You Don’t Have To Love Your Body

How many women do you know who love their bodies, who are truly happy with what they see in the mirror?

Really, be honest with yourself for a moment. Think of all the women you know; your friends, your mother, sisters, aunts, colleagues, celebrities. How many can you name who don’t hate their bodies, or who aren’t just OK with how they look but actually like or even love their bodies? If you’ve thought of more than one or two then you are doing really well and you are definitely in a very small minority.

Most women I know don’t like their bodies much

And I know many, many women - having run Beyond Chocolate workshops for over 20 years, I am a leader in a women’s personal development organisation called Women in Power and I work as a psychotherapist specialising in women’s relationship with food and their bodies you can imagine how many women I know!. Many of them hate their bodies or parts of their bodies. We don’t need studies and research to prove it. Women struggle to like what they see in the mirror. For many women (and I definitely used to be one of them) being self critical and obsessive about the way we look and how much we weigh has become a national sport.

So why should we love our bodies anyway?

Don’t we have enough stuff on the list of things to improve about ourselves already? Do we really need the tyranny of body love to add to the list? Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not against feeling good about ourselves and our bodies but it seems to me that women loving their bodies has become a moral imperative and a contradictory one at that. It’s certainly taboo that we might just not care too much about how much we weigh or how we look. We are told we should love our bodies and take care of our bodies and at the same time we are told we need to have the perfect diet, eat healthy, exercise regularly and that if we do all these things we will be slim, which apparently is good, and means we get to openly love our bodies.

So what if you were to…

  • STOP trying to love your body!

  • STOP telling yourself you should love your body.

  • STOP pretending you love your body while you keep looking for the magic diet that will help you lose weight.

  • STOP weighing yourself.

  • STOP buying motivational clothing you hope to fit into by Christmas, by next summer, by your next birthday...

  • STOP keeping the thin clothes and the fat clothes (or any clothes that don’t fit you comfortably) in your wardrobe, just in case.

  • STOP telling other women they are beautiful while telling yourself you are too fat, too flabby, too unfit, too big, too small, too out of proportion too whatever…

Would you be willing to have a go at OWNING THE BODY YOU HAVE instead?

  • START looking in the mirror at your whole body. Just look. No need to say anything nice about it or positive affirmations. Notice all the criticism or whatever you tell yourself about your body and breathe

  • START paying attention to how critical you are throughout the day, and experiment with silencing your body gremlins. When they start up, meet them with a polite but firm: “If you don’t have anything kind to say, don’t say anything at all”

  • START wearing clothes that fit you properly right now. Whatever size you are.

  • START treating your body with the respect and kindness with which you’d expect yourself to treat another human being, even if you didn’t like them or love them. What would you do differently if you behaved like this towards your body?

What do you have to lose?

When you start owning your body, treating it with kindness and respect, you will find out (if you didn’t know already) that love is a verb. Love is about how we treat ourselves and others, not what we think or feel. We don’t have to go over the top with the lurve we don’t have to fake it or lay it on thick. Just basic human kindness and respect are more than enough.

Maybe that’s more than you treat yourself with right now?

So, no need to love your body

And isn't it ironic, don't you think... Respect, kindness and compassion sound like love to me.

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