Body Bliss: 8 Ways to Honor Your Body Today


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  125 comments   :  25,791 Views

Even though I have a pretty healthy outlook about food and exercise these days (summed up in a single word: moderation), I spent years struggling with a negative body image, disordered eating and exercise habits, and weight fluctuations. I feel fortunate to have been able to overcome these issues and return to "normal" eating and exercising, which was a major feat. But even though my outward habits were positive and healthy, I was still struggling on the inside, and didn't like what I saw in the mirror. Even though no one else could hear them, I said hurtful things about myself. I didn't wear shorts or even a bathing suit for nearly a decade because I never felt like my body was good enough to be on display. Clearly, I had more work to do.

It's been an ongoing process for me to go from loathing my body to liking it to loving it (at least some parts). It's an ongoing process for me to care less and less what anyone else might think about it. Some people view this as a common struggle that we just have to deal with, but I don't. No one should have to feel bad about how they look, and everyone CAN develop a healthier body image with practice.

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 20-26), I'm going to share the 8 simple ways you can foster a more positive body image starting today.
  1. Dress for the body you have today. This is one of the best things I ever did for myself. Don't wait until you're 2, 20, or 200 pounds lighter to wear clothes that fit you well and flatter your figure. You deserve to look and feel your best right now.
  2. Talk back. Talk back to your TV when you see commercials that use a woman's body to sell products. Talk back to companies with your wallet by NOT buying said products. I used to subscribe to a lot of women's health and fitness magazines, until I realized that they tend to glorify just one body type: super skinny. Reading these magazines made me feel bad about myself, so I canceled my subscriptions. I stopped feeling pressure to look like the pictures since I didn't have to look at them anymore—and I sent a message with my dollars (and feedback) to the publishers.
  3. Turn every negative thought into something positive. It's not easy to suddenly say "I love my legs" if you don't feel that way, but there are plenty of ways you can turn negative thoughts into more positive ones: like that your legs are strong and get you up the stairs at work without getting too tired.
  4. Compliment yourself in ways that have nothing to do with your looks. We tend to focus so much on what we see in the mirror and overlook our many other amazing attributes. Are you a good friend? A good listener? A successful professional? A smart driver? How about simply a warm, caring, friendly, or positive person? Make a list of 10 things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your looks. Then next time you feel down about your appearance—or start to self-criticize—take out this list and remind yourself just how awesome you are. Better yet, start and end your day reading that list. Every. Single. Day.
  5. Exercise because it's good for you. It took a long time for me to view exercise as something more than a means to: burn calories, lose weight, or change my body. But you know what? Now that I view it as something that makes me feel good, strong, fit and healthy, I actually exercise more consistently than I ever did before, which ultimately means that my body has never looked better. It's funny how focusing on the wrong thing can undermine your efforts. If you're obsessed with the calorie burn or hate to exercise, stop counting your calories burned (I still NEVER track them to this day), and start exercising at an intensity level that simply feels good to you. Even more important: Find something fun that you really love and do it, even if it's not the biggest calorie burner. Your body deserves this respect.
  6. Eat healthy because your body deserves it. Honor your body by eating as much nutritious and nourishing food as possible so that it can perform at its best and be healthy. Stop making every food decision based on calories alone.
  7. Don't feel bad about cravings—or giving into them. I still struggle with this one myself. When I eat things that I know aren't good for me, I tend to "feel fat" and guilty. A little bit of guilt may be OK—that's what stops you from eating ice cream for EVERY meal, after all. But food is one of our greatest pleasures in this life, and you can and should enjoy eating. Sometimes, that means indulging in some less-than-healthy foods (notice I didn't say "bad" foods). What's most important is that you are present, making these choices consciously (not emotionally or on autopilot), honoring your craving without going overboard, and not letting the occasional dessert or rich dinner send you into a shame spiral that you can't climb out of.
  8. Never allow anyone else to disrespect your body. This is a really important one. Never EVER let someone else disrespect your body by criticizing it, hurting it (this can mean many things), or objectifying it. Get negative people like this out of your life or at least tell them that you will not stand to have your body disrespected ever again. You deserve love and respect from yourself, but from other people, too. If someone disrespects your body, stand up for it. Remind yourself that you're great and—most importantly: If someone has a problem with you, it's their problem, not yours.
What are some of the ways that you honor your body each day?

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  • SAGE4529
    Thank you so much for writing this article- I felt it really spoke to me, and I wrote down the 8 tips to use on a daily basis!! - 9/13/2016   7:35:07 AM
  • 124
    Thanks, I definitely need to post this list where I can see it every day. - 3/27/2011   10:01:35 PM
  • 123
    Great blog; thank you. Excellent points that really hit home. - 3/11/2011   2:17:50 PM
    interesting!!! - 3/4/2011   11:09:00 AM
  • 121
    Excellent Blog ~ Thanks I need to read things like this! I have found weight loss is also a "mental" thing - I'm at the stage of obsessing if something happens (has happened) that I have to cut back on exercise - I get full of fear that I'm going to start gaining it back. As I imagine you can guess, it's a very real and overwhelming fear. - 2/28/2011   3:04:37 PM
    What an encouraging blog-just what I needed to hear right now! Thanks so much! I will send this to other friends who may miss it, so they can be encouraged too! - 2/27/2011   3:38:14 AM
  • 119
    Great encouraging article. I printed it out to hang at my desk so I can read and use information every day. Thanks - 2/27/2011   1:46:17 AM
  • 118
    Well said! I agree that way too much emphasis is put on how we look, not just about weight, but now there is an obsession with always looking young. It's who we are and what we do that really count. My mantra is "If you don't like how I look, don't look!" - 2/26/2011   11:53:13 PM
    Wow!!!! I loved reading this blog. This has encouraged me to start encouraging my sister to start exercising and doing little positive things for herself everyday. I even started to encourage her daughter to spend time doing exercise with her mom. Wow the ENCOURAGING part of me is back. WOOHOO!!!!! Thanks - 2/26/2011   7:52:44 PM
  • 116
    Thanks for this! - 2/26/2011   11:00:38 AM
  • 115
    Great blog! I hope you keep writing on this subject matter. - 2/26/2011   12:37:16 AM
    I honour my body by going to bed at the same time each day and trying to get enough sleep. I too enjoy the healthy veggies and avoid the french fries and chips. I try to be aware of how stress creeps in and tortures my mind... and my sleep times. Thanks for the blog! - 2/25/2011   12:52:19 PM
  • 113
    We hear so much these days about having/creating a "perfect body," and all the things that are wrong with the bodies we have, that sometimes we forget we were designed to be more useful than ornamental. The more we honor what our bodies do, the easier it is to do what's best for them. Think about it: how happy would you be taking care of someone you hated 24/7?

    I've never heard a eulogy that began, "Let us remember our dear Madeleine, who was always a perfect size 2." - 2/25/2011   10:46:26 AM
    Thank you SO MUCH for this blog!!!! I am happy not only because I know taking this advice will help me, but because I know other people who read it will find it helpful too. - 2/25/2011   4:50:49 AM
    Thank you for this article. This is just a good timing for me since I'm trying to loose weight so I can wear my old clothes again and watching what I'm eating. I believe that change starts from the inside and it reflects in the outside. - 2/25/2011   3:06:47 AM
  • 110
    2 words for ya coach nicole, "you rock". plain and simple. thanks for a great, GREAT article. - 2/25/2011   1:01:11 AM
  • 109
    Lots of good words here that I can relate to. I haven't mastered all of my issues with eating, but I did well for today. Now I will do it again tomorrow. Thanks. - 2/25/2011   12:09:29 AM
  • 108
    What a good article. It sure did hit home with me. I am a size 3-4 and I have body issues. Sometimes I feel so fat. I agree that no one should say bad things about our bodies. When they do I tell them to get some tissues and deal with their issues as it's my body not theirs. - 2/24/2011   9:54:40 PM
    First chris3874, don't get discouraged. Go back check your nutrition , and fitness trackers, see where u might have gone off. Learn from this and use it to get u back on track. As for this article it was very inspirational. I will reflect back to this when I'm not feeling so good about myself. Thank you. - 2/24/2011   8:47:26 PM
  • 106
    This article came right on time. Thank you for sharing. I definately was able to walk away with some tips for myself. - 2/24/2011   8:38:06 PM
    Wow, Nicole. Your words and your tone are very strong in this blog. It's easy to tell that this is a subject on which you are very passionate. Great message. Awesome delivery. - 2/24/2011   6:54:56 PM
  • 104
    Fantastic blog on your journey and words of wisdom for each of us. I concur with your advice about dressing NOW to feel good. So important. My word of advice for anyone reading this who is still obese: GET RID OF THOSE SWEAT PANTS (except for wearing to bed.) They do not help your self image at all. - 2/24/2011   4:14:13 PM
  • 103
    Well done article, with a lot of points that I can identify with - thanx, Coach Nicole! - 2/24/2011   2:39:27 PM
  • 102
    thank you for this article. I think now is an especially dangerous time for negative talk -- after most of winter has passed and before spring/summer is approaching.
    For anyone who needs it, I found this book REALLY helpful in thinking positively and strongly and allowing you to separate yourself from your eating disorder. It's called Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer
    - 2/24/2011   2:12:09 PM
    Thank you for another great article. - 2/24/2011   2:00:23 PM
  • 100
    Fantastic blog. - 2/24/2011   1:29:01 PM
  • 99
    Thanks, I love this blog! - 2/24/2011   12:51:22 PM
    Really makes you think! - 2/24/2011   12:47:36 PM
  • AMETHYST2364
    Thank you! I needed to read this! - 2/24/2011   12:43:31 PM
  • 96
    Well said. Thank you. - 2/24/2011   12:32:29 PM
  • 95
    I honor myself by having daily goals in the areas of nutrition, exercise, water intake, nutrition, & motivation. At the top of my food journal page I list there: for example: 1500 calories, 34 fat grams, 5-6 glasses of water, 30 minutes minimum of cardio, 10-15 minutes of weights or stretching, prayer, meditation, or reading articles about my goals. I don't always meet all the goals, but I don't beat myself up...just start over tomorrow! - 2/24/2011   12:32:09 PM
  • 94
    I think this was an excellent blog. I think a lot of us Sparkers tend to think that you coaches are "perfect"...and we sometimes hold you guys to high (read: impossible) standards. It is nice to know that, although you are living a fit and healthy lifestyle overall, you're still working at it, you have your struggles...and you've overcome so many struggles. Thanks, Coach Nicole!! This was an awesome and inspiring read. - 2/24/2011   11:56:32 AM
  • 93
    This is fabulous. YOU are fabulous. Thank you. We all need these reminders. - 2/24/2011   11:45:05 AM
  • 92
    This blog has so many positive points that I've saved it as a favorite...thanks for sharing. - 2/24/2011   11:13:36 AM
    Very wise advice Nicole. You put a lot of thought into this and it is very helpful. It's a healthy and happy lifestyle change, not a competition! Excellent! - 2/24/2011   10:53:02 AM
  • 90
    Bravo! This is the best blog that I have ever read. I like to remind myself that God does not make junk but that the maintenance is up to us. There is beauty in our differences and for very negative, we must find the positive - that's the "spark"! - 2/24/2011   10:10:54 AM
  • 89
    Good blog. #2 & 8 especially for me. Even this site has ads that make it harder to see the honor of our bodies (I, for one, am tired of shots of trunks, showing beautifully defined abs and lovely belly-buttons, but not PEOPLE! talk about turning bodies into things...we are more than the sum of our 'parts'). And, yes, I know SP doesn't control the ads, I'm just remarking that when you focus on a body part rather than a person, you aren't honoring anything. - 2/24/2011   10:05:41 AM
  • 88
    This was a great reminder. Thanks for posting! - 2/24/2011   10:02:39 AM
  • 87
    You are a well spoken young lady and i loved this blog...i cried because that was me to the letter! I had to learn to look in the mirror everyday and say"I love you" to myself! If we thought more lovingly about ourselves instead of self loathing..we wouldnt have weight issues.Thank You!! - 2/24/2011   10:02:36 AM
  • 86
    I work in a store where we sell bathing suits. My suggestion: buy for your size. No one looks at the tag and says you wear a size ..? Even the skinny ones do not look good squeezed into a size or two way to small. Trust me, it makes all the difference. - 2/24/2011   9:59:27 AM
    How do I honor my body ? I do my best to eat right. I make sure I get some regular exercise that includes strength training AND I appreciate what my body can do instead of worrying about what it can't do.
    - 2/24/2011   9:51:57 AM
  • 84
    Thank you so very much for your powerful words.
    xoxo - 2/24/2011   9:19:53 AM
  • 83
    Now here`s something I can really relate to! - 2/24/2011   9:12:59 AM
  • 82
    Loved article; thank you! - 2/24/2011   8:46:07 AM
  • 81
    Thank you for such a beautiful and empowering post. It came at a time I needed to hear these things for myself. - 2/24/2011   8:26:39 AM
  • FITB450-
    WOW! I had to respond to this was fabulous and just what I needed to read TODAY at this moment! I am 49 years old and STILL struggle with an eating disorder from 1979 (ugh!); negative body/self image; emotional eating; etc........ No matter how much my husband, family, friends tell me how great I look, I STILL don't see it! That is sooooo sad to me. Yet, after reading these words I feel TOTALLY UPLIFTED! I AM going to change the way I see, and think, about my body this Thank you so very much for giving me just what I needed at the time of need! - 2/24/2011   8:24:28 AM
  • 79
    What a lovely, powerful list. Thanks for the reminders. - 2/24/2011   7:51:12 AM
  • 78
    Just shared this article with my Weight Race team at work, this has such a positive message I couldn't pass it up! Thanks Nicole! - 2/24/2011   7:29:19 AM
  • 77
    This is a wonderful blog, and just what I needed today. - 2/24/2011   7:25:36 AM
    This is what I need to read everyday to keep me in check. Thanks ! - 2/24/2011   7:14:36 AM

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