How to appreciate and accept your body: 7 helpful tips
If you’ve spent years trying to work out how to learn to love your body, you may be happy to discover that figuring this out is not actually necessary. A more achievable approach is recognizing what your body does, rather than focusing on how it looks. That’s how to appreciate your body: respecting its abilities rather than zooming in on its supposed flaws and listening to its needs rather than trying to make it look its best. We’ll all have days where our body isn’t ‘perfect’, maybe we have mobility issues or pain – so loving our bodies all the time isn’t always realistic. Here are seven ways to work towards body acceptance…
Dress to feel good
If you’re scratching your head about how to start loving your body, make one simple change – wear what feels good. If it’s in any way uncomfortable, forget it. If it feels soft and warm, or well-fitted and supportive – whatever you want from it – that’s your outfit.
Try a little mindfulness
You will sometimes feel badly towards your body, but the trick is to be mindful, and mindfulness is all about being non-judgmental. Observe that thought, accept the fact it entered your head, then move on. Just because you think something, doesn’t always make it true.
Read a load of articles about how to burn calories? Go to a class where the instructor yells about toning up and burning fat? It’s time for a switch-up! Move your body in ways that feel good for you. Maybe after a stressful meeting, a high-impact boxing class or run helps you to de-stress, or perhaps what you really want is a calming yoga session or walk – tune in to your body and do what it asks.
Nourish yourself with food
Similarly, eat in an intuitive way. Ask yourself, what would I really enjoy the flavor of right now, what will make my body feel good and give it the energy it needs for what I have planned today? Nourish it with satisfying, fresh, tasty foods.
Cancel negative body talk
Once you tune in, you might be amazed at how often you make negative remarks about how you look. On the one hand you’re wondering how to love your body, on the other, you look in the mirror and say, “I have bags under my eyes”. Make a choice not to engage with those thoughts. Instead, turn your attention to what your body is doing for you that day.
Compliment for actions, not looks
It’s common to tell a friend or your kids ‘You look cute in that outfit!’ but move away from praising looks to praising achievements. Tell your child ‘You ran so fast!’ or your friend ‘You’re a great listener’. It’s about shifting away from valuing ourselves based on looks. If you’re looking for answers on how to accept my body, this is an essential step.
Society can condition us to be self-critical and think of our looks as more important than they really are. Think of what you love about your friends. Chances are the list doesn’t feature their hair, skin or size – it’s their humor, warmth and energy. It can take time to develop this mindset, but it’s a revelation when you do.