Our bodies are truly amazing. They receive and process millions of bits of sensory information every second, processing way more information than our brains can.
Think about it: your body performs thousands of functions automatically every single day! You don’t have to do anything. Your body knows what to do. It would take too long to list them all, but your heart beats, your body produces new cells constantly, digests and assimilates food, and so many more very technical things. For most of us, our bodies take us where we need to go.
But so many people ignore their bodies and the messages their body is trying to give them, and when they aren’t doing that, they’re being critical of how their body looks because it doesn’t conform to Hollywood’s standard of beauty. That’s an impossible standard!
Do you focus on what’s wrong with your body, rather than what’s right with it?
Do you focus on what your body can’t do, rather than what it can and does do?
Maybe you’re critical of how your body looks. Have you been critical of how your body looks throughout your life, even when you weren’t overweight?
Your body goes through many normal changes throughout your life. Think about all the ways it changes, some of which you choose and some of which you don’t. It grows, changes through adolescence, pregnancy, exercising, accidents, weight loss or gain, and even illness.
You only have control over some of this, like getting in shape or deciding whether to get pregnant or lose weight, but even then, your body has a predisposition to being a certain shape and size. Then there’s so much of how your body looks and changes that you don’t have control over. I’m short waisted and my arms are short compared to the rest of my body. That’s my body type. We each have unchangeable things about our bodies. What is the point of being disappointed about that?
Standards of female beauty are trend-driven. When Twiggy first came into the public eye, everyone thought she was so skinny. She was 5’6”–short for a model– and weighed 112 giving her a BMI of just over 18. The average weight of models today is 113 pounds, and they are taller than Twiggy. Kate Moss had a BMI of 16, and many models have BMIs of 16 or 17. While the average woman is larger nowadays, the average model–a supposed measure of beauty, is seriously underweight. Models and Hollywood stars should NOT be our body role models!
Our culture’s focus on women deriving their self-confidence from the way they look is so wrong. You are so much more than your appearance. It is one of the least important or interesting things about you, but our culture makes it seem like the most important thing about a woman.
What if you moved your focus away from criticizing your body, to gratitude and appreciation of your body for how it supports you and allows you to experience life on this planet? Without your body, you wouldn’t have this earthly experience.
Do you really want to be someone who relies on feeling a certain way about your body to feel good about yourself as a person? I urge you to connect with your body in a positive and loving way. Think less about it’s external appearance, connect with the intelligence of your body and listen to its wisdom.
Our bodies are super intelligent, and send us messages regarding our health and well-being constantly. We often place a higher priority on the messages from our brains: our thoughts and input from the external world, rather than what’s going on inside our bodies. We often don’t pay attention until our body shouts at us with illness and pain.
Maybe you’re used to ignoring your body’s signals based upon years of dieting. Diets specifically require you to ignore your body’s hunger signals.
Do you listen to your brain instead? Like when your brain tells you to keep eating because something tastes good, even though you’re full? And at the same time, your body tells you, “My stomach is distended with too much food. It doesn’t feel good.” Do you ignore that, listen to your brain, and keep eating? Which is smarter here: your body or your brain? Remember that some of the things you don’t like about your body are the result of you taking orders from your brain and not your body.
Have you ever stayed up too late when your body needed rest? How did that feel the next day or the day after? Or gone to work when you were sick, despite your body telling you through signals like headache and fever that it needed to be at home resting in bed?
Notice how your body talks to you. How does it tell you that you aren’t listening to it? By giving you a headache? A knot in your stomach? Pressure in your chest? A cocktail of emotions you’re having trouble sorting out? That’s your body trying to get your attention.
How often do you pay attention to these signs?
The way to take care of your body is to listen to it and treat it with respect. That can mean eating when it tells you it needs food–that’s what your physical hunger cues are for. Notice the difference between your brain telling you to eat and your body telling you. Listen to your body.
Your brain, on the other hand, tells you lots of things that aren’t true. Question the messages from your brain and figure out what you really need. If you aren’t hungry, it isn’t food.
Here is my challenge for you. Start listening to your body. Start having a greater respect for your physical body, regardless of what you have thought about its appearance. Appreciate all it does for you. When your brain starts telling you things about your body that are negative, let go of those thoughts.
Start really connecting to your body’s intelligence and wisdom. Start listening to its more subtle messages so you don’t have to hear it scream at you with pain and illness.
You can do this by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. Breathe normally, but feel your belly and chest expand, and really notice your breath as it moves in and out of your body. While you’re breathing, try tuning into what your body really needs.
How does it feel?
Is there something you’ve been ignoring that it’s been trying to tell you?
Try this regularly and see what you start noticing.
You’ll find that when you start giving your body the respect it deserves, and listening to it’s messages, heeding it’s warnings, everything else, including your healthy weight, will fall into place.