How to Love Your Body

She earned her Master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Arizona State University. In her early career, she worked as a clinical dietitian in an intensive care unit.

In 2017, Abby co-founded EVOLVE Flagstaff, an integrative practice that offers weight-inclusive services including physical therapy, injury prevention, nutrition counseling, training, and meal preparation. Her nutrition practice mainly focuses on working with athletes and individuals with eating disorders. She helps her clients to re-establish their relationship with food and movement and unlearn behaviors that negatively impact their relationship with their bodies and food.

Apart from her work with clients, Abby is an aerialist and dancer, and director of a non-profit performing arts company, Dark Sky Aerial. She enjoys cooking, coaching strength and conditioning, and teaching yoga. Depending on the season you will find her outdoors biking, skiing, or reading in the sun with her dogs.

How to Love Your Body

Are you insecure about your body? Want to learn how to love your body? In a recent survey, 51% of Americans said they feel pressured to have a certain body type. In fact, women more than men, feel pressured to have a particular body type.

Self hate and body shaming is a global epidemic. In our modern society, body shaming takes different forms – from the comments and remarks by people speaking directly to us or the messages we see on our social media timelines or inbox. While this is disheartening, especially with the ongoing videos and images of other people on social media, TV, magazines, and even movies, there are ways to help you learn how to love your body.

In this post, we look closer at body positivity, why it can be a helpful first step to counteracting body shame, and how to practice gratitude for your body.

Classic old hollywood actress being pointed at by fingers, expressing how body shame can feel

What is Body Positivity?

Body positivity is a way of thinking aimed at promoting appreciation and acceptance for all types of bodies, regardless of size, shape, or appearance. It advocates the rejection of society’s artificial beauty standards and rather advocates embracing your own unique bodies as they are.

At its foundation, body positivity seeks to challenge the negative concept that only certain body forms are considered desirable. It promotes self-love and self-esteem by encouraging people to love and respect themselves. It also emphasizes that despite society’s expectations or judgments, everybody is beautiful and deserving of respect.

Body positivity attempts to develop self-love and acceptance in a world that frequently emphasizes a restricted and idealized body image. It teaches people to recognize and embrace their own bodies’ unique traits and abilities, fostering a more inclusive and diverse concept of beauty. It also opposes the idea that some bodies are more attractive or acceptable than others.

In essence, body positivity encourages a shift in mindset, urging individuals to embrace their bodies as they are. In addition, they should treat themselves with kindness and respect, and celebrate the diversity of human bodies without judgment or discrimination. It is a movement that strives for inclusivity, acceptance, and the celebration of all bodies, promoting a healthier and more compassionate society.

Why Does Body Positivity Matter?

Body positivity matters because it fosters a more inclusive and tolerant environment by challenging negative societal standards. We are continuously assaulted with messages that determine how our bodies should look in today’s society. This produces unattainable beauty standards that often lead to low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, and even mental health difficulties.

We may change the emphasis from exterior looks to inner attributes and total well-being by adopting body positivity. This is because it breaks the loop of self-criticism and self-judgment, fostering self-acceptance and self-love. When people feel good about their bodies, they are more likely to engage in healthy habits, both physically and psychologically.

Moreover, body positivity fights against discrimination and marginalization based on physical appearance. It challenges the harmful notion that certain bodies are superior or more valuable than others.

Body positivity encourages inclusivity, diversity, and equality by praising all body forms. It also recommends society to see and appreciate the beauty in all people. This is regardless of size, shape, or appearance.

Younger generations are likewise influenced by body positivity. Moreover, body positivity can have broader societal impacts. By challenging beauty standards, it encourages industries to be more diverse and representative in their marketing and media.

Body positivity has the ability to bring good change for individuals and communities by building a more compassionate and welcoming culture. It’s also essential for promoting self-esteem, acceptance, and mental health. This is because it enables people to break free from detrimental aesthetic norms, recognizes their individuality, and live authentically.

How to Love Your Body – Gratitude is a Great Start

Practicing gratitude for your body involves developing a positive and appreciative mindset toward your physical self. Here are some ways you can cultivate gratitude for your body.

Engage in Mindful Movement

Find activities that bring you joy and allow you to connect with your body, such as dancing, yoga, or going for walks in nature. Focus on the pleasure and sensations of movement rather than solely on achieving specific outcomes.

You can also use the Way app to engage in mindful movement. The Way app incorporates mindfulness and meditation practices specifically tailored to body acceptance. You can learn to cultivate self-compassion for your body, listen to your body’s needs, and gain a better knowledge of your physical and mental well-being through guided meditations and mindfulness activities.

Positive Self-Talk

Be mindful of your inner dialogue. Instead of focusing on perceived flaws or criticizing yourself, consciously choose to speak kindly to your body. Replace negative thoughts with affirmations and compliments. Treat yourself with the same compassion and encouragement you would offer to a friend.

Surround Yourself With Positivity

Surround yourself with people and communities that promote body positivity and self-acceptance. Seek out diverse representations of beauty in media and social media to broaden your perspective and challenge narrow beauty ideals.

Follow social media accounts, read books, or engage with communities that promote body acceptance and diversity. Surrounding yourself with positive messages can reinforce your own journey towards body gratitude.

Express Appreciation

Take a moment each day to express gratitude for your body. You can do this through journaling, speaking affirmations out loud, or simply mentally acknowledging the things you appreciate about your physical self. This can allow you to map your emotions and understand what you’re feeling emotionally, even if it’s not gratitude.

Focus on What Your Body Can Do

Rather than fixating on appearance, shift your attention to the capabilities and achievements of your body. Celebrate its strength, flexibility, resilience, and the experiences it enables you to have. Engage in physical activities that make you feel good and appreciate the way your body moves and performs.

The Way app helps you to keep track of your progress towards loving your body. You can set goals, monitor your achievements, and celebrate milestones along the way. This feature provides a tangible way to observe and acknowledge your growth, boosting your motivation and reinforcing positive habits.

Practice Positive Affirmations

Regularly affirm your appreciation for your body. Look in the mirror and say kind and affirming words to yourself. Remind yourself of the things you love about your body and express gratitude for its uniqueness and individuality. Affirmations can help rewire negative thought patterns and foster a more positive body image.

The Way app sessions are all grounded in mindfulness and guiding you to this sort of self-talk. Through thought-provoking questions and information curated by Intuitive Eating experts, you’ll learn what makes you feel good about your body. This avenue will lead to a change in mindset and uncover the thoughts and feelings you have for your body.

Final Thoughts

Remember, gratitude for your body is a journey and it takes time to change deeply ingrained beliefs. Be patient and kind to yourself as you cultivate a mindset of gratitude, appreciating the incredible vessel that allows you to experience life’s joys and challenges.

It takes time and effort to shift ingrained negative thought patterns. But by consistently choosing gratitude and kindness towards your body, you can cultivate a healthier and more positive relationship with yourself, leading to increased self-acceptance, confidence, and overall well-being.