Hi beautiful!

In this week’s video I share an exercise for body image that has helped me through the years to learn to accept my body and continues to do so!

My son is turning 2 in the coming weeks and this has made me start thinking back to the weeks after his birth. Up until the day before he was born I was at the gym very regularly. It was the place I could go to and be in minimal clothing in the winter. I loved moving – doing cardio, weight lifting and (a little) yoga, I felt physically great. I didn’t experience any body issues throughout my pregnancy except for fleeting moments but I could always come back to acceptance.

After the birth of my son things changed ( a lot ha ha) and I started to feel more down about my body in general.

You can watch the video below or scroll down for the exercise.

Some of the triggers in retrospect were:

Lack of Movement

Right after the birth of my son, I was advised to not move around very much in order to heal – this was only for a week or so but it was hard on me. While this might be right for most women in retrospect I would have been able to move around a lot sooner because I was physically quite active before his birth.

Stress

The first few days and weeks after my son’s birth were quite stressful. Learning to care for a small human is no minor task no matter how much you prepare for it. I prepared a lot (a lot!) but taking care of a child is by far the hardest thing I have done and I am pretty good at being resilient.

In particular one of the major learning curves was learning how to breastfeed. We had a few hiccups along the way (engorgement leading to poor latching, learning to latch, pumping, milk flow, my son’s minor tongue tie, etc.) which made this beautiful thing more difficult. (I am still breastfeeding so there is hope!)

Sleep Deprivation

I was sleep deprived, no wait I was a walking zombie with dry eyes and everything. Not having enough sleep can really affect your mood and self image. I was up all night breastfeeding for hours on end, pumping (due to the engorgement) and not sleeping very much at all.

Anyways, the combination of being exhausted, stressed and unable to move around as I was used to took a toll on my perception of my body. I felt stagnant, lethargic and not like myself at all. So for a few weeks I experienced moments of feeling really crappy and down about myself. If I wasn’t such a health nerd I might have become more hopeless. Luckily, I have many many tools to get me out of funks!

While I used a few tools (I have a large tool belt) this one stands out the most. It is an exercise called the “Accurate Self Assessment”. This exercise in from the book “Self Esteem” and covers many other aspects of self but I am going to focus on Physical Appearance as it was the most prevalent issue at the time.

While this is a great exercise I want to say that if you have deeper issues with body image you may need to do deeper healing on this belief system and release the trauma associated with it. This trauma usually stems from childhood. A therapist or even  a Holistic Nutritionist (hi!) with a deeper understanding of triggers can support you through this.


Accurate Self Assessment Exercise (taken from the book “Self Esteem”)

Step 1

Write down a description of your whole body from the top f your head to the bottom of your toes.

Example

  • large dark brown eyes
  • long black hair
  • fat belly
  • ugly feet

Step 2

Look back at the list once complete and put a (+) or (-) next to each description based on accuracy. In the list above large dark eyes is accurate and clear while ugly feet is not. Ugly is a subjective word and does not accurately describe your feet. Next to the accurate descriptions put a (+) and next to the subjective (and usually pejorative) descriptions put a (-)

Example

  • large dark brown eyes (+)
  • long black hair (+)
  • fat belly (-)
  • ugly feet (-)

Step 3

Rewrite the (-) descriptions in a more clear and concrete way.

Example

  • large dark brown eyes
  • long black hair
  • fat belly becomes 35 inch waist
  • ugly feet becomes wide feet (usually this is the trait that made you think your feel were ugly)

Step 4

Once the descriptions are accurate start to look for strengths or exceptions in the areas you dislike.

Example

  • large dark brown eyes
  • long black hair
  • 35 inch waist ….I had 3 children, my waist grew and carried them for 9 months and supported their development
  • wide feet ….my feet are the foundation to my body. Having a wider stance allows me to carry more weight and my feet take me from point A to point B.

Step 5

Write out your accurate self assessment in a paragraph or in a letter and read to your self every night for about a month or until it becomes your view of yourself and see how you feel!


I really believe this is an exercise in acceptance and appreciation for our body (or body parts) and once we are able to cultivate this we are able to change our bodies from a healthy loving space rather than from a place of criticism. Acceptance doesn’t mean we don’t change or we have to like something – it simply means we accept where we are (sigh of relief). It’s funny how once you love something it then feels safe enough to change. So start learning to love yourself!

If you think this article could be useful to someone with a poor body image please SHARE and if you have any questions please leave a COMMENT or email me at michelle@lallnutrition.com

To accepting your body!

~Michelle
Holistic Nutritionist.