“How can you respond to your body with kindness and compassion?” is a question I ask many of my clients.
Most times, I get blank stares and shrugs in return, communicating, “I don’t have a clue!”
Do you know why that is?
Because restricting food isn’t treating your body with kindness.
Binge eating isn’t treating your body with kindness.
Overexercising to undo calories consumed, or to try to reach a certain ideal, isn’t treating your body with kindness.
Picking yourself apart whenever you look in the mirror isn’t treating your body (or your mind!) with kindness.
But, these are some of the most common ways women operate in the world. Which explains why so many of us can’t quite tell how our bodies are communicating its needs.
Because it is! Each and everyday.
And when you're focused on beating your body into submission to lose weight, or to appear a certain way, you numb yourself to the basic physiological signals that communicate exactly what your body needs to be at it’s natural and comfortable set point.
That’s the point that you effortlessly maintain your weight (yup, that’s 100% possible!).
When healing your relationship with your body, it’s so important to re-establish a sense of trust.
Not only do you have to put your trust in your body, but your body has to be able to put its trust in you.
That you’ll feed it when its hungry.
That you’ll stop feeding it when you’re full.
That you’ll honor its cravings.
That you’ll move it in a respectful way.
That you’ll rest when it’s tired.
That you’ll care for it like you care for other people in your life
This sounds so basic, I know.
But, it takes courage and commitment to actually start trusting that your body knows what it's doing. It feels like you’ve been waging a war against it for so long, after all!
Like any important relationship, healing hurts takes time, but is so worth it.
One strategy I suggest to many of my clients is to be aware when they’re triggered to do something drastic. And instead of doing that thing, do the opposite.
You’re compelled to run “x” extra miles to undo last night’s dinner at the local Italian restaurant.
Instead, take a slow and mindful walk. Tune into the sensations of your body and how it feels to move in an intentional and moderate way.
You’re compelled to order dessert despite being uncomfortably full (because what the hell, right?! you’ve already done the damage!).
Instead, take a breath. Feel your fullness. Honor your body’s signal that it has actually had enough. You can have dessert when you *actually* have room for it. And you’ll enjoy it a heck of a lot more.
By doing the opposite of what you’re triggered to do (and likely used to doing) you’re assuring your body that you trust it to do its job. And, you lose the all or nothing mentality, which is a much kinder place to operate out of.
As you put more wins in your proverbial trust piggy-bank, you’ll find that it’s easier to feel the signals your body is sending you.
That’s when shift happens- when we stop relying on external factors like the weight on the scale, the number in our pants, the calories burned and the latest and greatest diet, and start tuning into our own inner-knowing.
How can you take a small step this week toward trusting your body? Click here to let me know!
I'm a self-love, body image and eating disorder therapist in Horsham, PA.
I help women and teen girls to make peace with their minds, bodies and food and learn how to see, appreciate and love all that they are.
I specialize in treating anxiety, binge eating and helping women learn how to stop dieting and really start living.
Questions? Get in touch here!