Cultivating Body Respect
Confession time. I have this odd relationship with clothing. On the rare occasion I purchase new clothes, I typically choose clothing I really like and feel cozy in. That’s not the odd part. The odd part is I won’t wear the new clothing, because I’m “saving” it for a special occasion that doesn’t seem to ever exist. I have a dress in my closet that I love, and haven’t worn for years, because the time is never right. Do any of you do that? Please assure me I’m not alone (my ego is fragile). When I think about this odd relationship and get all life-coachy on myself, I see through the BS. The truth? I don’t feel worthy of nice things.
That is one way that I don’t respect my body. However, rather than focusing on all the ways we may not respect our body, let’s focus on all of the amazing ways we can cultivate respect and love for our body. One way to do this is through the intuitive eating approach, which focuses on making the body comfortable and meeting its basic needs. They summarize it into five basic tenets:
Your body deserves to be fed. Yes! Eating in a way that nourishes you is key (sometimes nourishment = vegetables and sometimes it = chewy chocolate brownies). This may change based on your menstrual cycle, your stage in life, or anything else going on. Just go with it; get to know your body’s signals. Consider quality and taste. You can have both.
Treat your body with dignity. Consider making a list of all of the wonderful things your body does for you, and place it somewhere you’ll see it daily. I know, you've heard this before and it may seem cheesy, but have you tried it? I think about it this way: for all things important, I put them on my calendar or set a reminder on my phone, so why not do the same for my body?
Your body deserves to be touched with love (and consent). Consider getting a massage or massaging yourself with essential oils, giving more hugs, cuddling, and anything else that feels good.
Your body deserves to move to the best of its abilities. Our bodies are dynamic and meant to move. Move with the intent of pleasure, fun, and benefit. A simple walk around the block or 3-minute dance break can help you sleep, handle stress better, and feel more confident.
Your body deserves to be dressed comfortably and in a style you like. Think about how uncomfortable it is to wear a poor fitting bra or underwear, or how self-conscious you feel when clothing is too small or too big. Then, think of a time you wore a piece of clothing you felt really good in. It makes a difference, doesn’t it? (Note to self.)
I’d like to hear from you. Please comment below or send me an email with one thing you’re going to do today to show your body love and respect. Also, if you’d like to work with me on building a better relationship with your body and food, please reach out—I’d love to help.
If you thought this blog was helpful or know someone who would benefit from it, please like it and share it with them.
With love, Steph
Tribole, E. and Resch, E. (2020). Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach. Fourth Edition. St. Martin’s Essentials.