The Stages of Loving Your Body
When you’re in recovery from binge eating, you can tend to focus only on food and sustaining recovery and the progress you’ve already made. However, it’s also important to focus on your body, and in particular, loving your body.
The journey to loving your body can be difficult. It is not an overnight job, especially if you’ve spent a majority of your life with a negative body image and desperately wishing your body was different or “better.” In order to come to a place of appreciation and love for your body, you need to slowly change your relationship to your body. This is a process and it takes patience, slowing down, and coming home to yourself.
Process of Loving One’s Body
First, get curious about your relationship to your body. What is your end destination in the quest to love your body? Allow yourself to really reflect on this and get excited about making it to that destination. What would it feel like to love yourself to the level you desire? How would it change your life? How would it aid in your recovery?
Getting to a place of loving my body was a huge part of my own recovery from binge eating. I used to be an actress and a dancer, and found my worth through my looks and my body, which fueled my struggle with disordered eating and body image for years. On my darkest days, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. Doing so would lead to picking apart every single physical flaw, and I determined that I had many. When I began to work with a coach on my issues, she asked me what my end goal was. What did I most desire? My answer was to love my body and have it feel like my home. I just wanted to feel safe, loved, and secure in my vessel, and I wanted to love it instead of constantly hating it. Allowing myself to reflect on my desire and really feel into what it would be like to live my life that way was my first step to learning to love my body.
From my own experience, as well as working with thousands of women around the world to help them end their fight with food and body, I came to realize that there are four stages of loving your body:
Stage One: Accept the fact that you hate your body.
You need to allow yourself to accept what is, because doing so will enable you to start from a place of honesty and truth. Once you accept what is, you can set your intention of what you want your body to become and how you want to heal it. It’s essential to accept and love what is, and also know that doing so doesn’t need to mean that you like it.
Stage Two: Understand that you don’t hate the body, you hate the fat.
You don’t hate your body, you hate the fat on your body, or its “flaws” that you perceive. “I hate my body” is just a story. It’s time to release this story and be set free from it. We cannot genuinely heal if we are stewing in lingering hatred or fear. If you have trouble shifting the perspective of body hate, think of it like this – your body is really just an innocent bystander. It’s not your body that craves food as a drug to numb out, it’s your mind.
Stage Three: Body neutrality.
You don’t need to love your body from the get go. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to do so. You will likely move from a place of hating your body, to being neutral about it, to finally loving it. There is not a magical switch to flip, it takes time and shifting your beliefs and perception. Don’t pressure yourself to love your body ASAP, instead, be okay with being neutral to it. Getting to this stage of your body just being what it is, without feeling pressure to change it or pick it apart on the daily, is a step in the right direction!
Stage Four: Path to body love.
Once you master neutrality and no longer hate your body, you can begin the process of loving your body. What do you appreciate about your body? Think of all the amazing things it does day to day – so many of which you’re not even aware of or need to instigate. As you start to appreciate your vessel, remember to not put a timeline on this. Allow yourself the time you need to move through this final stage without a deadline or added pressure.
While in recovery, it can be easy to focus only on food and behaviors. However, it’s imperative that you also include your body in the equation. Your body is the vessel that you live in every single day, and ultimately, it is the healer. Getting to a place of body love, or at least body appreciation, can not only aid in your recovery, but up level your life experience in general. Start to acknowledge your incredible vessel daily. Really reflect on how amazing your body is, how it has been your life-long companion, and how loving your body can positively impact your life – because it most certainly will.
Photos Courtesy of Shutterstock.
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