To magnify our rising guilt, we become unpleasantly aware of that the beauty standards which we are immersed in haven’t miraculously shifted to include our new-found holiday fluff-factor. Actually, those impending standards suddenly appear even less attainable than before.
This double standard of you-are-free-to-indulge-all-you-want-so-why-not mixed with you-must-look-like-a-supermodel-or-else-you-won’t-be-lovable is a tough one to wrestle with, because behind this pendulum we find the presence of shame. When shame comes to the party, dissociation and numbing behaviors tend to follow suit. So of course, after all of this, our bodies protest and shut down. The real question is: What can we do about this right now?
Feeling bloated, tired, cranky and disheartened is not fun. The good news is, these states can be changed. Our bodies want to feel vibrant, balanced, joyous and creative, so how can we get there?
3 Steps To Igniting Body Confidence:
1. She’s a three year old. Yep. Our bodies are like kids. They love to play, to move, to be snuggled, to enjoy treats, and most importantly, to be adored. When we criticize or scold our body, she shuts down. The best way to counter negative self-talk is to come up with five reasons we love our body for every negative comment. Love your body like she’s your favorite three year old!
2. Occupying space. As odd as this seems, the more we can fully be in our body and also claim our physical space, the more our body can relax. Relaxation supports all the systems in our body to function more optimally. For some of us, this can be a foreign experience, so it’s best to start with baby steps. We can practice just noticing one part of our body for even just a few minutes per day. Each day, moving our awareness to a new part of our body will slowly lead us to have a more embodied experience of ourselves. Notice where you are in space and how much you are filling your personal space.
3. Listen with curiosity. All the yucky ways (and pleasurable ways) we feel speaks to having a dynamic relationship with ourselves. We can do this by noticing how we feel after we eat or drink something. If we feel more alive and energized (and sensual), then we know we are giving our body what she needs. However, if we feel more tired, cranky, or shutdown, then the ‘juice isn’t worth the squeeze’—whatever it might be, it’s not enhancing our vitality and it’s best to avoid it in the future. Practice hearing, deciphering, and following your body’s messages.
To feel good in our body, we actually need to give our body what she needs to thrive. These are simple things: enough rest, exercise, good nutrition, fresh air, and pleasure (yes, pleasure is key to maintaining our ideal weight, for example).
And this is something best done with the support of others, because shame will only grow more in isolation. By choosing to make feeling amazing from the inside out, our priorities change.
Wellness, aliveness and vibrancy are the result of dynamic living. This means to being prepared for our needs to change. I have eaten almost every style of ‘diet’ there is available, each time being dedicated to truly heeding the messages of my body and following her wisdom. If I had been attached to the ‘ideal’, I would have missed the opportunity to follow my body’s wisdom. By listening, and sometimes dramatically changing how I eat (like going from being vegetarian to eating meat), my body is able to be her most vibrant self.
If you’d love to learn more about how to relate with your body with more delight and confidence, then I’d love for you to consider my in-depth Body Confidence training. This is not an easy topic to address, yet leaving it in the shadow doesn’t actually improve our situation. We get to choose to feel amazing and we can create a lifestyle where this is fun, easy and effective. I’d love to know how you feel about your own body and the possibility of having a benevolent, loving relationship with her.