“Just love your body” was my go-to answer to anyone complaining about their physical appearance. I have gone on mini Snapchat rants about how we need to just love our bodies. My husband’s friend even mocked me (playfully, of course) after one of those rants for being so passionate about this phrase. I do believe that we should be kind to & love our bodies, but I now realize that loving your body is a process. A complicated, sometimes seemingly impossible process. Telling someone who is not happy with their physical appearance to “just love their body” is as helpful as telling someone drowning in debt to “just stop spending money.” There are underlying factors that must be addressed & worked through in order to achieve the end result. At some point over the past year, I found love for my body without realizing it. Today I am sharing what I believe helped me find that love, & I hope it helps you find it, too.
Wherever your motivation stems from, use it to get started. We all are aware of the very popular quote “Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it.” This is absolutely true & it is the goal that we want to achieve. Many of us are not there yet. Most reasons why we even begin working out is to “fix” something we dislike about ourselves. We want a leaner waist, more defined arms. We want to jiggle a little less, & show off a little more. I can remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when my husband took my progress pictures last December. Seeing my body in those pictures made me cringe. At this point, I had been working out & eating “clean” for 10 months, lost 12 lbs & was feeling confident… until I saw those pictures. All I could focus on was my stomach. I felt defeated, completely forgetting the progress I had made! I decided to keep those pictures on my phone as a constant reminder to “Eat Less, Move More.” That is what motivated me to start looking at what I could do better.
Focus on improving your performance instead of fixing your flaws. In February, I found my coach & I think that is when the process of finding love for my body started, though I did not know it at the time. She introduced me to flexible dieting & suggested a different workout program. I started lifting more, eating better for my goals; I learned how to use My Fitness Pal & a food scale. Over time, I learned the key to balance. At some point I stopped focusing on the weight that was steadily being lost. I started a note in my phone & recorded all of my workouts. I wrote the date, exercises, weight used, sets & reps. I started to become motivated in trying to increase those variables each week. My workouts stopped being about how many calories I could burn & started being about how strong I could get. Gradually over time, this made me start to love & appreciate my body. I still do this & will do it for life. Writing each workout down & pushing myself to do better every single time is the number 1 motivator for me now.
There will be bad days. It’s not all sunshine & rainbows. Most days I eat within my goals & I train hard because I love my body. There are some days though, that I feel bloated and not as defined as I’d like to be. I’ll try to avoid full-length mirrors on those days to try and avoid negative thoughts, but they do happen. Just the other night after a high-sodium meal, I was putting on my PJs & took a look in the mirror & started complaining to my husband that my legs looked “stumpy.” I love my legs! But we all have our moments. Loving your body isn’t an “all or nothing” thing. The goal should be to have more good days than bad days but when the bad days happen, let them go. They are normal. I know women who are leaner & more in shape than I am & they have bad days too, I promise! Learn to accept bad days as part of the process & don’t allow them to derail your focus. They are only temporary. Let them go & make the next day better.
Keep it simple. I can’t even express how many times I attempted an eating & workout plan to lose weight only to get discouraged & give up a week or two later. I over-complicated everything & I would get frustrated with all the meal prepping & ridiculous workouts. When I learned to keep it simple, I saw success. When I saw success, I felt successful. Feeling successful led to confidence & confidence led to discovering love for my body. Don’t make things complicated. There is no “best way” to eat or work out. Do what works for you, & make sure it is something you can do long term.
If you workout because you love your body, great! That is a huge achievement that you should be proud of. If you are still working to find that love, that’s fine too! Remember that this is a process. It requires patience, persistence, and daily practice. Finding love for your body may take some time, or it may happen quickly. This is your life, your journey, & all journeys are unique & beautiful as long as you don’t give up. Be present, be intentional, & believe in yourself. I’d love to hear your experiences in finding self-love! Share in the comments what has helped you, or what you may be struggling with. I believe in you!