Body-love is such a loaded topic, isn’t it?
Every woman is talking about it and every woman has an opinion on it because every woman is struggling with it.
There are those who say loving your body is impossible if you don’t wear a size 0 and there are those who pretend to be totally OK with being morbidly obese; which is a loaded topic in itself. There are those who think loving your body means being obsessed with it and others who believe it means completely letting yourself go.
Extreme points of view that don’t even scratch the surface of true body-love.
But what does loving your body actually mean and how does it look like in everyday life?
First of all, here’s what loving your body does NOT mean: it doesn’t mean neglecting your body and your physical health; aka. never working out and having McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It doesn’t mean using your body as an excuse to not test your limits or moving beyond your comfort zone.
It doesn’t mean over-glorifying your body and all that comes with looking “great”.
It doesn’t mean worrying about your body and your appearance 24/7 and not being able to live your life – which, I know, is so difficult in our times.
After all, there’s so much shame when it comes to our bodies. We feel ashamed because we have – gasp – such outrageously feminine body parts like hips, booties or thighs. Then there’s the cellulite, the muffin tops or the love handles (harassing terms if you ask me!) that keep us up at nigh, locked into a spiral of embarrassment, abuse and fear.
And so, instead of celebrating our femininity, we try to hide it, cover it or diet it away.
And overpoweringly distressing.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. There’s a different way, a better way of living life for you; a way that takes away the shame and replaces it with love and freedom.
And that’s where real body-love comes in.
Loving your body, having an intimate relationship with your body, means taking good care of it. It means being attune to its needs – dietary and more – and listening to it more often than not.
Loving your body means relaxing about your size because you know you are feeding it deliciously healthful food and nurturing it with calming self-care routines.
It means skipping a day of exercise without freaking out or eating out and indulging every now and then.
True body-love means not following other people’s rules and doing what feels good to your body.
It means having fun with your body, doing cartwheels on a summer meadow or dancing Zumba with your best friend, filling every movement with love and joy.
It means experiencing the sensations of taste, lust, touch or thirst with gratitude and awe.
It means catching yourself when you’re comparing your body to the body of others and reminding yourself that your body is unique and beautiful in its own way.
True body-love means seeing the fire in your eyes, the strength in your arms and the beating of your heart and saying ‘thank you’ for being alive.
But most of all, loving your body means trusting your body.
Your body is benign. It doesn’t want to trick you, hurt you or kill you. It’s on your side. The sooner you realize that the better because that’s where change – and a little magic – begins to happen.
When you trust your body, you will stop starving or binging. You will stop judging or fearing. You will stop abusing or hating.
You will begin to see, feel and breathe peace: peace with food, peace with yourself and peace with your shape.
Of course, loving your body doesn’t always mean sunshine and unicorns.
You will still have “fat days” or experience the occasional twinge when you catch your reflection in the mirror.
However, real body-love stops you from remaining a victim of your body and instead empowers you to move on with confidence and trust. It enables you to live your life, chase your dreams, have beautiful relationships and powerful, focused conversations without your mind worrying about the way you look or plotting the diet you’ll start the next day.
True body love means being conscious of your body and respecting it for all it does for you, but not giving it power over you, your life and your dreams.
True body love is a balancing act and needs to be renewed every day of your life. It’s a practice; a beautiful practice that improves your health, strengthens your self-esteem and enriches your life in more aspects that you might believe.
And that’s what true body-love really means.