By Guest Contributor, Libby Crow
If you have a computer or a TV, I imagine you’ve been seeing the buzz on body love, health at every size, and possibly some Amy Shumer lash outs about the term plus sized. There’s a lot spiraling in the world of body image and body positivity right now.
In a nutshell, people are becoming privy to the idea that you can live a happy, sexy life even without the 6-pack! And, if you do have a 6-pack that’s groovy, too. It’s more about the movement that all bodies are wonderful—hard, soft, tall, short, tan, pale.
So, how do you ‘do’ this body love thing?
I believe that before body love comes body appreciation. Before body appreciation comes body acceptance. And before body acceptance comes body awareness.
In other words, you’re not jumping to the ninja level of body love right out of the gates, you’re slowly developing a relationship with your body and a sturdy foundation for this love.
Some common thoughts that come up for people when they begin to dive into the world of body love:
How can I love my body right now even though I’m not feeling ecstatic about it?
How can I finally relax around food and fitness and scratch willpower from my vocabulary?
How can I access my body wisdom and connect to the intelligence of your physical body?
Where do I even start with all of this?
Remember, you don’t have to jump to ninja level of body love. Take steps in the direction of body awareness, acceptance, appreciation, and love.
Here are 5 explorations for you to start to tune into your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors when it comes to understanding the relationship you have with your body!
My encouragement is for you to open up your heart and cultivate a spirit of curiosity as you start to play with this work!
5 Ways to Dance With Body Love
- Get EXCITED about your appetite!
If you’ve put yourself in a boring box of meal plans or a no fun diet, this might feel scary but can also be liberating! Your appetite is a gift and a messenger for you! Slow down and listen to what your body really wants vs. what you think you ‘should’ eat. One way you can do this is to close your eyes, put your hands on your belly and ask yourself, “What would truly nourish me right now?” If you work with this process and you’ve been restricting certain foods, at first you might go a little crazy on foods that you’ve labeled as ‘bad’ because you’re gaining your self-trust and food freedom back. Don’t worry, over time your body will start to desire whole foods from the earth more and more. Disclaimer: It’s not the end of the world to have chocolate for breakfast.
- Find your pleasure movement!
If you are not finding joy in the exercise you’re choosing to do, don’t do it. It’s that simple. This may take time to find exercise you enjoy doing, and, that’s okay! When you’re choosing exercise that doesn’t feel good you’re activating the stress response in your body which can slow metabolism and digestion. When you’re 90 years old are you going to be happy you spent a bunch of hours being miserable for some kind of physical trophy you’re aiming for or are you going to be happy you did something that felt good?
- Do a Social Media Makeover!
I get it. I used to be into fitspiration myself. I thought that if I filled my social media feeds with people who are ripped, drinking green smoothies, and sharing their tastefully photographed headstands that I, too, would look that like and have that life. Nothing against the kale goers, I like kale myself, but when it comes to what images and information you’re feeding your head and heart, it’s important to be extremely responsible and intentional. A little love inquiry you can do when you’re looking at accounts you’re following:
Is this content making me feel confident in who I am right now?
Is this content elevating my mood and sense of inner ease?
Is this content benefitting making me feel like I’m lacking something?
You may want to go through an unfollow frenzy, then add in some body positivity inspires you to love your body now!
- Experiment with Breathwork!
You are breathing all day long, yet you might not realize how much of an impact conscious breathwork can have! A big part of body love is body awareness as I mentioned, one way to do a body scan is to slow down and take deep breaths in and out to sense how your body is feeling. Notice any aches or pain, notice what parts of you feel energetic, notice what parts of you feel fatigued. One trick I recommend to help you connect to your body through breathwork is to set 3 silent alarms in your phone (the alarms that pop up on your screen but don’t make a sound). I set mine at 9am, noon, and 4pm. Each has a label such as “Loving Breath” or “Take 3 deep breaths.” The trigger on my phone reminds me to tap into my body and do a little check in.
- Connect to the wild, free part of you!
An important part of connecting to your body is embracing that part of you that may have been lost along the way. I’m talking about the part of you that rolls around in the sand, that skips just because skipping is fun, and that part of you that feels alive. One thing I love doing to activate this part of me is to dance. From gangsta rap to hippie feel good music, when I get in the flow of dancing, I reconnect to the part of me that feels ALIVE! Another idea is to write a list of things you do that make you feel alive, pick one a week and start to light your inner fire again!
There’s no right or wrong way to do this. There’s no one size fits all body love camp. Experiment with what lights you up, what feels good to you!
The big picture here is for you to practice behaviors that feel loving to your body, for you to practice being the captain of your body ship. So often we are looking outside of ourselves for answers that are within us. These explorations will help you tap back into your body wisdom and light your own body love sparkler.
Remember, understanding and nurturing the relationship you have with your body is a daily practice. You’re always changing and it is, too!
The buzz on body love is simply learning to connect more to your body while honoring what it does for you. The focus is on joy, pleasure, aliveness, and wisdom rather than calories, scales, stretch mark cream, and skinny detox tea.
Cheers to you for embracing your dance with body love!