Most of us are not connected with our physical body. Okay, obviously we’re literally connected to her but are most of us emotionally in-tune with her needs, desires, and messages? Not exactly.
There are a couple reasons for this. First of all, we’re usually too busy to take a second to listen to what our body is trying to tell us. Next, we’ve been conditioned through diet culture, media messages, and body shaming to be totally disconnected from our body wisdom.
For example, many women are desperately trying to find answers from others about the best foods to eat and the perfect workout routine. We’re being taught to not trust our cravings and fight them with “willpower”. We’re taught to ignore the physical pain our body feels during a too-intense workout and “power through”. In reality, all we need to do is listen to our body about what foods feel good and what types of movement make her feel energized and strong. This is different for everyone, and so we can’t walk around trusting every “expert” out there for advice on our unique body composition.
You are the only person who can be the expert of you!
Many of the women that I work with have absolutely no idea how to begin communicating with their body after years of ignoring hunger/fullness cues, overeating, over-exercising and speaking unkindly to her. I get that because I was there too. I spent years fighting my cravings and trying to eat only the healthiest foods ever, which inevitably lead me to binge eating every night until I was totally miserable and sick (also ignoring my body). Then I’d start over the next day, punish my body with a killer workout, and the cycle would repeat…
Learning to be nice to your body can be challenging after a vicious cycle like this. I want to make one thing clear, though: Being kind is our true nature, our default. All you gotta do is clear away all the crap messages that have covered up the kindness.
If phrases such as “Ugh, my thighs are huge” “I hate my cellulite” and “These love handles are gross” sound like familiar musings to you, then it can be extra hard to make the jump to body love right away. Which is why I like to think of my body as my ally versus my BFF. Not someone who I’m 100% of the time totally in love with, but someone who is my partner, always working with me, and trying her best to make sure that I’m getting what I need.
The best part? Your entire life, whether you’ve liked or loved or hated your body, she has done absolutely everything in her power to keep millions (!) of functions working perfectly at the same time, all the time. Pretty sweet, right? Let’s repay some of that kindness. Here are 3 ways you can communicate nicely with your body:
Write an apology, and a thank you letter to your body
Apologize for all the times you said mean things, didn’t appreciate all that she does for you, ignored her, and tried to change her into something she wasn’t. Then, in a separate letter write down all that you love about her. Write down everything that she does for you every day and how grateful you are. Repeat often!
Do one nice thing for your body each morning
This can be dancing naked, rubbing lotion on your skin, or simply touching different parts of your body and saying “Thank you”. This is a tiny but impactful way to remind yourself that you appreciate your body. After some time, that inclination to be unkind to your body will lessen, because you’ll know how worthy your body is of being loved and how good it feels to be in partnership with your body.
Listen to her
Speaking of partnership, get connected! If you’re someone who over-exercises, eats limited foods, or eats on a strict schedule for no reason other than because someone told you you “should”, then try getting intuitive with your eating and movement for a few days. Wait and see when your body wants to eat, ask her what foods would sound really good for this meal, and how much she truly wants to feel energized and nourished. Some days this will mean kale and quinoa. Other days this will be cereal-covered ice cream. Trust that your body knows best because she does.
This journey to healthy communication with your body takes time. Think of it as if you’re dating your body, the same way you’d date and get to know a partner – it’s essentially the same idea. Find out her likes and dislikes, her quirks, and watch her repay you with even more love and health.
Do you struggle with communicating with your body? Do you listen to the messages she’s giving you? If not, what are some ways you will commit to increasing your awareness and communication? I’d love to hear (and cheer you on), leave me a note in the comments below!