Your body is NOT the problem
hi everyone :)
As some of you know, I am in the process of creating a podcast! I am really excited about it. To prepare, I have been doing research by listening to other podcasts.
One of the podcasts that I have listened to, which I will put a link to below, was episode #239 of "The Confidence Podcast" which is called "Simple Ways to Accept Your Body with Confidence" with host Trish Blackwell.
Trish Blackwell is a confidence coach who addresses body image issues in the fitness industry and who is in eating disorder recovery. While her style is vastly different than mine is (a lot of pink and hearts and gold glitter), I firmly believe that there are different coaches and teachers to speak to different people and students.
Four things about her podcast really struck a chord with me that I want to share with you:
1. Your body is NOT the problem.
2. Who are you to hate your body?
3. How often do you speak negatively about your body?
4. Your body is the vehicle that allows you to LIVE.
Some of my thoughts about these:
- From nearly every single client that I work with, I hear that they hate their body. And, as much as I am sure most of you have heard what I am about to say at some point in your recovery, I want to be very clear with you about something: your body is actually not the problem. Your body is the scapegoat. It is unfairly blamed and bullied for other problems in your life. Some of these problems you may not even be aware of yet. When you catch yourself hyper-focused on what you hate about your body, I ask you to take a deep breath. Take some space. Press pause. What is actually truer than that? What is truer than the fact that you think your thighs touch or that you think your belly looks soft? Is it that you feel lonely? Is it that you feel panic because you have no idea what the future holds? Is it that you are so afraid to feel anything that you have no idea what you actually feel? Let me repeat: Your Body Is Not The Problem.
- (Disclaimer: I am one of those people who marks "spiritual but not religious" on online dating profiles under religious belief, so please know that when I use God, I mean whatever higher power you attest to). It might be hard for you to grasp right now, but your body is a gift. It is actually a miracle that you were born. I read once that your chances of being born were 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 followed by 2,684,969 more zeroes. So practically zero. When someone that you truly and deeply love gives you a handmade gift, do you ever look at it and pick it apart the way that you do the gift of your body? If you are gift from God, can you start to look at yourself through his/her eyes? Trish Blackwell asks in her podcast "If your body was given to you by God, who are you to say that it is wrong?" Now again, I mark "spiritual but not religious" on my dating profiles... and that statement, who are you to say that your body is wrong, still hits home for me.
- I am not a perfect being. When out of balance I know that I can be a "know-it-all". When I was sick with my eating disorder I was WAY out of balance, and so for a long time I thought I knew better than all of my treatment team. I thought that most of the exercises that they wanted me to do were stupid. On the other side of my ED I can see that had I just listened to them to begin with, I may not have suffered for so long. With that in mind, the whole "no negative self talk" to me sounded way too simple to counter the complexity of my eating disorder. And, while it is true that eating disorders are incredibly complex, no negative self talk, particularly about your body, does make a difference. Think about all of the negative thoughts that come rushing in when you look at yourself in the mirror, or when you look down at your stomach and your legs. Think about all of the time you spend doing that and all of the negative energy it creates. Now think about taking a deep breath and creating some space between you and those thoughts. What would change in your life if you just STOPPED the negative self talk? If you caught yourself starting and literally just stopped yourself mid-thought and moved on? I know for me, it decreased the amount of anxiety I had and allowed me to move forward with my day sooner.
- If you are able to stop the negative self-talk, can you start actually showing gratitude for your body? I have probably said this in prior blog posts, but one of the reasons yoga helped me so much in my recovery is because it taught me to be grateful to my body for giving me the ability to get on my yoga mat and practice yoga poses. Do you like to be active? Do you like to walk, run, bike, climb, skateboard, sing, dance, play an instrument, draw, bake, cook, fish, sew, knit, use a calculator, hug, kiss, have sex, talk, chat, hold hands, pet your dog or cat? You have your body to thank for the ability to do any and all of those things.
All of this might seem so far away, but what if it actually wasn't? What if you can drop your ego, the ED part of you that thinks it knows better, and just realize that your body is not a problem, it is a gift that allows you to live and so you are going to make it a practice to show it gratitude instead of hatred? What would be possible?
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