Welcome back to the 12 Keys to a Healthy Weight. Last week we introduced some mindfulness practices to help you build healthier mealtime habits. Today we’ll look at the relationship between body image and self-care.
Key #5: Heal your body image with nurturing self-care practices
Body image is what you think of how your body looks, how it feels to use your body, and how your body functions. Many people with eating disorders and food addiction have body image issues that create a distorted and overly negative view of your own body.
Body image issues often lead people to use self-harming actions and thoughts, such as eating more food than is needed, restricting food, binge eating, purging, over-exercising, negative self-talk, or putting up with abusive relationships.
When you constantly criticize, devalue and condemn yourself, it reinforces these negative perceptions and makes it harder to take the self-loving actions that are part of recovery.
Yet by taking the self-care actions, even when you don’t feel like it and even if you don’t feel like you deserve to, you can boost your sense of self-worth and start to heal your body image issues.
Physical activity is a very important self-care tool that we’ll cover in depth next week. Today let’s look at some simple, quick steps that will send a message that you are ready to love and care for your body.
- Spend five minutes applying your favorite moisturizer or lotion over your whole body. As you rub it into your skin, celebrate this loving act and acknowledge what you have done today to take care of yourself.
- Put on a special outfit that fits you well, in a color that lifts your spirits.
- Relax with some healing breath work. Breathe deeply and slowly, focusing on each breath.
- Stretch out an area of your body that is feeling tight, tense or sore. Imagine that this part of you is flexible.
- Draw a picture of your inner beauty, and then do an improvisational dance of what you think that beauty looks like.
- Offer to run an errand or do a chore for someone who is ill, time-crunched or having a hard time. Doing things for others can do wonders for your own self-esteem.
You can also use these affirmations to replace the negative self-talk you may be hearing:
I am exactly the size I am meant to be at this moment.
I am expanding into new possibilities.
I am beautiful from the inside out.
Next week, we’ll continue with more self-care practices as we look at adjusting your physical activity and movement.