Before I share my tips for making peace with your body, I want to tell you a personal story.
For a few years in my late teens and early 20′s, I wanted to be physically perfect. My ideal “perfect” was a completely flat belly, jiggle-free buns and toothpick skinny arms. I would weigh myself every single day. As for my diet, I would control my food intake like a prison guard.
I would eat phood-like substances such as chemical-rich fat-free nutrient-dead salad dressing because I thought I could save some calories. I would pour artificial sweeteners into my tea, even though it gave me wicked headaches and then for dinner I would eat Lean Cuisines full of over-processed almost plastic-looking veggies. I was completely nutrient-deficient and my imbalanced hormones were the end result of my deprivation and unkindness to my body.
Yes, I had a problem.
I was completely miserable. I was absolutely obsessed with what my body looked like, I had no energy, I constantly had digestive issues, my hair was thinning, my skin was dry, I didn’t get my period for months at a time. However, with a little personal work, consulting a nutritionist and a naturopathic doctor, the clouds lifted and I came out of it. It wasn’t overnight, it took time, commitment, facing my fears and… most importantly, I addressed my health from a holistic perspective. I made peace with my body first and foremost. And you can too. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Avoid reading celebrity gossip magazines and websites. Seriously, this is TRASH for your mind. Striving to look like something that isn’t real is only going to bring your self-worth down. You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are!
2. When you eat, think about how it’s nourishing every single cell of your wonderful body. Think about how every morsel is going to literally turn into you. Think about how that good fat from that avocado you eat is going to feed your skin a gorgeous glow, how that protein from the quinoa or fish you eat is going to feed those happy brain chemicals and grow strong healthy hair and how the complex carbs from the brown rice, sweet potato is literally your brain food that’s going to help you think and propel you forward in each step you take.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others. The second you find yourself doing this, STOP. This is not going to serve any purpose other than make you feel miserable. There is always going to be someone with nicer hair, clearer skin, a smaller booty (and there’s nothing wrong with having a nice round booty – fyi). So love yourself for all your imperfections because they make you, you! In fact, your imperfections are what make you an original and that is beautiful.
4. Avoid “nutritionalizing” your food! Don’t memorize the nutrition panel, in fact, avoid foods that even have a label ie. packaged goods. Real food doesn’t need a label or a package or a health claim. Real food doesn’t have a list of ingredients or any item that you cannot pronounce or recognize. Eat food that is as close to it’s natural state as possible. Ask yourself: “How long did it take for this food to get from mama earth to my dinner plate”. When you eat more simple, wholesome, real foods, you will eat more nourishing foods and truly feed your cells. And guess what that results in? A happier you!
5. Surround yourself with loving people – those you admire and who admire you in return. I must sound like a broken record the number of times I write this or talk about it with my clients. But the importance of it, simply cannot be underestimated. Baby steps is how you do this. Are you in a dead-end relationship, do you hang out with an abusive, unkind friend? Evaluate ALL your relationships and really ask yourself if they are bringing you good health or they are like a parasite. This was absolutely one of the most important aspects of my healing journey. Lucky for me, I have a loving family, but if you don’t, then you absolutely need to make it priority to make sure your friends are.
6. Find a creative outlet for your emotions, particularly if you are always complaining to others. Even though I talk about the importance of relationships in my previous point, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are happy at the end of the day. If you feel bitchy and irritable, instead of taking it out on someone – write, paint, go for a walk. This is empowering when you realize that you have the power to turn your entire day around if it starts out rough.
7. Lastly, manifest what you want to happen/be/do/achieve. Every night before you go to bed, write down one thing you want to achieve the next day. Put it under your pillow and read it first thing in the morning. It can be something as simple as, make a delicious smoothie for breakfast.
13 years later, I might once in a while notice my booty jiggles a bit, but guess what, my body is strong, my digestion is fabulous and I feel joyous. You CAN have this too.
I love food, enjoy cooking and being directly involved in creating my meals. I LOVE food (yes, I just said that twice). I never ever in a million years thought I would love food. It was my enemy for SO long. I share this story with you in hopes that it gives you a little ray of sunshine to know that you are not alone if you struggle with this and you can make peace with your body, if you try, just a little each day.
ps. Want to make peace with your own body? Yoga and nutrition is the way. Check out the course I teach with the beautiful and inspiring Michelle Uy, below, Eat Well Feel Well.
2 upcoming workshops that Joyous Health is teaching will be sold out very soon. If you want to register, don’t delay!
- 6wk nutrition + yoga (for all levels, beginners welcome) starts September 13th. Register here: Eat Well Feel Well.
- 2 hour workshop. Learn how to incorporate everyday superfoods into your diet to feel fabulous! Register here: Superfoods to the Rescue!
- 2012 Mexico wellness retreat. Register by November 15th and save! Do yoga, learn about holistic nutrition, get joyous!
Joy McCarthy, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach of Joyous Health, loves to inspire others to eat well, live well and be happy.