Body image & 9 ways to practice body respect

Hello everyone and happy February! This weekend I had my first Saturday off in about a month. 2 months? I am not exactly sure but it was glorious! Spent Friday catching up with classmates and learning more about intermittent fasting (post tbd), Saturday went to the gym, Costco, made delicious food and cookies and watched a movie. Yesterday was the Super Bowl and since I am not a huge football fan per say, I watched the halftime show with Justin and ate good food. Hope you had a great weekend too!!

I also wanted to make a shameless plug to sign up for new post notifications (located on the side-bar). If you like reading the blog, then this just automatically sends the new post of the week to your inbox Tuesday afternoon. I promise I don’t spam you or send you anything else. So, if you enjoy reading, I would encourage you to sign up! If you don’t sign up that is totally fine, thank you for reading and if someone else you know might benefit from reading, please share!

That being said…this week I wanted to talk about body image.

Have you ever been in a place where you loved your body? Maybe, but I would say the majority of people have not. I know I have been in a smaller body and still had thoughts like…oh man, when I am X, I will be so much happier. Which was never actually true. Have you had that experience?

I think people tend to say things on either side of the spectrum, either they say how much they love their body, or they hate everything about it. While it is totally awesome if you love your body, I think many of us are not quite there. So maybe you can’t be body positive, but can you be body neutral? And can you think about your body less? 

A way to be more neutral is to practice body respect. Remember that you don’t need to lose X amount of weight, or decrease the size of whatever to take care of yourself now. If you can make respecting your body your first priority, you may find yourself in a happier place.

rose mattson - sunday breakfast eggs, toast, sausage, pear

Here are some ways to practice body respect!

1.Buy comfortable clothes 

Don’t wait to fit into a certain pair of jeans, or a dress, or anything. Go out and buy things that fit you now! You deserve to have pretty, comfortable clothing that makes you feel your best. Pulling on too tight of shirts, or being afraid of putting on those tight jeans will not make you feel good. It is perfectly acceptable to buy yourself new clothes, for your now-body!

2. Stop using body assessment tools

Throw out your scale. Or if you can’t quite do it yet, let it collect dust under your bed. Likewise, if you have a small pair of shorts/top/skirt whatever that you routinely try on to see “where you are at”, can you stop doing that as well? Your size does not equal your worth.

3. Stop preparing for a big event

You know when people say they are “shredding for the wedding,” “need to lose X pounds before a vacation,” or “I need to get back my pre-baby body”? It seems everyone is restricting themselves when it comes to events. I know there is a ton of pressure for recently engaged people, women in particular, to lose weight for their wedding. But, I am 100% confident that your significant other liked you just are you were before you got engaged. Can you focus on how awesome it is to be getting married to your person, being in a dreamy vacation spot, or recognizing and appreciate how incredible it is that your body created a tiny human? Your body is amazing!

4. Quit body checking

You know when you go into a room and immediately compare yourself to everyone else? Remember, everyone else feels the same way. And everyone’s story is different. People may be on a crazy diet, recovering from a death in the family, in school and supporting a child, working out excessively and skipping meals, only eating xyz…the list goes on guys. The truth is, we don’t know what everyone else is experiencing, and making up things in our brain simply doesn’t help. Also, side note, one of the cool parts of this world is that we all look different! How can you celebrate those differences instead of berating yourself for not looking a certain way?

rose mattson - all bodies are beautiful quote

5. Don’t tear apart your body

What do you do when you look into a mirror? Do you immediately say negative things about yourself? Pretty sure we have all been there. I don’t expect you to suddenly wake up one day and love everything about your body. But, what do you like? What do you respect about your body? Write those down.

For example: I like my ____. I am happy that I have legs that can ____.

6. Don’t talk about your body 

I am pretty sure every woman out there has had this experience. I remember being in 7th grade when I first recognized that girls do this. Why do women get in groups and talk about how much weight they need to lose 0r bash on the size of whatever!? Girls, you are so much more intelligent, worthy, and capable of giving to the world, than wasting time talking about the size of your body. Please don’t criticize your own body, or anyone else’s! How can you redirect that conversation?

7. Respect body diversity

Respect your own body, and all bodies, by realizing that everyone comes in different shapes and sizes. There is not one figure that exemplifies health. People in larger bodies experience prejudice and are often discriminated against, which is one reason why everyone is terrified of becoming bigger. Please remember that if someone is larger than you it is absolutely not because they eat “poorly or are lazy” in any way. There are many things that contribute to your body size including genetics, activity level, stress, mental health, nutrition, sleep and so much more. Weight stigma is a huge deal and an extensive topic that I won’t be able to cover here today. Please remember – health is so much more than your body size.

8. Practice self-care

What are some behaviors that you can adopt that feel good? Reading a book? Going for a walk with your dog? Can you appreciate your body for carrying you to different places? To holding a yoga pose? Or allowing you to do your favorite movement? For being able to bike? Run? Take some time each day to do things that show how you respect your body.

rose mattson - salmon, pasta, brussel dinner

9. Accept that your body will change 

From being a child, to an adolescent, to being in high school and college, to post-grad life, to becoming a parent (if you choose), to hitting menopause, to just growing older in general; your body will change. And this is perfectly normal! I know change can be difficult, but please try and embrace where you are now. I imagine if you spent less time thinking about what your life would be like when you achieve a certain look, you would be a lot happier, now.

If body image is something you struggle with, I suggest starting with a couple of these. Body respect truly means taking care of your health and this can be accomplished by treating your body with dignity and meeting its needs. Remember, health isn’t a size. How can you shift your focus away from how your body looks to doing things that make it feel good?

And if you can, embrace where your body is at now.

Remember all the adventures it can take you on.

How capable you are of loving others and being loved.

What it feels like to laugh and dance and move in way that feels good.

Those are the things that truly matter.

Talk to you next week,

xoxoxoxoo

-Rose


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