I Can't Love My Body the Way It is Now
I Can’t Love My Body the Way It is Now
A friend reached out and explained to me a piece of the intuitive eating puzzle that didn’t make sense to her for a while. The intuitive eating process has played a role in the “body positive” (aka, BOPO for short) movement. It asks you to be forgiving and kind to yourself. To accept yourself as you are in the body you’re currently in without trying to change it by going on another diet, engage in disordered eating, harsh exercise routines, surgery or other body-altering methods.
You may be thinking, “I can’t love my body the way it is now.” And I completely understand.
For many, accepting our body as it is RIGHT NOW is difficult. What if you’re not happy with the way your body feels? What if you feel toxic? Unhealthy? What if you are faced with medical issues such as a new diagnosis or threat that a disease is lingering?
So here’s my answer.
You don’t need to suddenly say, “Hey, this body of mine right now is wonderful and I love everything about it.” You don’t need to start joyfully buying clothes in the size you are right now and feel super fabulous about it. It’s so not that simple.
I get it.
You may feel bad. You may feel unhealthy. Maybe you’re moving slower. Maybe you’re fatigued. Your breathing may be impacted. You feel inflamed, depressed, irritable, jealous and envious of someone close to you dropping weight every time you see you her.
You don’t need to diet. Dieting will NOT fix these feelings. Dieting will NOT fix your health.
Health professionals are feeding into diet culture by prescribing diets and weight loss to fix us and this is known as the “weight-centered health paradigm”.
It classifies those of us who are “overweight” or “obese” as unhealthy, thus this public health movement for so-called “obesity prevention”.
BUT… diets are causing stress and anxiety around food and exercise. They are making us focused on numbers such as weight, BMI, fat percentage, and body measurements. Diets get us to lose weight and then approximately 95% will gain it back. Now we’re right back to feeling bad about our bodies, compounded with a feeling of failure because we failed the weight loss game.
So, no, maybe you can’t accept yourself as you are right now. Then what?
Here’s what you should try.
First, take a deep breath and be a bit kinder yourself. You’re alive. You’re the only YOU that you have. Acknowledge that you would like to feel better. That’s ok! Of course you do. But also acknowledge that another diet is NOT going to make you feel better. Try to realize all the dieting, restricting, food eliminating you’ve done in the past and where it got you. Right back to this point where you’re STILL not happy. Understand that if you go down that path again you will more than likely end up right back in this place in a matter of time.
Shift Your Focus.
Tell yourself: “I really want to feel healthier.”
What can you change to do this? Are there foods you eat that don’t make you feel good? I’m not saying you should put these foods on a “bad” or “restricted” list or eliminate them completely from your menu. You may be eating that food too often or in too much quantity that’s not agreeing with you physically. Perhaps you can work with a registered dietitian to figure out what foods you want to incorporate in your daily menu more frequently that will make you feel better.
Are there habits that you can start working on? Maybe you’re eating every night after dinner when you’re really not hungry. Or maybe it’s drinking alcohol out of habit that’s interfering with your sleep, getting you to eat more when your not really hungry, or causing an increase in anxiety. What’s causing you to do this? Boredom? Stress? Do you need to get to bed earlier? Are you barely eating during the day and playing catch-up at night?
I know the intuitive eating and body positive movements are ON FIRE right now. This is wonderful because it means more people are getting the message that diets don’t serve us the way we once thought. However, I can empathize that a lot of the messages are confusing.
The best advice I can give, especially with the body positive movement and needing to love and accept yourself RIGHT NOW as you are, is to take this on your own terms. You have complete body autonomy. You have to take this message and make it work FOR YOU. Not for your friend, your sister, you aunt. YOU.
Of course I have to add that one way to do this is finding a non-diet health professional, whether it be a dietitian or therapist, who can help you work through body acceptance and what that means for you. What steps you are willing to take take to get there.
What do you think? What are your feelings on the body positive movement? Have you worked through this process and have anything to share? I’d love to hear it!!