37 Ways to Love Your Body | Love List

It’s much easier to say that you should love your body than it is to actually do it. Especially when most of our body concerns are met with, “You just have to learn to love your body!”

The problem with this response is that it completely ignores how much our views of ourselves are shaped by others.

It’s easy to say that you shouldn’t care what other people say. It’s not so easy to actually not care. Or to forget things that may have happened in the past.

So I want you to know that everything on this list took work. And because I kept performing these tasks, I have improved my relationship with my body. As the relationship continues to improve, I continue to love my body more and more.

Keep reading for a Love List full of ways you can accept, appreciate, and love your body. And use dark brown to do it*!

37 Ways to Love Your Body

37 Ways to Love Your Body

Look in the mirror

Look in the Mirror.

When I was 20, I lost 25 pounds by working out and adjusting my eating habits with the help of a Fitness Magazine subscription. I still remember reading this one piece of advice because it’s been so life changing for me!

The advice was to stand in front of a full-length mirror every morning and point out ONE thing you love about your body.

At the time, I was actively losing weight and adjusting to the changes in my body. I remember that my thighs and skin were my “one” thing for the longest! Since 2005, I have performed my “morning mirror” ritual almost* every morning. Overtime, I gradually increased the number of things I’d point out until it just became me admiring my body each morning!

Despite all this admiration, there was always one area that continued to bother me: my stomach. After losing 40 pounds between 2012 and 2013, I still viewed it as being bigger than it probably was. As I started slowly gaining that weight back, I decided to work on accepting my belly.

I realized that part of the problem was in how I was looking at it even during my “morning mirror” ritual. I often isolated my belly from the rest of my body when looking at it. No, it wasn’t flat BUT it also wasn’t “big” in relation to everything around it. So I started looking at my stomach as a part of the whole picture!

Unless you’re new here, you know I gained all that weight back over the course of a few years.

THAT’S how I know for a fact that this ritual works!

If you’re over 30, you know that your body keeps changing as you get older. My over 30 changes have included bigger breasts and even bigger butt and hips. With my stomach, an interesting thing is happening. Yes, everything around my stomach is bigger so it looks smaller BUT it’s not that much smaller!!!

Like I said, I gained all my weight back. I have record of my body before that weight loss. Imagine my surprise when I realized my waist was around the same size as it was before. My waist hasn’t changed significantly but how I look at it has!

The ritual WORKS! Here’s my spin on it if you’re just getting started. Start by pointing out one thing what you love. Then, step back and look at your entire body as one unit. As one full body. Get used to looking at your body in its entirety. Remember, one thing doesn’t take away from your overall fineness and that, over time, one thing will become many things.

Take it from a Leo….no matter where you are, look in the mirror:

  1. Find a full length mirror
  2. Perform the “morning mirror” ritual
  3. Explore your angles
  4. Practice new poses
  5. Get silly with it
  6. Move your mirrors
  7. Adjust your lighting
  8. Admire your skin
  9. Love on your “flaws”
  10. Look back at it (don’t forget the back)
  11. Stop for every mirror you see
  12. Use your front facing camera
  13. Take lots of selfies

Find you own inspiration

Find Your Own Inspiration.

It’s no secret that we are often presented with a fairly narrow standard of beauty. It’s so narrow that even people who “fit in” don’t fully fit in. When you don’t see people like you presented as beautiful, it can become difficult to see yourself as beautiful. Representation matters.

With that said, I think having to find ourselves in other places has set some of us up to be more accepting of the idea that beauty comes in many forms! I think we’re better able to see the beauty in the people in our daily lives or in less mainstream media. People we actually look like (like family members and other skinfolk).

For me, one of those places was early to mid 2000s, rap music videos. Ki Toy Johnson, Buffy the Body and Melyssa Ford were all video vixens and models from that era AND my top 3 fitness inspiration ladies of all time!

Yes. It was an era. 😉

You can change you size but you can’t change your body shape or type*. I am an hourglass. I’m either going to be a small hourglass, a medium hourglass, or a large hourglass. So it makes sense that my fitness inspiration would consist of women who are also hourglasses.

I personally have no problem with cosmetic surgery*. There are plenty of other gorgeous women (and current vixens) who are hourglasses too but whose bodies aren’t really attainable without some help. And that’s okay!

But these three women were important to me because I have known a lot of regular women with similar bodies.And since I planned to achieve my results naturally, I needed to find women who had (at least mostly) done the same.

So let’s go back to 2003. I worked at McDonald’s in high school. The last half of my senior year, I worked 4-5 days a week. Being more active that usual, I lost 10 pounds! That was around the time I genuinely started trying to understand healthy ways to lose weight.

I decided that one way was to find women whose bodies were smaller versions of mine. I figured that if I could find out their fitness routines, I could find the right workouts for me.

That same year, Outkast released “The Love Below/Speakerboxx”. Ki Toy Johnson was the leading lady in the “The Way You Move” video. When I learned she was my height, I did a whole lot of extensive 2003-level research trying to learn more about her LOL!

I think I read every article she ever did trying to piece together a workout plan. When I learned that she weighed between 130 and 135, I FINALLY had a reasonable goal weight.

I never made it to 135 but my drive to learn my body and what works for it (fitness wise) was greatly influenced by her!

Fitness and body inspiration can be a great thing if you limit it to people whose bodies share similar traits as yours. These people can be bigger than you or smaller than you. They can even look just like you right now!

The point of finding your inspiration isn’t to find #bodygoals. It’s to SEE the beauty in your own body:

  1. Figure out your body type
  2. Recognize your body shape
  3. Appreciate the beauty in others
  4. Acknowledge your own beauty
  5. Start a pinterest board
  6. Add people who look like you
  7. Get clear on your health
  8. Determine your needs
  9. Decide what your goals are
  10. Do what works for you

Listen to your body.

Listen to Your Body.

I wrote about appreciating your body here AND I wrote about why I’m learning to sit down somewhere here. So when I say listen to your body, I am very guilty of doing the exact opposite.

Don’t be like me. Really stop and pay attention to your body and how it feels. What does it need?

It doesn’t matter if I’m stressed out, anxious or just really excited, my body reacts the same way: my back tenses up, my stomach hurt and I get nauseous, my brain feels all over the place, and sometimes I get really hot.

All of these things are my body’s way of telling me I need to do something to calm down ASAP! It means I need to stop whatever it is I’m doing and get myself grounded. One of my favorite ways to do that is by using aromatherapy.

Over the last few years, I’ve become obsessed with incenses and incense cones. They’re cheap, they come in TONS of scents, and they’re easy to store. Which means I can (and do) have a lot of them.

And since they burn out on their own, they’re much safer so there’s no additional stress!

How many times have you been super anxious or stressed out only to finally take a deep breath because you’ve been holding it in? Like you “forgot the breathe”. Well, one of the very first thing I learned to do when I was stressed out was to make sure I’m breathing.

My current favorites are lavender, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, palo santo, sage, and lemongrass. And I usually “mix them” burn two at time. Since every scent has a specific purpose in addition to helping me feel grounded. And as they burn, I instinctively remember to take deep breaths.

By the time they blow out, I’m usually much calmer than I was 30-45 minutes before. And the best part is that I am usually calm enough to figure out what else my body needs me to do! Listen to your body:

  1. Stop what you’re doing
  2. Do a body scan
  3. Eat a meal
  4. Drink some water
  5. Go for a walk
  6. Listen to something relaxing
  7. Meditate
  8. Drink some tea
  9. Burn an incense or two
  10. Breathe
  11. Grab something soft
  12. Find a grounding color (like dark brown)
  13. Ask for a hug
  14. Go to sleep

Loving your body isn’t just about loving how it looks. It’s about understanding that you and your body belong here. You and your body deserve to take up space. You and your body deserve to be seen. You and your body deserve to be treated with the same respect and kindness as everyone else.

So how can you love your body? Tell me in the comments below!

Give yourself the love you deserve with a Self Love Check-In! Every Sunday, you’ll get A Letter to U (from you) and downloadable color cards to use for your needs.

Notes

*As you perform a task from this list, think about how you can add dark brown to the activity. Check out some ideas here!

**There were a few periods where I didn’t live alone so I wasn’t always about to perform my “morning mirror” ritual regularly.

***The exception being that your body shape (or even type) might change due to medical conditions or the healing of one.

****If you’re going to get any type of cosmetic surgery, ALWAYS do your research and make sure you’re doing it for YOU!

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