HOW I DEAL WITH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT MY BODY.
In my one on one coaching sessions, there has been plenty of discussions of the struggle with body image. It is less common for a woman NOT to struggle with the way their body looks, and that’s pretty shitty. Unfortunately for us, marketing self-acceptance and celebrating what makes us different doesn’t make much money for the big corporations (be that magazine sales or beauty products or gym memberships etc.). So it is up to us to DECIDE to disregard a belief system that doesn’t benefit our mental or physical health and embrace who we are and how we look. Of course it is easier to write this down then it is to actually implement but I believe that the more our pain is shared the more it can be dissolved.
As I tell everyone that comes to my workshops or that does coaching with me, I too experience negative body image. To this very day. I still have thoughts that I’m too muscular, that I’m “letting myself go”, that I’m not as toned as I used to be. I still have days where these thoughts become so loud that I can’t hear anything else. I guess the difference between my negative thoughts about my body now and my negative thoughts about my body 5 years ago is that 5 years ago I thought that my worth and beauty was attached to the way my body looked. I was genuinely worried that other people would be thinking the same horrible thoughts about me that I thought about myself. I used to go to extreme and unhealthy lengths to get back to the body I was happy with (which by the way I never got there as that goal post kept moving back). Today whilst I still have those thoughts float through my mind, I have the tools to help me deal with them in a healthy and beautiful way.
I have two practices in which I work on my body image and negative thoughts about it. The first category is soulful practices and the second is physical practices. I need to implement both for me to get out of any funk I am experiencing.
➖ SOULFUL PRACTICES➖
These are essential to remind myself that my body is simply a vessel and it’s what’s within that is important. My body does not define my worth or beauty but it is a wonderful machine that has the sole purpose of looking after me. My body heals, travels, and protects me so it is important that I send gratitude for all that it does for me. Examples of my soulful practices are:
– Creating a regular gratitude practice and remembering to thank my physical aspects as well as my characteristics.
– Looking in the mirror and repeating (in my head or, if it’s really bad, out loud) “I love you”, “ I love my body”.
– Physically touching each part of my body (especially my insecurities) and sending love to it and remembering what that particular part does for me.
– Affirmations!! Writing them down, speaking them out loud, sticking them up in areas where I can see them. “I am a strong and beautiful woman”. “The people who matter in my life love me for who I am and the energy I send out, not for the way my body looks”, “I am proud of my body”, “I am confident”, “Confident looks good on me”, “I am a badass bitch” (haha).
– Journaling or sharing my thoughts with a loved one.
– Creating an alter ago. My alter ego is super badass, super sassy, gives zero f**** for small-minded people, and feels herself TWENTY FO’ SEVEN Y’ALL!!!!
➖ PHYSICAL PRACTICES➖
As someone that loves loves exercise and nourishing her body, it is vital that I don’t ever forget that, and that I continue to implement this into my life. All of the gratitudes and affirmations won’t do shiiii if I’m constantly eating takeaways and never moving. Things that work for meeeee:
– CrossFit (or just exercise in general). I bloody love the variety, the community, the challenges. It’s definitely a bit of me. I workout ONCE a day 4 or 5 times a week. Overtraining is a thing of the past for me.
– Cooking and taking it to work with me. This requires organisation and time but it has so many benefits. I save money, I know what’s in my food, and mentally I just really feel like I’ve got my life together. Now when I get in a bad mental state about my body I don’t fool myself into thinking I must do this perfectly. I just control what I can control (especially during the week) so that when social events pop up I can indulge and love every moment and every bite.
– Sleep and water yooooo!! Underrated. Before you buy all the fancy workout programs and vitamins and whatnot, try working on these two areas.
– High Quality vitamins (I use Be Pure multis) to ensure my insides are being looked after.
– Getting out in nature and moving my body in different ways. Not only is it a different form of movement, nature makes me and my problems feels small and I love that feeling.
The main takeaways I have for you to help with body image is to remember your body is a vessel and it does not define who you are. Understand how important it is to have both physical AND soulful practices (but to create your own that work for you). Perfection is never the point, steady, constant, and small progress is the way to go.
So yeah, I really hope this helps. Feel free to leave your experience with what helps you as it can help all of us!!! Love you ️xx