The other day I was chatting with a group of women around the topics of body love, self-compassion & health. In hushed tones one of them shyly asked me, “can I love my body…and still want to lose weight?” She asked me as though it was some dirty little secret, that somehow she couldn’t desire to change her body – and still love her body. That the two ideas were somehow contradictory. And I realized that there was a need for clarification!
You can love your body and want to look good and feel comfortable in your own skin! Self-compassion & body love means you don’t place your worth on the size of your clothing or the number on the scale. Loving your body doesn’t mean you do away with your ego (that’s impossible), it means you embrace your ego! It’s ok to want to feel comfortable in your own skin! But that feeling comfortable isn’t about matching the norms we are fed from the media or society – but from the definition you create. You decide what you feel comfortable with – and what you don’t. And then you unapologetically do whatever you need to do to make it so. Not from a place of should or shame – but from a place of kindness & deep honouring of your desires, wishes and goals!
Allow me to explain, with a little personal reflection. I recently pulled out my “summer clothes” box. I tried on my old faves and was a little surprised to find that my fave shorts felt…a little snug. I’ve been injured and loving my way through this injury has involved a little more indulgence than usual. Injuries have a way of dulling your sparkle and making you feel a bit blah. And while I could recognize what was happening at the time (emotional eating), I didn’t judge it. I acknowledged my choices and let that *hit go. Because that is my mantra for 2017. But I digress. I’ve loved my way to about 8ish pounds or so (not not a fan of scales, so that’s my ballpark). So yeah…tight shorts. So it’s time to take a good look at my choices. And reflect on what is working, and what isn’t. Not from a place of judgement or shame, but from an objective place of logistics frankly. I don’t want to buy new shorts. I really like my old wardrobe. And I also don’t want to be uncomfortable in my clothing – so, it’s time to shift some of my nutrition habits. Gently. Not with extremes that would more than likely swing me into a diet mind-set , but with kindness. Reconnecting to my food in a more empowered way.
I love the work of Geneen Roth. One of the biggest take-home messages in her book “Women, Food & God” (at least for me) was “what are you hungry for?” This winter as I struggled through injury and tried to keep my spirits high, the answer to that question wasn’t always food. Sometimes I was “hungry” for the calm that comes from the serotonin rush that accompanies eating. Sometimes I was “hungry’ for the rush I couldn’t get from exercise (oh, hey sugar!). Sometimes I was “hungry” for comfort – because I was sad that I was watching all my clients & friends ROCK their 2017 goals…and I was sidelined. Not all the time but just sometimes. And enough of the time that some old habits crept back in. Not healthy ones that make me feel empowered, but less than healthy ones that make me feel, well…MEH. But I’m not committed to MEH. I’m committed to extraordinary. So, without shame or guilt I move forward. I acknowledge the desire to change from an authentic place of healthy ego, and with self-compassion & kindness I am now in pursuit of my goals. Misson: rock my summer shorts!
If you’re working on developing your own body lovin’ approach to making some changes to your body, consider this. It’s ok to want to make changes, as long as they come from a place of kindness & love. The difference between driving change from social norms &”should’s” and body love is this; when you make the change from a place of self-love & compassion it’s kind. It’s not about fitting a mold – it’s about defining your own. And there is a powerful recognition that you are a freaking goddess – no change required! No pressure cooker. No hard & fast timeline. No on the wagon or off the wagon. Just YOU rocking your healthy lifestyle – in your own uniquely awesome way!