Want to develop a better relationship with food and your body? Self kindness is key and, the good news is, you can learn it.
I spent many years of my life feeling uncomfortable in my skin. I picked holes in myself in the mirror, cringed when people took my photo and beat myself up for not being a size 10 – a lot.
When you feel that way, it’s quite difficult to be nice to yourself.
It took me while to realise that one of the most important skills to learn when you want to develop a better relationship your body and to feel at ease around food, is to start being kinder to yourself. I think it takes a while to understand this because there are so many industries profiting from women feeling bad about themselves. Self-compassion isn’t a trait that’s encouraged or that organisations can make money from.
Just think about the derogatory words that diet culture encourage us to use about our bodies; flab, bloat, bulge; and the hostile terms that are used to suggest how we should deal with it; fight, beat, battle. All of this sets us up against our own flesh and often becomes part of our internal dialogue.
The truth is, feeling shit about yourself is never going to inspire positive action.
Here’s the thing: you deserve to feel comfortable in your own skin. Your worth, relationships and human experience amount to so much more than your appearance.
The change needs to start with us. Here are some of the techniques I used to begin to be a little kinder to myself and to re-connect with my body….
- Try writing a letter or journal notes to your body thanking it for the good things it’s done for you. “Dear Body, thank you for…
- Avoid conversations with friends that get you drawn in to talking about how much weight you’ve gained – particularly in lock down!
- Practice getting better at looking at yourself in the mirror and saying nice things, or if you can’t stretch to nice, then just neutralise them. For example, from: ‘I hate my thighs’, to: ‘I’ve got thighs’.
- Pay attention to your inner voice and question where the negative stuff is coming from. Practice talking back to it and challenging it.
- Follow body positive people online
How do you feel about saying nice things to yourself? Do you feel comfortable about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
This article is part of a series of articles on things that can help you to escape diet culture and improve your relationship with food and your body, you can read the first article, “How to Quit Dieting Without Gaining Weight” here. The next installment will be about nourishing your cells and balancing blood sugars.