4 Easy Strategies from Criticizing to Loving Your Body

Blog Lifestyle 4 Easy Strategies from Criticizing to Loving Your Body

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11.19.2019 0 comments By Erika Austin, Ph.D

We live in a society that is desperate to find a quick fix. Everywhere we look there are photoshopped images of what we “should” look like that leave many feeling like they don’t quite measure up.

I invite you to join a different reality, one that leaves you feeling and looking amazing while getting the sustainable results you desire. Instead of filling ourselves with toxic binges of low-quality foods, destructive comparative thoughts and constant negative messages about ourselves, we turn inward. We trade external sources of validation for genuinely loving and accepting ourselves regardless of where we are on our health and wellness journey. Criticizing ourselves points to letting external forces dictate how we feel. While loving and accepting our body nourishes our minds, bodies, and souls with acceptance, forgiveness, and gratitude.

If you desire to change your body in some way, that is okay. We have all mistreated our bodies at one time, bringing it back to health and vitality is a gateway to other changes that will transpire. A transformation will come when we are open to loving ourselves and treating our bodies with the utmost respect and care. It will happen when we accept that we have been neglectful or overindulgent and that is okay, that was in the past. Now is the time to leave the past and create your future by showing up for yourself in the present. So how do we move to love and accept our body instead of criticizing it?

#1. Awareness

Think about how you are treating your body. Are you doing daily self-talk that it is not good enough, not thin enough, not you fill in the blank enough? This kind of mental talk is toxic and can leave you grasping for a quick fix that may make you feel better for a few days, but in the long run, creates a crash and burn cycle and makes you feel even worse. Being aware can start with being mindful of the food you decide to purchase and eat – is it processed? Is it organic? Is it fresh? Does it agree with your body, with your values? Are you grateful for the food you eat? Are you present when you eat it? Consciously eating is a beautiful way to nourish ourselves – all food tastes better when we are mindful of what we are eating and are fully present as we enjoy it.

#2. Reframe Our Relationship with Food and Ourselves

Food is meant to nourish us, to fill our bodies with delicious, nutrient-rich foods. Instead, we often have an unhealthy relationship with food that teeters back and forth between ignorance and dysfunction. Merely switching this mindset to embracing food as energy shifts our entire way of interacting with it.

Conscious eating practices consider the dynamic characteristics and environmental history of each individual food from growth, harvesting, selling, preparation, and digestion. We have one body, it deserves respect, appreciation, nurturance and love and kindness. This love starts by giving ourselves the nurturance most moms give to their newborn babies. Being a mother of two, I know how in those first few years, we practically become obsessed with choosing the best for our little ones. We raise our awareness about what our babies will eat aiming to give them the highest quality, purest foods possible. We need to get back to nurturing ourselves and loving our beautiful bodies and giving them the same kind of care we do for our most precious ones.

When we consciously choose whole, organic foods our bodies and minds rejoice, and our foundation for loving our bodies is established. Pure foods are those that have been grown with care and respect and are free from contamination by pollution, toxins, and greed. Choosing and preparing the purest foods and eating it in a clean and peaceful environment transforms our health and our lives one meal at a time.

#3 Get Strong

Back to my newborn analogy, as a mother, one of my goals is that my girls grow up to be confident, strong girls. This world is a gigantic roller coaster full of all different kinds of rides with various spins and turns we don’t always anticipate. What better way to equip them to enjoy the ride than to fill them with the confidence and strength to know they will be okay no matter what.

How do we build strength and confidence as adults? We create daily practices that instill confidence and strength. For me, that involves mental and physical strength. Mentally, I fill my mind with books, podcasts, videos, songs and people that fill my soul and my mind with inspiration and uplifting messages. Physically, I enjoy how strong I feel when I strength train.

It is empowering to shape your body to feel and look strong. Getting physically strong expands to all areas of your life and becomes infectious. By challenging yourself to do things you never thought possible, your confidence grows as does your strength. Women often get stuck doing endless cardio that rarely gets results.

Strength training has an erroneous reputation of making women bulk up. This is not true. The more your weight comes from muscle than from fat, the leaner you will be, so actually, the opposite of bulking is happening. Plus gaining muscle speeds up your metabolism, increase bone health, improves your flexibility eases joint pain and helps you to have a healthier heart.

My time strength training and doing yoga fill me like nothing else and both keep me radiating for hours any time I do them. Give yourself the gift of finding time to strengthen your body, and your mind heightened all areas of your life.

#4 Discipline

I believe freedom lives on the other side of discipline. Discipline requires daily action. The consistency in regular action creates what we ultimately want. We all start with an intention, a goal. But at the beginning that’s all it is. It can feel daunting to change your negative self-talk, or to make better food choices or perhaps to start strength training or any new exercise regime. But once you commit, you find it easier and easier to do. Soon, you have reached your freedom. Your mind is now full of positive self-talk, you crave wholesome, nourishing foods that give you energy, vitality and an inner and outer glow. You are now empowered, confident and strong.

You have now defined what beauty is, what a healthy body looks and feels like. You have become the example for those around you. You are the ideal, not someone in a magazine but real, beautiful, strong YOU! Enjoy, I knew you could do it!

Dr. Austin is a frequent guest speaker at ZONIA – a video streaming platform for health and wellness. To access her motivational videos and those of many other experts join ZONIA for FREE today.


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