Do you love your body? We have been conditioned over our lifetimes, especially women, but men too, to be dissatisfied with our bodies. We know this. Billions of dollars are spent every year to market this idea to us. So no wonder as adults we tend to focus on the “bad” stuff, the things we wish looked different, about our bodies. We literally have to re-train our brains. It’s not easy to un-do a lifetime of negative body image. Why is it important to love our bodies? Because we tend to take good care of the things that we love.
So, in re-training our brains, it would be easy to tell you to simply stand in front of the mirror and repeat, “I love my body, I love my body” — but if you don’t really feel it, it won’t stick. To get to a more positive place regarding your body, try doing a “Thought Ladder”. This is a step-by-step process that really works.
A thought ladder means taking your current negative thought and first replacing it with a neutral thought. Focus on that neutral thought and practice it for days or even weeks. Then move one rung up to a slightly positive thought and practice that until it becomes real to you. Then move up another rung to a slightly more positive thought, focus on that until you are comfortable with it. Create several rungs, write them down at the very beginning, the thoughts that you want to have, until you reach a place of love. (Idea: put whatever thought you are working on on sticky notes.)
Once we love our bodies, we will take better care of them and our decisions will come from a place of love. Even when we fall off our healthy habits for a day or so, we will be able to resume much easier out of our positive regard for our bodies. Here is one example of a thought ladder. Start wherever you are on the ladder, possibly at or towards the bottom, and work your way up.
I love my body and all the fun I can have because my body is getting healthier.
Maybe I can love my body, just as it is.
My body can move. My body walks, plays golf, plays with grandchildren.
I am considering that my human body is lovable, just as it is. (slightly more positive)
Human bodies come in all different shapes. (still pretty neutral)
I have a body. This is my body. (neutral thought)
I can’t lose weight and I feel fat. (possibly your current thought)
This process takes time because it means re-training our brains from years of negative conditioning. The truth is, we can’t hate ourselves thin. And we really do consistently take care of what we love. In the meantime, keep doing the great things you are doing. MOVE every day, EAT mostly healthy foods and LIVE your best life with confidence and joy. And most importantly, love.