Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Raise your hand if you’ve never struggled with your body image…
If anyone raised their hands, congratulations, you are truly a unique person. If you weren’t able to raise your hand, listen up. Like probably all of you, I cannot raise my hand. For years, I have had a hard time balancing my ideas of a “great body” with the natural structure of my body. It was only recently that I started to really appreciate my body, regardless of shape and size—and when I started doing that, eating better, and exercising more regularly, my positive mindset started to come more naturally. It became a pleasure! Here’s how I changed my attitude:
I’m a big fan of the Awesome with Alison podcast. She’s one of those gems from Provo that is just, well, awesome. To be honest, I don’t really know what she does for work, but her Instagram is hilarious, and her podcast is great. In episode 8 she talks about her weight loss journey, and a lot of it focused around gratitude—gratitude for her body and her work and her life and everything. While she wasn’t the inspiration for my change of heart, her journey is similar to mine.
After I had my baby, I realized that my health, both physically and mentally, directly affected my child’s. I’ve come to more fully appreciate the fact that eating well and exercising can change so much. Now, let’s talk about how to change attitudes about food and exercise. I hate exercise—with a pretty strong passion. I’ve never been athletic, which makes me dislike playing simple sports and exercising. However, I began taking my babe out on walks. Rather than look at it as exercising, I learned to appreciate the world I was enjoying and just be thankful that I felt well enough to be walking around. As I’ve begun to look at “exercising” as something to be grateful for, it’s made me actually enjoy walking every morning. Additionally, it’s brought about all the great benefits of exercise: restful sleep, more energy, weight loss, etc.
Now let’s talk food. For me, this was the real struggle. I love to eat. I love experiencing food and savoring it. What changed with my relationship with food is that I stopped using it as a comfort item. I still enjoy it—all of it: the treats, the breads, the grains—but now, I’m much more aware of how much I need, and I don’t just eat a whole sleeve of Oreos out of boredom (but I do still eat Oreos). Figure out why you’re eating. Is it boredom? Is it loneliness? And then figure out a way to counteract that feeling with something other than food. It’s life changing, especially because you don’t have to restrict what you eat.
Bringing gratitude into all facets of your life can change all facets of your life. I truly believe that when we are grateful for our bodies and when we recognize why we exercise and why we are putting things into our bodies, we can change our acceptance of our bodies and our desires. It’s something that doesn’t take a lot of time—just a little bit of thought. It’s not something you have to agonize over. If you love to exercise but struggle with food, you can change that with some help from professionals and a sincere desire to change. If you hate exercising and love food, you can find a balance by finding a simple form of exercise you can enjoy and figuring out why you’re eating. I’m definitely not an expert on these subjects, and if you have serious problems in either area, you need to seek professional help, as it is dangerous to obsess over them. If you just want to feel better about yourself, though, add gratitude into those two areas of life, and you will see improvements.
Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert in these subjects. Eating disorders and obsession with fitness and thinness are serious problems that I am not promoting in this post. If you struggle with either of these things, please, I beg you, seek help from a professional. The risks involved with these problems are not worth the likes on Instagram you’re hoping to achieve. If you need help, please, please, please reach out to the National Eating Disorder helpline here: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support/contact-helpline or talk to your parents, a leader, or any other trusted adult in your life. You are beautiful just the way you are!