Before trying to fix your body, appreciate it.
People come to me for a variety of reasons. They either want to lose weight, tighten their tummy after having a baby, fix their pelvic floor, or simply try to keep motivated to stay healthy because they know they need it.
The main two types of people that come to me are those who who love their journey but need help getting there, and secondly those who "hate" their bodies or are struggling to love it. This article is for the people who struggle with self acceptance of their body and where they are.
For me as a health/fitness coach one of the things I ask on intake forms is if a person is struggling with body acceptance. Why do I ask people these questions? To put it simple, people hire me for exercise. They typically don't want to spend the session with me going over their mental health. Most people just want the exercise list and how to do them correctly. I notice an adherence difference from the one's that are generally happy and those who do not appreciate their body.
Fixing your mental health is an "inside job" as a colleague of mine would say. Seeking guidance from counselors, healers etc. to get yourself in accordance with loving yourself is worth while. Once you've made that mental shift in loving your body, then the rest will become easier. It's going through the steps and being consistent that will be the next challenge.
If you hate your body, you aren't living in accordance with peace and harmony. This can lead to eating disorders. It also sets a bad example for everyone around you. Your subconscious knows it, your soul knows it, every cell of your body knows it. You're already falling behind on the goal setting because you aren't living in alignment. No matter how hard you try those negative thoughts and things you say to yourself are limiting your potential. You're saying, you don't deserve it, you are ugly, you are stupid, you aren't worthy. Would you tell your 5 year old self these things? Would you tell your children these things? I would hope not. Your sending the message not just to yourself, but to others that you aren't worthy. So if you don't feel worth it, it's going to be much more challenging for anyone else to help you feel worth it.
But you are worthy!
You are worthy just as you are because as Lady Gaga Says, "you were born this way". You were made in the energy of love. You were born and won the battle out of all the little sperm swimmers. There's nothing you need to do in God's eye, or whomever you deem a greater power beyond your existence, because you were born from that energy of love.
Now obviously life took us down different journeys and we have our ancestral DNA that plays a role in how we look and function. But you also have the personal power and responsibility to overcome that. You're most likely going to come up with a million and one excuses why you shouldn't follow through with the work to better yourself physically because, you haven't prioritized getting to love every inch of your body as it is today. You haven't connected and taken the time to heal from your trauma or the reason you beat yourself up with hateful words. That leads to failure, not just for you, but for the coach willing and able to guide you.
Below are a list of some tools you can use right away. Read below to the end for additional resources.
Steps to start your love journey
1.Say a mantra that reflects your truth
A mantra is flipping the switch from something negative to something positive. For example, if you hate your stomach after having a child because it's flabby or wrinkly, has stretch marks or you can't stand how big it is, switch your love speech to saying something like this.
"I love this belly because it keeps me warm."
" I love my belly because it expanded in order to hold and create life."
"My belly has the amazing capacity to stretch."
"My body has the wonderful capability to change"
"My body needs time and will heal"
2. Keep asking yourself, why? Then write down your ideal outcome.
The purpose of this exercise is to keep navigating the real reason and the first time and experience you felt you weren't worthy of love. Ask yourself why do you hate your body?
Maybe it comes down to the first experience in your childhood. Was it kids or family or friends that made fun of you or didn't pick you at recess? Maybe you were in a sport and your body didn't fit the perfect example of perfection in that sport. Maybe you experienced trauma sexually and were taken advantage of. Whatever the reason, it's important to pinpoint the exact moment because you learned you weren't good enough. At that moment you gave your power away or it was taken from you. I'm not saying it's great these things happened but we can use them to help teach us something. This is the time to teach yourself you ARE worthy of love just as you are. The question is, the next time someone says or does something to make you feel small, what are you going to do about it? Would you tell your five year old self to run and hide? Or would you tell your five year old self to stand up against the bullies and claim your power and that you deserve better? Write down how you would ideally like this to go next time. Journal it. Spend time how the perfect outcome would go. Then, try repeating what exactly you would say out loud and own it. You can get friends or a loved one to help you.
3. Shamanic Healing for Self-Love
Shaman Durek in his book "Spirit Hacking" p. 92 explains how to bring the breath of self love into your body. You want to sit up right with legs uncrossed so you aren't blocking your flow of energy.
- Speak the words in your mind while inhaling deeply: I breathe self-love into my body.
- As you exhale, feel the love circulating throughout your body. You can direct your love into your limbs, into your belly, into your brain, and any part that needs that extra love.
- Inhale and repeat the words into your mind: I breathe more self-love into my body.
- As you exhale, feel the love permeate your every cell.
Repeat this 10-15 rounds or however long it takes to feel full of self love.
This isn't an end all be all, but it can help greatly when you are feeling depleted.
4.Yoga Practice for opening Manipura Chakra
Manipura Chakra or our solar plexus, located at the belly, is associated with power, energy, will and achievement, strength, and vitality. Twists and heart openers help with bringing energy to manipura. Eating ginger, black pepper, things that build heat in the body will help to detox the blood and your system from this negative energy.
Some yoga poses to consider:
seated cat and cow
cobra and or sphinx
5. Gratitude Practice
Similar to a mantra, you can write down all the things your body has done for you thus far such as honoring your feet for taking you miles to destinations. Your legs for helping you feel grounded. Your hips for giving you curves or a place to rest your baby on. You get the idea. You can go through the body head to feet or feet to head but really spend a moment finding time writing these down. You will want to refer back to this list daily, even look in the mirror and say them out loud. Remember, that your subconscious is picking up what you are telling it. This will change your energy and you may feel a shift in your mood with time.
6. Soul Talk
The best time to set up this gratitude practice or soul talk is first thing in the morning because it sets up your relationship with yourself for the day. When you do this practice you are talking to that little child inside you. Knowing that what you tell it, you will become.
You can say things like:
I love your empathy
I love your compassion
I love how giving you are
I love what a good friend you are
I love your sense of humor
I love how beautiful you are
Enjoy showering yourself with love and speaking your ideal self into form.
In addition to these practices here are some additional resources if you are in the Portland Metro area or are needing a support group. I hope this list helps in some way. Know you are beautiful just as you are. You are worthy of loving speech, especially from your subconscious.
Portland Psychologist, Psychotherapist in Portland, OR, Oregon - Julie Williams, Psy.D. (juliewilliamspsyd.com) My Approach | United States | Jennifer Fergusson Counseling (jenniferfcounseling.com) Kassie Hughes, LPC (kassiehugheslpc.com) Counseling for Pregnancy Parents Transitions | Rose & Fern Counseling | Portland OR (roseandferncounseling.com)