Words by Caitriona Potter
In January almost every marketing campaign and advertisement we see focuses on (and profits from) the idea that we need to ‘detox’ and ‘transform’ immediately. This year you can learn to accept and love your body instead, treating it with the care and respect it deserves. We are sharing 4 ways to accept your body this January.
- Regulate and relax.
It is hard to be consumed by weight loss fads this month if you are feeling grounded and safe in your body. It is common to experience poor body image in January, as we associate this time of year with plans to lose weight and change our bodies. This leads to high stress, and spending money on detox fads seems like the solution. Detach and disconnect from consuming media that promotes this, and instead tend to your own body. Dedicate some time to come back to your physical body and bring it to your awareness with compassion. Once we are in a calm physiological state, our minds can begin to settle down and explore new opportunities that were once clouded by self-judgement.
- Practise gratitude for your body and your health.
Recall all of the memories you have made this year, all of the emotions your body has allowed you to feel, your hardest days and your best days. The body you have right now has allowed you to experience another year, and is still here, bringing you into the next. Shift your thinking from how you look right now, to all of the experiences your body allows you to have. Even if you don’t have many happy memories from this year, you have the ability to experience a brand-new year and make new ones. None of this is dependent on how you physically look.
- Tune in to your hunger & fullness.
Research suggests that awareness of our internal cues leads to better body image. Instead of jumping on a crash diet, practise tuning in to your body. Before a meal, ask yourself what foods would feel best for you, eat mindfully, and try to notice when you are feeling satiated. This is the practice of intuitive eating, which helps you shift from a weight loss focus to a health focus, as well as improving self-esteem.
- Consider if body image and food are a recurring struggle for you.
If you are concerned, reflect on your thoughts and behaviours around food and your body this Christmas. Were you simply enjoying the company of loved ones, and participating in the shared enjoyment of food and drinks? Or were you so preoccupied with the food that you struggled to be present with your family? If you relate to the latter, consider reaching out to a professional who can help you in this area. You don’t have to spend another year fighting your body just because society profits from you doing so. You deserve to have a peaceful and accepting relationship with your body.