As a body-positive and health coach, I am not immune to the days where I don’t feel comfortable with my own body.
I remember a few years back when I’m still a part of a synchronized swimming team. Those were the days where smaller bodies are favored and accepted. The recognition of eating disorders were considered taboo then. At the same time, members of the team were conditioned to think that a smaller body frame is more deserving and more valuable, not only to the team but to the eyes of the world. My body equates to my worth.
Because I have bigger thighs, I find myself resorting to strenuous exercises to reduce my size. I leaned into restricted eating. Unfortunately, this restricted eating led to binge-eating. I hated my thighs. I hate them enough to hate my body in comparison to people with legs that are stick-thin and those with thigh gaps.
Going back to the now, my thighs rubbing against each other was enough to bring me back to the days of self-torment and unfair judgment of my body.
Because I’m immensely stressed at scaling up my business this week, I was not able to take care of myself. I did not practice what I preached. I wanted to work out and sweat it out but my body feels sore from previous workout sessions.
Then, I remembered that there are three ways I can use it to handle bad body image days.
First, I must restrict my eating. I must limit my food intake so that I lose enough to feel good about my body once again. But, this will only result in binge-eating towards the end of the week. Then, the cycle of self-sabotage, regret, and disappointment will start, once again.
Second, I can throw in the towel and say, screw it. I will allow one bad body image day to ruin my progress altogether.
Or, exercise compassion. At that moment, I knew I was worthy enough of treating my body with care, love and compassion. I shrugged the feelings off by taking a walk, listening to my favorite podcast, and taking some time to be with myself. Next, I continued with my normal eating routine and ate foods that nourish me. While I am honestly craving for a brownie, I’ll indulge myself with a bite or two, but never do it to the extent of hopelessness.
In this society, we are often told that if we hate our bodies enough, then we can be motivated to change. But, this isn’t helpful. Make a change and healthy improvements easier by exercising compassion and acceptance. Just because you recognize that a flaw does not make you less of a worthy individual.
Lack of self-love becomes a massive barrier to actually implement health-promoting behaviors. When we don’t believe that we are worthy, then why should we give ourselves a gift of self-care, compassion and self-worth.
The solution is not to condemn, reject and judge your thoughts. Acknowledge flaws, acknowledge quirks, and acknowledge days where you don’t feel confident. But, take action to move on and treat yourself with self-love, care, compassion and health.
You deserve it.