Overcoming Body Shame - 3 Simple Steps
I don't often share photos like this, but this is real and raw, and I think it's important to expose my shadow every once and a while. To keep it grounded. To give it light.
When I began teaching Love Your Body and Mindful Eating, I honestly believed I’d completely healed my eating disorder, both in thoughts and behaviors. Since then, I've been humbled.
This photo was taken when I was on hormones to freeze my eggs. I was so bloated that it was painful just to walk. Although my eating habits remained healthy and consistent, I found myself back in the thick of self-destructive thoughts. I hated my body. I felt uncomfortable, groggy, ugly. I was ashamed to be seen in public, afraid that people would judge me for having some sort of relapse. I was totally in my head. And to top it off, I wasn’t able to practice yoga, which is what I turn to for sanity when my mind is spinning out of control.
Eventually the hormones wore off, and my body settled back into itself, but I remain changed. I realize now that the love I was feeling for my body was conditional, which isn't true love. I intend to love myself and my body without condition, without expectation. I intend to love myself just for being me.
Life continues to test us. It's like a spiral staircase. We keep reaching the same step, but (hopefully) from a higher and wiser perspective. That’s how we get to see our progress. That’s how we continue to grow. Even if I don't yet love myself unconditionally, I’m learning to accept where I am in this journey toward it, and that's love in itself.
If you're feeling body shame, here are 3 simple steps you can take:
1. GET GROUNDED:
When we don't love our bodies, it's nearly impossible to remain grounded in them. Grounding is incredibly soothing because our bodies are always in the present moment. When we're grounded, we feel tethered and safe. When we're not grounded, we're also more likely to eat emotionally because we can't listen to our body's hunger cues. Find a way to get grounded. Physical activity is always a great way to do that, but if you can't move, try spending time in nature, going to a sound bath, or just visualizing your feet growing roots into the ground.
2. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
When we're feeling vulnerable, the impulse is often to put ourselves down. That's the opposite of what we need. Treat yourself. Eat nourishing foods. Take a bubble bath. Get a mani/pedi or massage. Spend time with people who love you and can help you reflect that love back toward yourself. Talk to a counselor or someone who understands. Nurture yourself by giving yourself the love attention you deserve.
3. TRUST AND BE PATIENT
Whatever it is you're going through, trust it. It's teaching you. There's a lesson and opportunity for growth hidden in every challenge. If you don't understand the lesson yet, simply trust that there is one. Then remain as patient as you can by doing things that bring you joy. Change will come. It always does. The more you remain grounded, self-loving, and aware, the faster you'll see a positive change.