I've been thinking a lot about body image and women's empowerment recently. Isn't it wild how tough we are on ourselves? Over the past few years I've tried to reflect daily and to learn why I think the way I do. Why women look in the mirror and pick out the flaws instead of rejoicing the beauty of the female body. The conclusion of "Why we think the way we do" is an easy answer for me: high standards, social media, what people think of me, worrying about bikini season, wanting to be accepted and to be "liked," etc. So now that we know WHY we think this way, the tough part to figure out is how we can CHANGE the habit of harmful self-talk.
The best way I've found to do this is to practice really listening to our bodies. Doing this, we can better understand and learn to appreciate them. Becoming body-centered starts with taking care of ourselves, recognizing patterns and working to empower ourselves to shatter these idealistic thoughts.
Over our lifetimes, we notice bodily needs throughout the day, but we often ignore them until they become problems. For example, "I'm feeling SO tired so I need a HUGE coffee." or "I'm STARVING and where is the closest fast-food chain to fill my belly." Instead, we can begin to listen more fine-tunely to become more aware and body-centered. We can practice noticing these little body-feelings before they become problems. Do you need more sleep? Do you need to carry a healthy snack with you.
" You can learn to override and transform the culturally imposed and inauthentic voices that tell you how you should think and how you should be so that you know and accept who and how you truly are. "
" We learn that fatigue, hunger, sadness, stress, headache, menstrual cramps, the sensation of childbirth, and most other physical feelings that are uncomfortable or unpleasant can be suppressed. We are not taught that these feelings are the language of our bodies, and that our bodies speak to us more and more strongly until we are finally forced to sit up and listen. This happens usually when we ignore little messages until they turn into discomforts, then symptoms, then outright diseases. But we can change this conditioning by listening to our bodies."
Let's working on prioritizing the feelings and messages our bodies are sending us
instead of worrying about what other people think.
Start by listening to the most common messages that your body sends you daily:
- EAT: Eat when you're hungry and make smart food choices. Don't skip meals thinking that you need to lose weight, as this often just leads to blood sugar imbalances or a binge when you just can't hold off any longer. If you fill your belly with clean wholesome foods when you are hungry, and stop when your body tells you it's full, you won't have to worry about your weight.
- SLEEP: Allow yourself to sleep when you feel tired. Take a cat-nap or allow extra time for sleep at night. Pushing through day-time fatigue with stimulants such as coffee, chocolate and sugar give our body false energy when what we really need to be doing is listening to our bodies and giving ourselves a break. It will all get done. Once you start listening and serving your body, you'll find that you won't rely on stimulants as you once used to.
- WATER: Stay hydrated even before you think you are thirsty. Water sustains every cell in our bodies. Respect yourself and keep water nearby.
- ELIMINATION: Go when you have to go! Empty your bladder and your bowels when your body first starts hinting to you. Holding it can increase the likelihood of incontinence, urinary tract infections and bowel issues such as constipation and hemorrhoids. The more you start listening, the more "regular" you will become.
Seems too simple? Practice focusing on these basics and tell me how you feel. :)
In cozy sweaters and hot tea snuggling,