Last week, I shared my personal journey with body criticism and self-hate (Read about it here). I shared this with you because it’s Self-Love February here on Sweet Success, and I wanted to show you how far I’ve come. You too can learn to love yourself just as you are!
Today I’m sharing how I learned to love my body and myself…
- I started to nourish my body with food rather than punish it with food. I spent a lot of years on the diet, binge, diet, binge cycle. Food was either good or bad. Eating made me feel guilty. At some point, I realized that I couldn’t diet anymore. I needed something that would be sustainable. I began eating more unprocessed, whole foods. But I also decided that there wasn’t anything that was off limits. And soon, when I indulged in some ice cream or a cookie, I didn’t need to eat all of the ice cream or all of the cookies. Now, when I eat something that isn’t healthy, I enjoy it and move on.
- Fitness became part of my daily routine. The more I moved my body, the better I felt about myself. My mood improved, I had more energy, I slept better and I became stronger. Working out became about more than losing weight. Working out can change so many aspects of your life! Overall, I became more confident.
- I ran half-marathons. Training for and finishing a half-marathon made me realize how strong I am physically and mentally. I know long distance running isn’t for everyone, but accomplishing a huge fitness goal of any kind will give you the same body appreciation.
- I replaced every criticism about my body with a positive mantra. I still do this today! Yeah, I still have negative thoughts about my body. It usually happens when I’m getting dressed in the morning, and I catch a glimpse of the cellulite on my thighs. As soon as a negative thought enters my mind, I replace it with something positive. I either think about something I love about my body or I repeat a positive mantra like, “You are enough.”
- I eliminated toxic things and people from my life. For too many years of my 20’s, I drank too much as a way to escape from my insecurities and self-doubt. When I stopped drinking so much, I was able to face some of those insecurities. When I stopped drinking so much, there were people who immediately fell away. I quickly realized that those people were holding me back from being my best self. I also quit smoking, which made me feel so much better about myself. When you get rid of toxic things in your life, it’s like a weight is lifted off your shoulders!
- I started following my passion. I really began to love myself when I started going after my dreams. I became a group fitness instructor, I started writing Sweet Success, I attended a fitness blogger conference, I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a certified health coach. Doing things that I love make me feel good about myself!
- I began a yoga practice. Yoga has really made me feel more in tune with my body, and has made me more aware of how my thoughts impact the way I treat my body. I always feel so much stronger, stretched out, relaxed and confident after a yoga session.
- Self-care became a priority. This is something that I’ve focused on more in the past six months or so, but it’s helped me to love myself even more. I simply think about what I need to nourish myself physically, emotionally or mentally and I make the time for it. When I’m caring for myself, I’m more at peace with myself.
Learning to love myself didn’t happen overnight. It has taken a lot of work, and it still takes work today. I still have days when I don’t love my thighs or I think I look too fat. But I put into place or think about some of the things listed above to help get me through it. My journey has made me realize that I want to help women gain more confidence and learn to love themselves, which is why I’m starting a health coaching practice! We all go through things for a reason, and I know this is why I struggled all those years.
How have you learned to love your body? Or what’s your current struggle with finding body acceptance?