When I was struggling through the recovery process to overcome my eating disorder, the word “peace” was never found in the same sentence with the words “my body.”
Yet today, I am able to see and support my body in all ways with a feeling of peace and also with gratitude for all that my body does to support me.
You may be reading this – or may even be tempted to skip reading this – for precisely the same reasons I would have been tempted to skip it when I was in the midst of the recovery process.
“Make peace with my body?” you may be thinking, “Impossible.”
But it is not impossible. You have my word on that.
Now, is it easy? No.
Does it happen overnight? Nope.
Does everybody achieve it? Not by a long shot.
But we all have the potential to make peace with our body, to love our body as it is, for all that it is. In fact, making peace with our body is good practice for making peace with ourselves!
But it is up to us. We get to choose how we will go through this life – how we will feel about all things “us” – starting with the physical expression of our uniqueness that we call “my body.”
In this first of a three-part blog series, we will examine some basic concepts that can be helpful no matter what your current state of health or fitness may be. In following posts we will devote more time to examining special instances where making peace with your body is even more critical – for instance, if you suffer from a health condition like an eating disorder.
But first, I want to share some of my favorite basic self-assessment tools that can help you get started on the path to lasting body peace and acceptance.
In my own experience as both an eating disorder survivor and as a professional working in the field, I have found that it is critical to assess where you are as a measure of what is not working and a tool for defining what you want.
So if, in this moment, you and your body live either completely or somewhat at odds with each other, then take a moment to examine where you fall in relation to the statement, “I accept and love my body unconditionally.” What comes to mind first when you read that statement? Jot it down.
Now you know where you are. You just put a dot on your own map – “you are here.”
Next, you have to figure out where you want to go – not where you think it is reasonable to go, or where you think it is possible to go, but where you would like to go. What are your goals when it comes to body peace? Do you long for total body confidence? Total body acceptance? Total body love?
Take a moment and jot down any goals that come to mind. Now you know where you want to go. You have put another dot on your own map – “your destination is here.”
Next, it is time to take a look at what seems to be standing between you and your goal. In other words – if you do not at this present time totally accept and love your body peacefully and unconditionally, then what could help you to do that safely?
It is also of critical important to be realistic here. Otherwise it is easy to set yourself up for failure by reaching for a goal that is literally impossible to achieve, whether due to genetic body type and features, health needs and requirements, or some combination thereof.
When you are done applying these basic assessment tools, you will have a roadmap of sorts that lays out on paper where you are now, where you want to go, and some of our own ideas about how to get there.
The next step is to identify safe, healthy, and affirming tools to help you get there. While it is possible to do this work on your own, it is always advisable to take help and support from knowledgeable professionals as well as family and friends while you are on the journey. Making the transition from body-hate to body-peace can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging, and having a knowledgeable, skilled and compassionate support team in place assures the highest chance of success.
At Southlake Counseling, we have more than two decades of expertise in helping people just like you to meet their recovery, health, and wellness goals, including transitioning from a place of total body non-acceptance and hatred to a space where the body is loved and accepted as a valued friend and protector. If you are having difficulty setting and meeting your body-peace and acceptance goals, contact us. We have been there. We know how it feels. We can help. www.southlakecounseling.com