I would be lying if I said I had mastered how to love my body one hundred percent! I thought I had, but that's because my body looked how I wanted it to and was performing to my expectations.
Fast forward a few month and I received some alarming blood tests, was told I had adrenal gland fatigue and then coeliac disease just to top it off! l was suddenly forced to slow down and was left feeling low and frustrated at my (poor) body. I felt like my body was letting me down!
Then thanks to the lack of exercise I started to gain some kg's, my body started to change shape and I felt like I was losing all the results I'd worked so hard for.
The truth is I was shattered and my body couldn't take being flogged anymore! It was sending me big warning signs and I had no choice but to slow down, listen and let my body start healing before something more serious occurred.
I thought I'd be ok with this, but in fact I've found it incredibly hard. Not exercising and feeling out of control over my body and health, has left me feeling low, anxious and overly critical of my external appearance - simply because it is not how it was 6 months ago.
So I've been taking a little time out to focus on getting back to full health and finding a new way of life that supports my body in healing and thriving, as well as learning how to be kinder, more loving and appreciative of my body.
Loving your body when it looks how you want it to and performs to your standards is easier.
Loving your body when it's on it's own mission and learning to be kind to it is harder, but that's when it's the most important to love your body!
So here are some of the things I've been doing to love my body more and be kinder, more positive towards it!
1. Be aware of the negative things you say and think
Being aware of the negative things you say and think about your body is the first step to changing your behaviour. If you need to take a tally of all the negative things you say or think in one day, so you can understand how much this is affecting your, do it.
2. Say kind things to your body
Just like when one of your beautiful friends bags herself out and it falls to you to give her a pep talk on how beautiful she is, how incredible our bodies are and how there is more to life than caring about a minute amount cellulite. It's time you do that for yourself - say those kind things, be your own best friend and cheerleader.
- When you catch yourself thinking/saying negative things about your body STOP and replace it with something kind and loving.
- At the end of each day write 3 thing you are thankful to your body for.
3. Give your body time
If you are recovering from an illness, experiencing a health problem, trying to get your pre-pregancy body back or even just trying to lose weight - give your body time.
I'm not good at this at all - so I understand how frustrating it can be when someone tells you this, or when you compare yourself to others who manage to get quick results, or even to your former fitter thinner self.
Sometimes our bodies are trying to recover and repair, and it takes longer than we expect. Just give yourself time, consistency and time will get you long lasting results. If you're fuelling and moving you're body correctly results will come eventually.
4. Connect with your body
It might sound silly but connecting to your body is going to help you understand it, appreciate it and ultimately respect it.
Start by tracking your menstural cycle and mood, this will help you identify and understand food cravings, why you might be short tempered, teary, or feel like your carrying extra weight.
Do exercise that connects your mind to your body so you can connect with how your body feels. When you feel strong and healthy you'll think more positively about yourself and appreciate your body for what it can do. My favourite exercises that promote that mind body connection are Tracy Anderson Method and Pilates (and the occasional session of hot yoga).
Also remember when you're feeling fatigued or exhausted listen to your body. Fuel it high nutrients foods (fruits and veggies) and give it the rest it needs.
5. Quit social media and weigh yourself less
Weighing yourself everyday or even multiple times a week places too much emphasis that a) your health is determined by your weight and b) that your worth is determined by your weight. Neither is true.
Social media does a similar thing and can feed an already negative headspace with the idea that we must look a certain way to be deemed and healthy, worthy and attractive. Give it a miss, just for a few weeks, focus on what feels good for your body and what foods make you feel healthy and energetic. When you feel more positive and connected towards yourself by all means use social media again.
Like I said I haven't fully mastered loving my body - I'm not sure I ever will completely. But I am very aware of my thoughts and behaviours, which makes it easier to get back to being positive, healthy and happy, but most importantly being loving, kind towards my body and appreciating my body for all it does (even if I don't always understand what it's up to).