When it comes to food and body image, there are days when you may feel like you’ve got it under control and you are floating on cloud nine, and other days when getting out of your head feels painstakingly difficult.
The thoughts running through your mind may often times be incessant. Constantly thinking about what you ate, how long you’ll fast for to make up for it, what this means for your ass, if you’ll feel okay enough for the party next weekend, the fact that you have to pull it together and make it to your meeting in an hour, the guilt, the shame, you know.
Ooph. Here is the deal. You – the you that is underneath the mania about your body and food – has so much going on in life. You have relationships, jobs, pets, hobbies, passions. However, the negative voice of obsess has pretty much one goal – to keep you feeling as small and inadequate as possible.
When you are deep in the thick of living the reality of that voice, getting out the other side can sometimes feel like attempting to climb out of a well. That well runs deep and the light coming through the top may feel far from reach.
As Buckminster Fuller said,
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the beginning model obsolete.”
There are ways to change this reality of body and food mania. But, they do not exist within the paradigm of more control. Instead, here are five tools to use in times when you are deep in the well, or if you simply want to continue practicing the new model.
1. First, get outside! I don’t care if it’s raining or blazing hot. Changing your perspective will help shift the reality. When we stay in the same groove we allow for the negative voice to stay in groove as well. Go outside and feel the elements on your skin. Feel the rain, the sun, the breeze. Notice the smells, the sounds, the flowers, the buildings. Engage your senses. Close your eye, take a deep breath in through your nose and on the exhale sigh out through your mouth and let – it – go.
2. Also, do something that makes you feel ridiculously good in your body. Cuddle. Dance. Rest in Child’s Pose for an hour. Pet your dog (or cat). Take a bath. Light a candle. Bask in the sun. Go on a walk. What allows for you to feel at home in your body? Do that. If you don’t know, do what first comes to mind. (This is not something that is related to countering or fixing what you may or may not have done in relation to food or your body earlier that or in days prior.) Trust your instinct. Your body is the core of where your intuition lives – where you can reach what you already know. Follow that. It will tell you what your body needs to feel at peace.
3. Next, take a moment and write down ten things you are grateful for about your body. Think of more than what you can see. What you can see works too, but even more so, think of the things your body does every second to allow for you to live and breathe. Start there. Feel the beauty in that.
4. Now, separate yourself from the voice that shares negative thoughts with you. The voice telling you that you aren’t enough is actually outside of you. You are not the negative voice. When you notice negative thoughts coming in, start to practice separating yourself from them. You can even begin to give the source of your negative thoughts an identity of its own. What does your negative voice look like? Creature-like? Human? An energetic color? Start to be aware of when those thoughts come through. When they do, visualize your negative voice’s identity and notice the negative voice being the source of those thoughts. You are not the voice. Now, shield yourself from the negative voice's identity by covering yourself in a light of some color. You know the light at the top of the well? Well, it's you. You are the light.
5. Lastly, allow for the notion to sink in that there is absolutely, positively no end-goal to your “success” when it comes to food and your body. Your experience with your body and food is unique to you. This is your voyage. So, put away the Instagram and “fitspiration” crap. You aren’t going to guilt your way out of this one. Instead, love your way out. Most people, after getting out of the “dark spot” catapult themselves into restriction and exercise. Stop. Stop. Stop. Instead, nurture, love, take care of yourself. This time calls for gentle activity and nourishment. Do not force the pendulum to swing drastically. Let end-goals go. Gently ease yourself back to center.
Your relationship with food and your body is an opportunity to truly learn how to love, honor and accept yourself. This is your challenge. It is up to you kindly fill your toolbox with such things that support you in stepping towards a place of self-acceptance and love.
When you gently guide yourself on this journey, you start to experience acceptance and love much sooner than if you tried to catapult yourself to some end-goal. Let the experience be, again, an opportunity to practice self-acceptance and love.
From there, you will blow your mind with just how incredibly capable, beautiful and powerful you are.
You are already. You just need to be gentle enough with yourself to let it shine through.
Roll with your opportunity. Love big. Tread gently.