Why Body Love Isn’t the First Goal

Body love feels out of reach when you’re used to body hate. Most of the women we work with start off deeply ashamed of their bodies. So much so that they’ve been locked in a daily battle hoping to wrangle them into submission. They’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time and energy in life trying to force their body into a more acceptable form. 

They’ve spent most of their lives trying to hate their way into a body they love. 

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So when they see social media posts about loving and accepting their body, it feels empty, impractical, or perhaps even enraging. 

The gaping void between their own self-disgust and proudly posting a bikini pic on Instagram is just too expansive.

When you’re spiraling in body shame, standing naked in front of the mirror and reciting empty affirmations about how beautiful you are is likely not gonna cut it. And it will probably cause more harm than good. 

This is why we don’t teach body love. It’s just not a realistic first step. Sure, if you eventually fall in love with every inch of your cellulite, good for you! But, that’s literally not the point. The point is that you can love and respect your body, even if you don’t like the way you look.

Today we’re going to discuss a better, more helpful path to easing the body discomfort you might be experiencing. Because if you truly want to make peace with food you must learn to accept and respect your body as well. The diet-binge cycle doesn’t start by eating a cookie that triggers a binge. It starts with hating your body, and trying to control food in order to fix it. 

Diving a bit deeper into this topic over on the pod today as well. You can tune into that episode here:

So let’s talk about a more practical approach to moving out of body shame and into feeling better. 

  1. Body Acceptance – Commonly confused with giving up. Body acceptance does not mean giving up on taking care of yourself. And it doesn’t even require liking your current body. It just means acknowledging the present moment with your body. Something along the lines of “I may not like this but, I accept that this is the body I have right now at this moment.” Literally just acknowledging reality.
  2. Body Neutrality – Our first goal to work toward is just not giving so many shits about how we look. Moving the goal post from LOVING how you look when you leave the house, to recognizing that it’s not necessarily AS important as you’ve been believing. You don’t have to love how you look to feel good about yourself. Being beautiful is not a prerequisite for having an awesome life full of joy, fun, connection, love, meaning and purpose. That is simply a belief you’ve been taught. We find that body neutrality feels far more realistic and attainable to begin with. 
  3. Body Respect – Regardless of how you think you look, you can practice respecting your body on the most basic, physical level and also mentally and emotionally. You can nourish yourself with adequate food, allow yourself to rest, dress yourself in comfortable clothing that fits, speak kindly to yourself and treat yourself with dignity. All of these things are possible, even if you hate your thighs. 
  4. Body Appreciation – Start to focus on all of the wonderful things your body does for you and how it allows you to move through and enjoy your life. All the ways it’s constantly working to support you and allowing you to experience joy. Appreciating your body for what it can do instead of how you feel it falls short in terms of appearance is a huge step in the right direction. 
body love
image credit: @stephaniechinnart

These practices – acceptance, neutrality, respect and appreciation – build a bridge between body hate and body love. The key is to take the emphasis off of appearance entirely. The more important appearance is to us, the less satisfied we tend to be with it. 

The more you practice the above four steps, the further and further you’ll move from shame and disgust to neutrality and beyond. Who knows, perhaps you’ll wind up actually loving your body, regardless of how you think it looks. 

If you literally can’t imagine a world where you love and accept your body, is that really how you want to live your life? If the answer is no, we can absolutely help you with that. You don’t have to live like this. You can heal your body image and feel at peace in your body. It just might be time to get some support. 

Book a free Breakthrough Session with us today.

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