acceptance, which slowly leads to body love.
So, start unfollowing things that make you feel less than. Start following things that uplift and inspire.
To make it tangible, here are some of my favourite accounts that fill my feed:
There are a ton of other accounts out there, obviously, but these are my personal favourites and fill my feed.
So, when I’m feeling down about myself, these are the strategies that I employ to get back to body loving. And you know what, I’m about to go on vacation to Scotland and I certainly don’t look the same as I did the last time I went. But heck with that, I’m going to move my body, eat the food, breathe in the fresh sea air, and take the goddamn pictures.
Be well, my friend.