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Your Body is Not the Enemy

I don’t know about you, but I have to repeat this to myself over and over and over again. My relationship with my body often feels like a two steps forward one step back process. Or, one step forward and 18 steps back. I do not talk often about my own struggles and it is not for any other reason than I know these struggles are so common. But with that said, I want you to know that I am in the trenches with you.

I know you see the smiling, peace sign giving woman in the mirror each morning and may think “damn, that woman LOVES the skin she is in”. I am here to tell you that is true, sometimes. And sometimes I have to work hard at recognizing that my body is not the enemy, diet culture is.

What I have worked very hard at is acknowledging and accepting the good days and the bad days as they come in. I try to not place worth on either, but instead, sit in whatever emotion comes flying into my brain. I am very proud of myself for the work I have done as it was not that long ago that what should have been a bad thought or moment would be the most self destructive bad day. Now, those thoughts are moments. A lot of things have helped me and I will share a few here.

Here are some of my go to’s:

  1. Awareness: Begin by becoming aware of any negative thoughts, beliefs, or societal influences that contribute to body dissatisfaction. Recognize the harmful impact they may have on your self-esteem and overall well-being.

  2. Self-Compassion: Practice self-compassion and kindness towards yourself. Treat yourself with the same care and understanding you would offer to a friend. Acknowledge your struggles but do not tie your worth to these struggles.

  3. Challenge Unrealistic Beauty Standards: Question and challenge the unrealistic beauty standards perpetuated by society and the media. Understand that these standards are often unattainable and not reflective of real diversity and beauty. Surround yourself with positive body image- CURATE your social media to show diversity.

  4. Gratitude and Appreciation: Focus on the things your body enables you to do and the experiences it allows you to have. Express gratitude for its strength, resilience, and ability to carry you through all of life’s challenges. (I have been learning (and unlearning) how ableist my practice is and this has created the awareness that I need to become more neutral with my body’s abilities especially as I age).

  5. Mindful Self-Care: Engage in self-care activities that honour your body and mind- you know. ALL of you. Nourish yourself in whats that are fun and cultivate practices that are good for YOU and make YOU feel good.

  6. Surround Yourself with Diversity: Surround yourself with supportive and uplifting individuals who celebrate body diversity and promote body acceptance. Connect with others who are on a similar journey of body acceptance and remember that you are looking for diversity.

  7. Rewrite Your Inner Dialogue: Challenge and reframe negative self-talk about your body. Replace critical thoughts with affirmations that focus on neutrality, self-acceptance, and appreciation for your body's uniqueness. Speak kindly to yourself- YOU ARE LISTENING.

  8. Embrace Self-Expression: This one has been HUGE for me. Belong talks all of the time about our style uniforms. Creating mine has created an excitement to dress my body every single day, regardless of the type of day I am happing.

  9. Seek Support if Needed: I Something I cannot emphasize enough, is that sometimes these thoughts do become bigger than us and we need to bring in the professionals to help (therapists and registered dietitians trained in anti-diet approaches are my favourite). They can provide guidance, tools, and a safe space to explore your feelings.

What I want you to know is that this is going to be a life long journey. So much changes in our body- from our hormones to our abilities and we need endurance for this roller coaster that is life. My wish is for all of us to remember that we have ONE beautiful, unique, and incredible human suit to wear in this ONE wild and precious life. Live large, whatever that looks like.



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