Today I am digging into Part 5 out of 6 of my Intuitive Eating Summer Series. If you haven’t listened to the last four parts, we have covered ditching diets and making peace with food, the satisfaction factor, the food police, navigating hunger and fullness cues and emotional eating. I encourage you to go listen to those first, and then come back here for today’s episode all about respecting your body.
Just a reminder, for those of you who don’t know what Intuitive Eating is, Intuitive Eating is a self care nutrition framework developed by dietitians Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, who has been my mentor in becoming an intuitive eating counselor, that is based on 10 principles, that has been verified by over 100 studies now to be effective in helping those that implement the principles become more in tune with their bodies, make peace with food, honor their hunger and fullness cues and nourish themselves without dieting. It’s not the hunger-and-fullness diet and it’s not a weight loss plan, but a framework to help you develop the skills to eat in a way that works for you.
To learn more about the 10 principles, check out Episode 004: The 10 Principles of IE.
Intuitive Eating Book:
Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that works by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch © 2012 St. Martin's Griffin; Third edition
In today’s episode we are digging into Principle 8: respect your body.
We live in a culture that is constantly body bashing, glorifying weight loss as the only means to health and often times, being in a more ideal body shape is seen being more worthy or valued in society. It is SO common for someone who has been stuck in the diet or obsessive wellness world for some time, especially someone who has struggled with their weight, to have negative feelings about their body. This is normal and to be expected in the culture in which we live. Just because you’re doing the work to eat intuitively doesn’t mean a flip is going to switch and you are suddenly going to LOVE your body.
There might still be areas you are uncomfortable with, and as you learn to tune into your body more and create more positive self talk, you WILL learn to appreciate all your body does for you. But learning to love your body as a whole is a process. It’s not going to happen overnight. But what you can begin to do the first step-- an essential part to the intuitive eating process, is RESPECTING your body.
Your body is your home. I believe it is God-created and it is the only one you are ever going to have. Your body has done SO much for you. It has carried you from place to place throughout your life, it has been with you through every up and down, for many of us, it has grown and birthed children, it rocks your babies to sleep, comforts loved ones with a warm embrace, holds hands with your significant other. Respecting your body simply means honoring your body and all it has done for you-- treating your body the kindness it deserves and meeting its’ basic needs.
Respecting your body simply means honoring your body and all it has done for you-- treating your body the kindness it deserves and meeting its’ basic needs.
So how do we even begin to do this? There are a few ways we can begin to practice respecting our bodies. The more we implement these practices, the more you will develop reverence for your body and all it has done for you, rather than constantly bashing or putting it down. I’ve said before that we can’t truly take care of a body we hate- truly taking care of our body begins with respecting it.
Body Respect Barrier #1: Comparison
How often do you notice yourself comparing yourself to others? Whether it’s your body, career, relationships, motherhood, achievements or any combination of the above, comparing ourselves to others creates unnecessary suffering. It takes the care away from ourselves and puts it on how someone else is showing up in the world. How much more could we care for ourselves if we stopped caring about how we compare to others?
I want you to take a second, right now, and consider: when has comparing yourself to others helped you become more present in experiencing YOUR life? How is comparing yourself to others taking away from experiencing life to the fullest?
In order to stop comparing, we need to start APPRECIATING the God-given qualities we have been gifted with. What is special about you? What do you bring to the world, outside of the critical thoughts you were placing on yourself or someone else?
Grab a pen and paper and write these down:
Are you intelligent? Funny? A hard worker? Compassionate? A good mother? A great cook? A loving wife? A great listener? A good friend? Are you musical, artistic, a good writer, speaker, athlete? Are you loving, generous, thoughtful? Consider the qualities that mean SO MUCH MORE than your weight, the size of your body, or the accomplishments you have made versus those someone else has. None of us are living the same lives, so there is no reason to compare them.
Remember, when it comes to bodies especially-- comparing yourself assumes the person you are comparing yourself to achieved their body in a healthy way. You have no idea if that person looks the way they do due to genetics, extreme dieting, a chronic health condition or an eating disorder. Comparing yourself to someone in a different body than your own is the surest way to feel bad about yourself.
Body Respect Barrier #2: Being Kind to your Body
We were born with a unique genetic blueprint- a set point, that determines our height, hair color, eye color, shoe size, muscle type, and yes- weight range and body type. You wouldn’t expect someone who wears a size 8 shoe to fit into a 6, why would you expect your body to fit into a size that isn’t natural for it? The only way to find your natural body size? It’s not by restricting or even exercising more-- it’s by tuning into YOUR body’s needs. Your body’s set point will begin to emerge the more you take care of your body, accept your genetic blueprint, whatever it may be, and tune into your body’s hunger, fullness and satisfaction cues.
So how do we treat our bodies with kindness? We can start by creating more positive self-talk. Many of us say things to ourselves we wouldn’t dare say to another human out loud. If you wouldn’t say that to another person, you shouldn’t say it to yourself. Practice noticing the negative thoughts that come up around your body, say when you’re in the shower or changing, acknowledging how they make you feel and beginning to reframe negative thoughts with positive ones.
“And” statements can be helpful when you’re having a particularly hard day- to remind yourself of the positive qualities you’ve identified. For instance, “I am uncomfortable in my body today and I am a good listener, a great friend and an intelligent woman.” The first statement almost seems silly when you realize how much value you bring the world outside of how your body looks.
Body Respect Barrier #3: Meet your Body's Needs (no matter what it looks like)
There are other ways we can encourage body respect, by meeting our body’s basic needs. This includes feeding our bodies when they are hungry, stopping when we are full, sleeping, taking care of our teeth, eating nutrient dense foods regularly, bathing regularly and participating in self care rituals that fill our cup- whether it be soaking in a bath, reading a book or getting a massage. It can also mean dressing in clothes that are comfortable and actually fit- throwing away clothes you’ve been trying to squeeze into that only make you feel worse about yourself. Taking care of our bodies and honoring them as they are reminds us that our bodies are important.
How do we do it, practically?
So today, I want you to work on three things:
1. Practice noticing when you are comparing yourself to others and reminding yourself that no benefit comes from comparison- and remember that list of positive qualities you marked down.
2. Work on accepting your genetic blueprint and showing gratitude for what you have and what your body has done for you. In the body you have, what have you experienced, done, accomplished?
3. Ask yourself: how can I show my body respect by taking better care of myself on a daily basis?
Friends, I am so enjoying sharing this series with you. I truly hope you are enjoying digging deeper into this series with me. Please shoot me an email if you have follow-up questions, firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be doing a Q+A episode at the end of the series answering your questions and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram + Facebook @healthymamakris with the progress you’re making. And... dun dun da dun... I am SO thrilled to FINALLY announce something I have had in the works for months, now. Introducing my 5-day Intuitive Mama mini course!
It's FREE and only available from August 26-30. After that, it will ONLY be available to Supermama Society members.
What you'll get:
✔️ 5-days worth of audios designed to help you learn to apply Intuitive Eating to your mama life
✔️ Topics include:
How to tune in when life feels crazy
How to honor your hunger when you feel like you don’t have time
How to deal with mom emotions without turning to food
How to make peace with ALL foods and still feed your family healthy foods
How to respect and nurture your body even when it’s changing
✔️ 1-2 coordinated worksheets to take action towards becoming an Intuitive Mama
✔️ Daily encouragement from myself and the Healthy Mama tribe through our closed Facebook group
What you'll gain:
✔️ Practical tools and tangible steps towards tuning into your body, honoring hunger and fullness, choosing satisfying foods and ditching diets without ditching health
✔️ Strategies to learn to cope with emotions without using food
✔️ The confidence to begin to make peace with all foods while still making choices that serve you and your family
✔️ Next steps for beginning the process of respecting your body exactly where you are and finding your beautiful balance
Ready? I know you are. Learn more and sign up for free. Remember I’m always here for one-on-one intuitive eating and nutrition coaching. I only have a couple coaching spots left this month-- so head to my website, healthymamakris.com to book a free 45-minute discovery session to decide if working together is the next step in your food freedom journey.