- Jennifer Penney
Is it Actually Possible to Love Your Body into Shape?
Stop beating your body into submission! Love your body first and change will happen...
How can I love my body when I don't like the way it looks? Or the way it feels? Or the way it moves? How can I love my body when I want to change it? Doesn't loving my body mean that I'm happy with it? I want to love my body but I don't know how to.
Before answering any of those questions, we need to look at the definition of love. According to google, love means...
1. an intense feeling of deep affection
2. a great interest and pleasure in something
Merriam Webster defines love as...
1. strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
2. attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers
3. affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
All of these definitions have a common thread; love is a feeling. If we follow this definition when it comes to "loving" our body, then no wonder all of those previous questions would arise.
The problem is not the way we feel about our body, the problem is our definition of the word love.
What is love? Love is an action!
Let's expand our definition of love, because love is so much more than just a feeling. Love does not equal a "happy feeling." In general, feelings are awful! You can't rely on them as a barometer of truth because they change ALL. THE. TIME. Love is an action. And if love is an action, then, of course, you can love your body into shape!
Time to get specific. If you love someone, you take an interest in them. Love equals a time investment and an interest in... You cannot love your body if you have zero interest in it. Take some time to get to know your body! What makes your body feel good? Be specific. What makes your body feel terrible? Which foods will nourish your body and which make you feel sluggish? The answers to these questions will be different for everyone. YOU need to take the time and interest to invest in learning about YOUR body because only you can answer those questions.
Love equals respect and sacrifice. Once you know how your individual body likes to operate, respect its boundaries! Give your body what it needs. That may mean going to bed early enough to get in a full eight hours of sleep. It may mean sacrificing that second (or even first!) glass of wine so that you have more energy to wake up early and workout. It may mean switching to decaf coffee. Well... not that?! Can't sacrifice everything. ;-) You get the idea; discover what your body wants and then provide that!
Love equals commitment and loyalty. Follow through for the long-haul. Can you commit to your body for the long-term? This one is easy to SAY yes (I'm committed!) but so difficult to have the drive to stick with!
Long-term commitment means you show up when you don't feel like it.
Long-term commitment is hard! Possibly the hardest part about love. Quite simply because you aren't going to always feel like it. DO IT ANYWAY! Act as if you enjoy it and the feelings may follow (or not!) Sometimes, you just need to be a robot and get the job done without worrying about whether you feel like it. That is loyalty and that is love! Pro Tip: Stop thinking about whether you "feel like it." Do you ask yourself if you feel like brushing your teeth? No! There are some things you just do. If you're really on the fence, make a deal with yourself to workout for 10 minutes no matter what. Give yourself an "out" after 10 minutes if you're still feeling miserable but I bet you will want to keep going.
Love is acceptance. It's okay to want to change your body. It's yours and you only get one. It is your right (and responsibility) to transform your body into what you want. But the best way to start that change is by accepting where you are right now.
Love is grace and forgiveness. Stop beating yourself up! Stop thinking about how long it's going to take to reach your goals. It will take as long as it takes. Give yourself (and your body) grace.
Change your mental narrative! You have been telling yourself lies (I'm not good enough, I'm not pretty enough, I'm so lazy, no one will love me as long as I look like this) for so long that they have become your truth.
Right now, today, apologize to your body for "beating it up." Apologize for the late nights, for the junk-filled binges, for the juice cleanses and detox diets. Make a promise to your body that you will try a new way, love.
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