How many of you reading this can celebrate being in love with your body? Totally, wholeheartedly appreciative of all of its processes, curves, wrinkles, stray hairs and cellulite? If you’re not there yet, don’t worry. We’re not either. But we’re on the way to loving our bodies just as they are. We’re not going to tell you what to eat for a slimmer figure or how to lean out – cultivating a loving relationship with your body comes from within, and it starts with our beliefs.
‘Self Love’ is a term we see get thrown around a lot these days. Self love is not just a physical practice – as seen in many ‘5 ways to love yourself’ blog posts we see floating around the wellness world – it’s a literal changing of our beliefs about ourselves that then support us in ways we’ve never imagined were possible. It’s fulfilling all the voids we’ve attempted to block the emptiness from with unhealthy habits, junk food, overexercising, netflix binges, gossiping and more. It’s the intangible side effect of taking responsibility for the voids we feel inside and choosing to love ourselves unconditionally anyway – flaws and all.
At Zura Health, we’re all about digging into the foundational beliefs that we and our clients have about wellness, because we know that all transformation starts there. How many people have you seen try fad diets or 28 day ‘bikini bootcamp’ challenges to perhaps lose weight or experience more energy? They are everywhere because we want the quick fix. We’re even willing to flog ourselves with restriction in hope that by temporarily doing this we will feel whole forever. If we get really honest with ourselves here, ask yourself ‘is that really the way to true wellness?’.
We don’t think so either.
Here’s the closest thing we’ve discovered on the journey so far (and yes, we too have over exercised, undernourished, approached food and exercise with a calorie-for-calorie mindset, overeaten, binged, compared our bodies to the Instagram swim model yogi and wondered why the heck we still weren’t content with our bodies after various cleanses):
Your body is listening to everything your mind says.
The way you talk to yourself from within is as important (we’d argue it’s more important) than the nutrition you’re feeding yourself. Your self-talk is way more influential to your appearance than any HIIT routine.
We’re all familiar with the intensity of external pressure there is to look a certain way influenced by society and media, yet what is it within us that agrees to wrap our perception of self worth around the way we physically appear in the world? Our beliefs. Probably ones that embedded in us from a reeeeeally young age, so realise that the way you relate to your body currently may not be a conscious decision – but it can be now.
How do we start loving on our bodies the way they truly deserve?
Let go of what isn’t serving you.
Let’s keep it simple with actions you can take today. You have the power to take yourself out of the cycle of discontent. Unfollow the accounts on social media that invite comparisonitis. Stop buying the magazines that fuel your desire to be skinnier, fitter, taller, smaller, bigger, stronger, different than what you are. Become aware of the negative chatter in your mind and remind yourself that the mind is not you – it is simply replaying the result of years of conditioning. If you’re feeling fierce, give up the workout routine you hate and the diet that feels suffocating to your soul. We promise there is a better way, but it asks for your patience, love and intuition.
Focus on what feels good.
Who are the people that really light you up? Surround yourself with a supportive sisterhood. This is crucial. No more bitching on the outside about body image and having your girlfriends nod and agree with their own version.
Try moving with a new intention: not to lose weight or gain muscle, but to experience the gift of movement. What kind of movement did you love as a child? Replace the idea that exercise is rigid with the notion of RITUAL. How would you move then? Would you cancel the gym membership and take up dance classes? This is an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your body so you must listen to its guidance. If you get quiet enough, it’s there!
Talk to yourself as if you were a little girl.
This practice you can start right now. Whenever you become aware of a negative thought or pattern arising, firstly, congratulate yourself for being aware of it. Next, reframe the thought and speak again as if you were talking to yourself at five years old. This approach is softer, more gentle and encouraging than the masculine-feeling quote memes of motivation we see on fitspo accounts. You might find emotions rise to the surface as you realise you rarely or never speak to yourself this lovingly. The visual of your child-self initiates a vulnerability, kindness and innocence that you may not allow if you just talk to your present self. That small version of you is really the one that needs the healing and unconditional love – it starts there.
Get to the root and pull it out.
If you’re ready and willing to go deeper, we recommend working with a trusted practitioner or psychotherapist to unveil the root belief that is at the core of any less than ideal patterns and behaviours you experience. Journaling and talking with friends is great if you’re not there yet – but working with a neutral, knowledgeable professional who doesn’t know you to access this hard stuff is very beneficial.
Your body is with you for life. It carries you through every ecstatic experience and walks you through life. Start nourishing it with loving kindness – you really are worthy of that. We promise.