Simple Body Image Therapy: How to Love your Body Exactly as it is Right Now

The topic of weight loss for women is filled with the idea that your body must be changed before you can love it.  This is horseshit, and it could be what’s keeping you from achieving your health and weight loss goals.  Loving your body as it is today is a vitally important factor in healthy weight loss and maintenance.

At age nineteen, I achieved fast weight loss through restrictive eating accompanied by constant negative self talk about how fat and gross I was.  This led me to a vicious cycle of binge eating, self hatred, and uncontrollable weight gain that I would not break for several years.

I hid from friends and family out of shame about my weight.  I thought my yo-yoing weight was like wearing a giant Repulsive Failure sign.   Thank goodness there was no Facebook back then, I would have had a lot of untagging to do.

The pain became so unbearable that one day I made the statement that would change my life for good:  “I may never get skinny again, but I’m done with hating my body.  Body, I am so sorry. From now on I will always be good to you. If I’m still heavy, so be it.”

Living by that simple statement led me to easily lose sixty pounds and maintain that loss to date.  I exercise regularly and eat well.  Sometimes I don’t, when I’m on vacation or I’m getting my period, and I really don’t care.  Since I’m well fed and nothing is off limits, the compulsion to binge eat has dried up and disappeared.  I have no drama around food and weight.

If you take the same pledge I did and promise your body that you will love it for always, no matter what its weight, you will get the same miraculous results.

Love your body – sounds kind of woo-woo and airy-fairy, huh?    Especially when you’ve been seeing women in magazines airbrushed to high heaven and listening to fat talk amongst your girlfriends for as long as you can remember.

If you want to build your confidence and feel great about your body but don’t know how, this post is your how-to guide.  Your own personal map to body bliss town, with me as your Navigratress.  Hooray!

Pay attention to it!

Your body is brilliant.  It knows how to circulate blood and heal your wounds without your input.  A system with so much natural wisdom has a much better idea about what’s good for it than those cheesy women’s magazines.  Your body talks to you every single day, you know.  Please listen to the whispers so your body doesn’t have to scream at you with serious illness.

If you’re exhausted, have skin issues, have funky periods, or have explosive diarrhea regularly, your body is telling you that it would like you to change something.  So many of us have become accustomed to living with a low-level malaise that we don’t realize that something is wrong.

Don’t feed your body salad in the winter when it’s begging you for a warm, cooked meal.  Don’t run around doing favors for people so they’ll like you better when your body is asking for time alone so it can recharge.

Your body is giving you constant cues about what it needs to feel amazing.  Those cues deserve your attention.  You are meant to feel healthy and full of energy!

Say nice things to it!

Express love to your body.  Just as your body speaks to you, you can speak back through your thoughts and words (spoken and written).  How much do you love hearing how loveable and gorgeous you are?

Why would you give anything less than that to your body, the one thing you can be sure will be with you until you die?

This is more than just a touchy-feely idea.  In Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief, he presents some mind-blowing information. It turns out that our thoughts and words have a real and measurable influence on the cells in our bodies.  In short, your body truly will function better if you stop trash-talking it and start treating it like a queen.

Here are some ideas on how to sweet talk your body:

  • Give yourself a wink in the mirror
  • When your girlfriends talk about how fat they feel and how much they dread bathing suit shopping, do not join in the conversation
  • Thank your body for its many miraculous functions:  thank your legs for giving you mobility, thank your belly for digesting your food, and thank your eyes for allowing you to see
  • When you look in the mirror, look yourself in the eye and say, “You’re perfect, and I love you just the way you are.”
  • Write Operation Beautiful notes.

If this feels uncomfortable to you, start small.  Falling in love with your body after years of hating it can be a big change.  Don’t get discouraged, stick with it!  If you consistently communicate love to your body, she will give you her very best.

Do nice things for it!

Once you’ve gotten in the habit of whispering sweet nothings your body, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.  If our bodies respond well to positive words and thoughts, they go absolutely bananas for being treated well.

You’ve got five senses, baby, now is the time to use each and every one of them to give your body the pleasure it deserves.  I don’t care if you get a massage, buy yourself some luxurious new sheets, trim your damn cuticles – just pick something that will feel great to your body and make it a part of your routine from now on.

Another way to show your body love is to feed it foods that make it run well.  Exactly what foods those are will differ from body to body, but give your sweet body the time it deserves to figure out what those are.  What foods fill you with energy when you’re done eating them?  What foods make you feel depressed and cranky?

Start right now!

Your body deserves your loving kindness starting right this minute, no matter where you are in your weight loss journey.  You’re already perfect, start acting like you know it!

If you know any women whose bodies deserve a hell of a lot more love than they’ve been getting, please share this blog post with them.

 

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  13. [...] me, no matter what, there IS something great about where you are. I’ve already talked about the click that occurred for me when I realized that I was DONE with being mean to my body.  Another big click for me was seeing the meaning in my weight [...]

  14. Cat @Breakfast to Bed
    October 14, 2011 | 11:12 am

    awesome post. really. great.

    • Marla
      October 14, 2011 | 11:20 am

      Thanks a million, Cat – I am so glad you like it!

  15. tokyotutti
    October 7, 2011 | 10:16 pm

    Thanks Marla! Brilliant points we should all remember daily.

    • Marla
      October 8, 2011 | 7:24 am

      Thank you love!!!!

  16. [...] honestly if it’s healthy resistance you’re feeling or something else.  Have the courage to honor and listen to your body, even with the message “No pain, no gain” blaring in your [...]

  17. Bird
    September 20, 2011 | 11:56 am

    Good morning, Marla,
    This is such a great post. I am in my forties and entering menopause… well… that’s a lot of fun. I was always on the trim side, but when I became ill with some autoimmune illnesses that all changed. I gained wait easily, couldn’t drop it, and now… with menopause being on my doorstep, well, it’s all that much more difficult. I love the advice you gave in this article. Very practical. Very real. Very loving. I want to copy it and tape it to my mirror and look at it every day.

    Thank you.

    Brightest blessings,
    Bird @ http://birdsearthyspirit.blogspot.com/

    • Marla
      September 20, 2011 | 12:48 pm

      Bird, I am so happy you came by! I’m thrilled that you found my advice helpful. My heart goes out to you, it is just so hard when our bodies don’t behave the way we’d like them to and autoimmune illnesses add a whole new dimension to the equation. It can take a lot of work, but it is so worth it to love your body right now rather than waiting to love it until it looks perfect. A bit of ‘fake it ’till you make it’ can go a long way too. :) Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment!

  18. Danielle Taresh
    September 18, 2011 | 11:07 am

    Marla! This is an amazing blog. You are so right about this! Thank you for putting your positive insightful words, thoughts and ideas on a blog and sharing it with everyone. Your blog is a gift! Great Job and I can’t wait for the next one :)

    • Marla
      September 18, 2011 | 5:37 pm

      DANIELLE! Thank you so very much! I really appreciate how sweet and supportive you are. I’m so happy that you’re here and that you like the blog. I’ll keep cranking out the posts and I hope you’ll keep reading! xoxo

  19. Tiffany
    September 15, 2011 | 11:00 pm

    Wow, What a great blog. Just what this girl needed. As I journey on the road to loving my new body as a mom. I have lost all the extra pounds but have some loose skin and muscles that arent as flat as they once were. I try and remind myself I have an amazing child that this body created and it will take effort and time to get back into shape espically working full time, being a wife and mother. I am now fitting in some me time and eating better and loving the body I do have and not wasting my time over the body I once had. Thank you for publishing these words I think as a whole we loose sight of what is really important and abuse our bodies to fit into a mold that doesnt exist for most woman. We are all different and we arent all going to be super skinny and in great shape. We have to love ourselves and focus on being healthy but also be ok when we arent a hundred precent of the time. Everyday is a new day and we can always do better tomorrow.

    • Marla
      September 16, 2011 | 1:55 am

      Tiffany, you hit on so many wonderful points and I could not agree with you more. I love how you said that you are fitting in time for yourself and loving the body you have right now – that is really all that any of us can do. It can be such a challenge to let go of how we think we’re supposed to to look, but once we do that’s when the magic really happens. That’s when taking care of yourself can come from a loving place and lead to lasting changes, rather than a self punishing place that goes nowhere. Thank you so, so much for reading and for taking time out of your busy day to comment.

  20. Tina Robbins
    September 15, 2011 | 4:07 am

    Marla, this is a brilliant post and I am sharing it on twitter and fb. The whole body image thing is really up for me lately and this is such a helpful reminder!

    • Marla
      September 15, 2011 | 10:22 am

      Tina! Thank you thank you thank you. Sending you lots of positive, self confident thoughts – with everything that you so obviously know about the human mind and heart as a coach, I just know you will be back on the body-loving bandwagon in no time. I so appreciate you reading and sharing! :)

  21. Jennifer Skibins
    September 14, 2011 | 2:31 am

    Now this is great stuff. You really found your voice, Marla! Would love to feel what you write about on a regular basis…it’s become harder now that I’m a mom and I’d love to hear what you or others do to strike that balance. Between the real physical changes and hormone fluctuations that are in a “new normal,” it’s a bigger challenge now to stay in that body-loving place…I remind myself that my body is so powerful that it gave life to another person and that definitely gets my mind into a strong place. I consider stretched out, flabby skin to be a “battle scar” of motherhood and, on good days, where them proudly. On the not so good days….well, you know. Looking forward to reading what you post! Rock on, girl.

    • Marla
      September 14, 2011 | 11:48 am

      Thank you so very much Jennifer! AH, I’m so happy you’re reading and I love hearing your perspective. I know that motherhood is an entirely new ballgame when it comes to body loving and self care, I will have a lot to learn when it’s time to write Your Full Plate for Mamas. :) I love that you remind yourself that your miraculous body created another HUMAN BEING. Even though the routines and dialogues and hormones change with being a mother, I just know it that our cells love it when we think affirming, loving thoughts like that no matter what.

      • Jennifer Skibins
        September 14, 2011 | 5:29 pm

        Marla, I “shared” this post on FB and someone I know commented…thought you’d like to see it.

        Jennifer, its been a while since Nicole days, so many changes, you are happily married with a beautiful daughter, this article was perfect for me today!!!!!!! I am constantly negative self talking and this article just changed my life!!!!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!!!!! Sorry it’s been so long!!!!!

        • Marla
          September 14, 2011 | 6:14 pm

          AHHHHHHHHHHH THAT IS SO COOL HOORAY I CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH HOORAY HOORAY HOORAY

  22. Jeirlyn
    September 14, 2011 | 1:14 am

    This a wonderful blog. Keep up the great work. Can’t wait to read the next one.

    • Marla
      September 14, 2011 | 2:04 am

      Awww, Jerilyn – thanks so much for reading! I’m so glad that you like it. Please let me know if you have any ideas about related posts you’d like to read about.

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HEY YOU!
I'm Marla Hamilton, and this is my blog. I write it because I want to make it very easy for you to feel healthy and great about yourself.Read more about me here.
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