How long did it take you to learn to love your body?

This is a question that I get asked often and the answer is – it didn’t happen overnight, it took a lot of time, energy and effort! It’s not an answer that everyone is receptive to hearing, after all we’re human beings and we do love quick fixes!

 

Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if we could all watch Embrace and magically become hard core body lovers, throwing off our clothes running down the street naked declaring ‘I have embraced’.

But fixing an issue that has lived with many of us for years and years and for some a lifetime requires a hearty and solid solution. Yes, it might require you to go deep, yes there will be tears, but the great news is, big change is possible and your journey to body acceptance can start right in this very moment.

Let’s start at the beginning…

I’d like to make one thing really clear, I don’t expect anyone to be able to flick a switch inside their head and just LOVE THEIR BODY. However, what we can do is make the commitment to learn to love our body – regardless of age, life experience, body shape or current circumstances.

And making this commitment for a lot of people is the first step to embracing. For me, my road to embracing was quite laboured and somewhat complicated. I often felt that I was on a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions.

In a nutshell my journey to embracing went like this:

I hate my body so I am going to get it fixed – off to the surgeon I go! I’m high fiving the surgeon and fist punching the air – ‘I am going to get my body back?’ Days later I experience an epiphany – How am I going to teach Mikaela to lover her body if I can’t love mine? Righteo, surgery cancelled however I am still plagued with the thought – what does it feel like to have the perfect body? Next step – train, train, train, 15 long, hard weeks of restricting and weighing food and training like a demon. I’ve reached the holy grail – ‘I can wear a bikini and I look great!’. Mmm this is strange – Why am I not happy? Big lesson – having the perfect bikini body doesn’t make me happy, wow…. My body is not an ornament; it is the vehicle to my dreams!”

before and after

My journey to embracing took me months of training, months of unlearning behaviours and values that were ingrained in me and months of reading and educating myself to learn and embrace new behaviours and philosophies.

I once thought that an overweight person couldn’t be healthy. I once was so consumed with the notion that health only meant physical health and rarely gave thought to emotional, mental or spiritual health. And yes I once thought that having the perfect body would make me the happiest person on earth!

Fat, ugly and disgusting!

There was a time I described myself as fat, ugly, disgusting, broke, sad, unhappy and now I describe myself as happy, unstoppable and so freaking liberated! This feeling is so good that I’ve committed my life to helping people flick the switch and join this Body Image Movement, after all it was never the sole purpose of our time here to be at war with our body.

So what action can you take to get a step closer to Embracing?

Firstly, make the commitment and say it out loud ‘I am committed to learn to embrace my body’. Then choose one action that you can implement in your life that will move you towards embracing. For example

  • Don’t weigh yourself on the scales.
  • Don’t buy magazines that make you feel crappy about how you look.
  • Don’t count the calories when you exercise. Just move your body for pleasure and be present in the moment!
  • Remind yourself of all the things that you are grateful for – write a daily gratitude journal.
  • Start each day with a positive affirmation.
  • Watch Embrace!
  • Spend 10 minutes following on social media all of the fabulous life affirming characters in Embrace (surrounding yourself with feel good positive people is an integral step to body acceptance).

Start by taking one step towards embracing and when you’ve mastered that action, choose another action, when you’ve smashed that choose something else, and so on and so on. Just keep building until one day you think ‘I could actually fling off my clothes and run down the street naked…if I wanted to!!’

And finally let’s acknowledge that we are all exquisitely unique and everyone’s road to unconditional love will vary, just know that it’s possible. We weren’t born into this world hating our bodies, this is a learned behaviour, so just like we’ve learned to hate, we can now learn to love.

What are you going to do this week to Embrace?  

Please post below to share your body positive plans with our loving and supportive community.

Do you need help on your journey to Embrace your body? The Body Lovin’ Guide is a 40 page digital e-book covering everything from the basics of understanding body image to changing the way you think, and lead you on a path to celebrating your body as a vehicle to your dreams! LEARN MORE

  • Kristina Bruce

    I’ve done gratitude journals before but I fell off them quickly. I’m going to bring it back and not put too much pressure on myself on what write, just three little things each day to help keep the mentality positive. I also purchased the new Intuitive Eating workbook, so I’m going to give that a real go. I stopped officially dieting and exercising for weight loss about a year ago and this has seriously been a roller coaster ride, but I know for myself it’s the only way forward for me.

  • Lisa Story

    Hi,

    I enjoyed reading your blog as I fell that many women of all shapes and sizes can relate to body shaming themselves. I like where you mentioned to only pick out magazines that make you feel good about yourself… however, Do you feel that maybe the reason why so many women are consumed with the way our bodies look and why we participate in body shamming is because of amount of pornification portrayed on the covers of the magazines?… and then its not just the covers, its through and through the magazines where women and girls are sexualized so to speak. I am a mother of three and confident in the way that I look regardless if I measure up to how society wants me to be, however my lies in our younger generation of girls, and how this is shaping their image of how women are supposed to look and be. A book Im currently reading states that: “exposure to pornographic be may be harmful for children and adolescents, as it might foster both less than respectful attitudes towards young girls and women and their understandings of sexuality that emphasize power and the expectation rather than respect equality and mutual intimacy.” (Ess, Charles, Digital media ethics, 2nd edition). Would you agree with this statement?
    Like you said: We weren’t born into this world hating our bodies, this is a learned behavior. So if pornification continues throughout the world whether in a magazine or social media, I feel like girls will always feel like they will have to live to that certain sexual standard of society.
    You gave some really wonderful examples on how not to body shame, and how to love ourselves, and I think the best way I can be a positive role model for my daughter is to not shame my body in front of her and to represent women by wearing clothes that cover a good portion of my body :)
    Thank you for your time!
    Lisa

    Ess, Charles, Digital media ethics, 2nd edition. (2014) Polity Press

  • lisa

    Hi,

    I enjoyed reading your blog as I fell that many women of all shapes and sizes can relate to body shaming themselves. I like where you mentioned to only pick out magazines that make you feel good about yourself… however, Do you feel that maybe the reason why so many women are consumed with the way our bodies look and why we participate in body shamming is because of amount of pornification portrayed on the covers of the magazines?… and then its not just the covers, its through and through the magazines where women and girls are sexualized so to speak. I am a mother of three and confident in the way that I look regardless if I measure up to how society wants me to be, however my concern lies in our younger generation of girls, and how this is shaping their image of how women are supposed to look and be. A book Im currently reading states that: “exposure to pornographic be may be harmful for children and adolescents, as it might foster both less than respectful attitudes towards young girls and women and their understandings of sexuality that emphasize power and the expectation rather than respect equality and mutual intimacy.” (Ess, Charles, Digital media ethics, 2nd edition, Pg.163). Would you agree with this statement?
    Like you said: We weren’t born into this world hating our bodies, this is a learned behavior. So if pornification continues throughout the world whether in a magazine or social media, I feel like girls will always feel like they will have to live to that certain sexual standard of society.
    You gave some really wonderful examples on how not to body shame, and how to love ourselves, and I think the best way I can be a positive role model for my daughter is to not shame my body in front of her and to represent women by wearing clothes that cover a good portion of my body :)

    Thank you for your time!

    Lisa

    Ess, Charles, Digital media ethics, 2nd edition. (2014) Polity Press