January is often thought of as a time for new habits, new goals, and a “new you.” Unfortunately, this often translates into being blasted with messaging telling us that our bodies are somehow “wrong” and need to be changed or improved, most often through weight loss. Instead of giving in to the pressures of the weight loss industry and its insidious marketing, what if your “new you” is a you who accepts your body as it is, a you who practices self-love and acceptance and stops believing that your body is wrong or in need of improvement? That “you” might not be as far away as you think.
Body Acceptance Through Self-Love Intentions
Let go of “I should” and embrace “I want to”
So much of the messaging around exercise and our bodies gives the impression that not only is exercise unpleasant and difficult, but also that it should only be undertaken with the end goal of weight loss. It’s important to decouple movement from that sort of goal and instead use it because of how it makes you feel: strong, energized, and balanced.
When you incorporate movement into your life because you enjoy it, not because you’re trying to achieve a number on a scale, you open yourself up to the opportunity to find something you truly like to do. Think beyond the gym and weights and see if there’s another kind of activity that brings you fulfillment. You might discover that you love swimming or hiking or yoga or that a long daily walk helps you clear your head and stay centered.
Self-love step: Try to find a form of movement that you enjoy and look forward to, instead of one you dread and just tolerate.
Dress how you love for the body you have now
How many of us have clothes in our closets that no longer fit that we’re hanging on to “just in case”? One way to practice self-love or acceptance as it relates to your body is to find clothes you love that fit you as you are right now. Instead of saving a great outfit as a reward for some possible time in the future, dress in a way that makes you feel good right now. Our bodies change over time, and punishing yourself by limiting access to things that make you feel and look good exactly as you are won’t change that. You deserve to look and feel your best all the time, starting now.
Self-love step: Treat yourself to an item of clothing or accessory you’ve had your eye on for a while. Wear it knowing you look fantastic.
Think about the things your body allows you to do
When we aren’t feeling comfortable in our bodies, it’s all too easy to focus on what we see as negative or “bad” about how we look. When we focus on what we don’t like about our bodies, we’re taking all the messaging we’re being constantly bombarded with and internalizing it in a way that makes us unhappy with ourselves. Instead of falling into that common trap that only benefits the industries that make money off of people’s negative self-image, think about all of the things your body does for you. It keeps you strong, lets you hold your loved ones, and allows you to create things you enjoy.
Self-love step: Think of some things you love that your body allows you to do. How does your body serve you as a complete person?
Choose your language intentionally
One of the most pervasive ways we learn to be dissatisfied with our bodies is through the language that’s used to talk about them. The words and phrases we choose to talk about bodies — our own and others’ — go a long way toward keeping us unhappy with ourselves as we are. When you start to examine the language you use around bodies, and how you speak about your own body both to yourself and to other people, patterns of negativity become obvious. By shifting to neutral or positive language about bodies, you can begin to shift your mindset about how you feel about your own.
Self-love step: Jot down some of the words that first come to mind when you think about your body. Go through and try to replace negative terms with neutral or positive ones that don’t carry the same judgment.
Our bodies work hard for us, day in and day out. We know the importance of taking care of them physically when we choose nutritious, nourishing food, incorporate mindful movement into our days, or even when we find a daily CBD routine that makes us feel our best. Part of taking care of yourself, though, is letting go of the negativity and judgment that surrounds how you feel about your body, and instead learning to accept and maybe even enjoy the body you’re in, exactly as it is.
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