Your relationship with your body affects you every day. So many people have a less than ideal relationship with what they see in the mirror. Add to that a postpartum body without the baby and it can be tough to wade through the crap you are telling yourself.
In today’s episode I’m going to share some of my best tips to get you back on good terms with your body, no matter how long you’ve been upset with it.
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Your relationship with your body affects you every day. So many people have a less than ideal relationship with what they see in the mirror. Add that to a postpartum body without the baby, and it can be tough to wade through the pile of crap that you are telling yourself.
In today’s episode, I’m gonna share some of my best tips to get you back on good terms with your body, no matter how long you’ve been upset with it. By the end of the episode, you’ll have some really doable takeaways to start healing this most important relationship. You are the one person you are never going to be without, so you might as well enjoy your time together, right?
This is a subject I feel like we’ll need more than one episode to cover. So today we’re just gonna start at the beginning, but the beginning is always so powerful and I come at this from a bit of a different angle than you might have heard before. So listen on my friend. Now, the first step is to recognize the conditioning that we are steeped in.
What did your family, your society, everything around you teach you about the worth of your body? Some of my favorite people who speak so powerfully on this subject are Lexi and Lindsay Kite, who are identical twins, who bolted their PhDs on body image and have amazing social media counts called Beauty Redefined.
They also have a website and a book called More Than A Body and a TED Talk that is so incredible. I’m gonna link that below so you can easily find them in the show notes. Some of what I share today is definitely influenced by them, and I highly recommend that you check them out. So Lindsay tells a story of how at a very young age, she was already dieting, like I feel like it was nine or 10 years old.
She was already dieting, and then as she became a teenager, she was swimming competitively and doing great, but she ended up quitting, not because she couldn’t do it or because she couldn’t race well, but because of how she felt about herself in a swimsuit. So they call this self-objectification. It’s something so many people who are socialized as women do.
It’s like you are outside of your body looking in at yourself and focusing on how other people might see you. This means there’s a lot of tugging and pulling and sucking in and positioning and like fluffing your hair. All the time, and until you are shown this or taught this, you probably don’t even notice you’re doing it.
But once you see it, you can’t unsee it. There was a study done where they had girls take a test in regular clothes and then in bikinis, and of course the scores on the tests in bikinis were lower, not because of any intellectual difference or anything else, but just because of how much brain juice these girls were taking, worrying about how they looked.
They could not focus on what they were doing. This is a problem if we have so many people who are worried so much about what they look like. Now, even myself, I generally call myself a low maintenance person. I was kind of a tomboy growing up. I don’t worry that much about a lot of things, but a few months ago I got an opportunity to go on TV and talk about baby loss and Mother’s Day, and it was such.
A great chance to help the viewers, and it was a big accomplishment for me to be brave enough to apply and to go into a segment, and I wanted to have a really great message prepared, but of course, how much time do you think I spent looking for something to wear and finding a dress and having my friend curl my hair because I’m not really good at it?
And. I even wore shapewear, so my dress looks smooth, which I have never done before, and I kind of thought I might pass out. We had a long drive to get to the studio and sitting in the car with like my whole stomach compressed, it was not the most comfortable. And it was so interesting because I could watch myself doing this.
So me who feels. Pretty confident in my skin. Still spent a lot of time worrying about my appearance, and I’m okay with it. I love me anyway. But can you see how women, especially are expected to be pretty and skinny to give a message, right? Like if you’re gonna go on camera, you better look a certain way.
And that wasn’t coming from them. They didn’t tell me I had to do that. That was me, right? Now everything around us from before we were born is actually about how pretty we are to make generalization. Men do and women look good. We are socialized as bodies first and body parts. We are ornaments for others to enjoy, not bodies for us to use and to move through the world how we want to.
That’s why so many outfits for little girls are impractical. Like there aren’t pockets, they’re uncomfortable, they’re scratchy. There’s all these things that. Young children do not like, but that’s what they are offered to wear and that’s why many women will put their own health and happiness at risk to try all the latest diets, pills, and supplements to be skinny and look young all while hating their bodies.
That’s why there is so much focus on clothes accessories, and don’t get me started on the beauty industry. All of it is set up to tell us what is wrong so they can fix it. And you can pay them for that opportunity. Most of the images we see are fake, photoshopped and curated. I actually thought it was interesting watching some interviews about the new Top Gun movie that just came out and how hard the men had to diet and pump up and do so much just to make their muscles look perfect for the beach volleyball shirtless scene.
And they were so ready to be done. It was obviously, Unsustainable in real life. But many females try to sustain that level of looking amazing all the time, right? We gotta have big boobs, tight abs. No matter what we’ve been through or how many children we’ve had, or what our health is, we need a hairless body, perfect skin.
And this goes for, I mean, all kinds of people, right? White people don’t wanna be too white. And then black people also deal with colorism and preference for lightness of skin. Every culture has different beauty standards, but at least in the Western world, it all ends up being some version of a Barbie doll.
Is it a problem to wanna look nice? No, of course not. Express if you love to express yourself with makeup, is that a problem? No. But if you feel like you can’t leave the house without it because you aren’t worthy to grace the grocery store. There might be something going on. We always wanna use this information for us, not against us.
So if you can see ways you’ve believed these stories about how you should look, or if you’ve spent a lot of energy self objectifying, give yourself some love. In so many ways, it’s almost impossible to avoid it. I mean, companies are paying millions and millions of dollars for you to hate yourself. So step two in our process is to acknowledge these messages.
Notice how they’ve influenced thought patterns in your brain. Have compassion for the part of you that believes these messages. You may believe them about yourself, and you may believe them about other people. Whoever you are judging, acknowledge that you have been swimming in a bowl created to feed you these messages.
There may be people in your life very close to you who actively comment on your appearance, give them compassion too, and do this for you. You don’t have to change them. Work on yourself first, and then you can naturally share your journey without expectations. When we think about neural pathways in the brain, a good analogy is, Just like any path in the ground, it starts out flat and open, but after you walk on it long enough, it wears down a groove, and then it becomes a big rut.
When you try to get outta the rut, it’s easy to fall back in. This reminds me of that viral video of the sheep that gets out of a rut and then promptly jumps right back in. It’s so funny, I don’t laugh out loud for much, but that one was hilarious the first time I saw it. I’ll link it in the show notes so you can see it too.
But back to human brains. When you start wanting to change your relationship with your body, it’s normal for it to want to go right back to the well worn path. It takes a lot of effort at first to not go that way, but it is possible to change, and that is my last step for today. Decide to start thinking in a new way.
Take small steps by believing neutral things about your body. A lot of people think that to feel better about how you look, you need to be more positive. For example, changing. I’m so fat to, I love my curves, but as many of you probably know, this doesn’t really work because the focus is still on our bodies and how they look.
The real key is to stop thinking about how your body looks entirely and just start loving it. A good first step is to make small shifts, such as, I hate my stomach. It changes too. I have a stomach. My body has failed me to. I have a body. My uterus is a tomb. Changes to my uterus exists. A lot of times we try to jump to believing things that we aren’t ready to believe.
Then when you find yourself in old patterns of thinking, the self-loathing ball just gets rolling even faster. You haven’t failed. If you go back to thoughts you’ve practiced a long time, it’s just part of the process. But try out these neutral thoughts as a ladder and a stair step to getting you to loving your body and having a better relationship.
Cuz the goal isn’t only to think happy thoughts about your body, the goal is to love yourself. Every part of you, just the way it is. A lot of what Beauty Redefined talks about is loving your body for what it can do instead of what it looks like. And I know this is so helpful to look at the miracle that you are to look at each system and each part and how they all work together to keep you alive.
You can thank your body for doing its best and use it to do amazing things in the world, and especially when you stop worrying so much about what you look like, that frees up so much mental space for you to just. Get out there and change your life. I highly recommend doing this. But what about the parts of you that didn’t keep your baby alive?
The parts of you that have crummy genetics or one lazy fallopian tube that’s left after surgery for an ectopic pregnancy that just won’t do what it’s supposed to. What about the cervix that opened too soon for your baby to survive? How do you love those parts for what they do? I want you to answer this question for yourself.
See, I don’t know the answer for you, but I do know that if you try and if you set this goal, you will find some thoughts that bring you peace. It’s exhausting, hating these body parts. They are part of you and a part of your baby’s story. Another option is to, again, do what we talked about before. Just don’t think about it in my losses.
There were some blood pressure and placenta and bleeding issues, um, over different pregnancies, and I honestly never blamed my body for this. I actually only thought about it as I was writing this podcast. I really didn’t. Um, I wondered what happened. I never really got any answers. I know that having a lot of babies like I have is inherently risky and it’s hard on a body.
So instead of hating it, I just love it and I don’t spend any time thinking bad things about it. So if you have a list of accusations towards certain body parts, I encourage you to write them all down. Sit with them, then forgive yourself for saying them so many times, and then rip that list of shreds or burn it.
You do not have to think that way anymore. Truly. Your relationship with your body is simply your thoughts about your body. Maybe it’s time to stop spending so much energy thinking about your body and just get out there and live your life. Get in the pool. Get in the pictures, buy pants that fit. Oh, if you’ve been listening to me for long, you know this one.
Buy those maternity clothes. If you’re pregnant after loss and scared, or you don’t wanna spend the money, I don’t care. Just be comfortable. You don’t fit into pants. Pants fit you seriously. People, you will feel so much better. You are living in your body. It is you. These bodies are a gift. They are supposed to shift and change.
No one is supposed to be the same as they were at 16 years old forever. Humans are overall lumpy and bumpy and soft and it’s okay. And I can tell you, I had a friend recently that accidentally ended up on a nude beach and they would tell you that bodies are just funny. Like they are not. That attractive for, you know, a lot of us, it’s just, they’re funny and it’s interesting to just.
Love them in all of their shapes and forms. I love helping my clients find peace with their bodies. It’s an integral part of my three month program that takes you from feeling totally lost to having full confidence in who you are and who you wanna be in this world. Come to a connection call and let’s talk about getting you feeling better.
I’ll see you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby was somehow your fault? Go tostones coaching.com and get my free mini course. How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.