Today’s post is a guest post from Ann-Sophie Reinhardt regarding body image and how to gain confidence. Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is a body image writer, self-love coach, speaker and the author
Belly killer. BodyAttack. Fitness Bootcamp. Track your calories. Count your points. Thicken your hair. Boost your eyelashes….
We are constantly bombarded with messages that tell us we need to change, mold, sculpt our bodies. We are constantly told we are wrong the way we are. It seems natural then to live in constant state of hatred, dissatisfaction and shame regarding your body and yourself. It seems natural to try several new diets a year and join the all newest fitness trends out there.
But let me ask you this:
How many diets have you been on?
How often did the diets work?
How often did you regain the weight?
How often did you then look for a new diet?
When will you stop buying into the belief that diets will save you?
I used to be in the camp of the diet fanatics. I believed that diets would fix my life, make me happy, feel satisfied, and enough. I believed that if only I lost enough weight, my inner turmoil, and my sadness would fly away.
Well, it never happened. Instead I got more and more unhappy, lost my will for life and my sense of joy. But no matter what happened, I held on to the belief that body perfection and a size 0 would magically turn everything around. I believed and hoped and dreamed. And while I dieted my life away, I lost all trust and respect for my body. My body became my enemy and the one thing I needed to control.
I ignored all signals for hunger and satiation and instead ate or didn’t eat depending on what my mind – my running calorie tracker – was telling me. However, there came a point when I almost died because of my obsession with food and my body. I had to make a choice; life or death? What did I want? Body perfection or self-love and respect?
I chose life, but it wasn’t an easy decision and the way back to owning my body and redefining beauty for myself was a slow, long process. Not easy, but rewarding. Not straight, but mind-blowing. I’ve learned many ways to fall back into a deep respect and appreciation for my body through trial and error and lots of tears. I’ve learned to be OK in a body that doesn’t look like the body of a supermodel, but that is energetic, healthy and thriving. I’ve learned to look in the mirror with different eyes. And most importantly, I’ve learned to never ever start another diet again.
If you’re struggling with your body image and want to find your way back to self-love and body-acceptance, here are four of my favorite tips.
Ready? Let’s go.
1. Become present in your body
Body love starts with the acceptance of what you have. Your body is perfect in its imperfection. Even if this is hard for you at the beginning, it’s important to close the disconnection between yourself and your body.
The best way to do that is to ground yourself in your body over and over again.
Feel the sun on your face or the grass underneath your feet. Massage your feet and your whole body using a nice-smelling lotion. Take a walk in the park and smell the air. Feel the water on your skin. Get a facial or body scrub. Stretch with intention until all your body’s tension is gone.
The more you really feel your body again, the faster you can begin to accept it.
2. Understand that your weight is neither good nor bad
Your weight – just like food – doesn’t need a label. You weigh what you weigh and that is perfectly OK. It’s just a number.
Stop your dependence on self-blame or self-celebration by getting rid of your scale and instead begin focusing on what feels good, nourishing and right.
Remember, that you are always good – no matter the number on your scale.
3. Identify your feelings
Oftentimes when you stand in front of your mirror and hate everything you see, there’s something completely different going on (in your mind). Most likely, your mind is trying to paint over the fact that something is utterly wrong in your life.
So, ask yourself:
What is really going on?
Are you feeling sad at the moment? Are you feeling depressed? Lonely? Frustrated? What is it that your mind can’t handle and is trying to tell you in a way by saying you are fat?
These moments of self-loathing are a chance to dig deep and discover the roots of your dissatisfaction. Once you know the real problem, it’s easier to stop your obsession with the supposed flaws of your glorious shape.
4. See your body as an opportunity, not a scapegoat
Your body is your vessel carrying you through life. Your body gives you the sense of love, enables you to hug, kiss, eat, feel your heartbeat and see your kids. Your body provides you the opportunity to live the life of your dreams.
How can you not be grateful for it? How can you not stop blaming it for everything that is wrong? How can you not start embracing it?
It takes some time to get to a place where you can go to bed and really thank your legs for carrying you through the day, your brain for letting you think, your eyes for letting you see your family or your hands for letting you be creative. But once you do, the feeling (of thankfulness for your body) will almost overwhelm you.
Body-acceptance is possible for everyone, no matter how messed up your relationship may be. If you want it, truly desire to respect yourself and your body, you will find your way back home to the most precious gift you have: your body.
Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is a body image writer, self-love coach, speaker and the author of Love Your Body The Way It Is. Anne-Sophie is also the creator of Body-Love Wellness Circles. Body-Love Wellness Circles is an immersion into the power of true and genuine body-acceptance.The Circles will be focused around transforming the relationship you have or may not have with your body, food and yourself. To learn more and to join the Circles, click here.
Photo by by Charlotte Astrid is licensed under CC BY 2.0