For some reason our society thinks that accepting, appreciating and loving your body somehow means that you’re going to give up. You’ll become a “complacent” couch potato, who never takes good care of yourself.
Once you accept how you look right now, you’ll somehow abandon your health and “let yourself go.” (Wow, do I hate that phrase.)
But that’s the same as saying that when you’re seething with self-loathing, you’ll suddenly do everything you can to lead a satisfying life. Filled with self-hatred you’ll somehow want to feel fantastic and turn to fulfilling, healthy habits to do just that.
But, of course, you won’t. Because you’ll think that you’re not good enough. That you’re incredibly unworthy. And the last thing you’ll want to do is honor and respect your body or your health.
I’ve never understood the rationale that loving your body and appreciating yourself will lead you to shirk your well-being.
Feeling good in your skin makes you want to take good care of yourself. Part of a positive body image is making your health — mental, physical, spiritual, emotional — a priority.
In her book The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time, Cheryl Richardson offers several suggestions for taking care of your health and well-being.
1. See the doctor. Have you had a complete physical this year? When was the last time you had your eyes checked? Or visited the dentist for a checkup or cleaning? Do you have any other concerns? For instance, if you’re having trouble with your back, make an appointment to see a physical therapist.
2. Listen to your body. One of the best ways to care for your health is, of course, to tune into your body. These are some of the questions Richardson suggests asking yourself:
- Am I hungry? If so, what do I need to feel truly nourished?
- Am I tired? Do I need to sleep more?
- What part of my body feels tired, tense or stressed out?
3. Choose a partner — not a parent — in health. As Richardson says in her book, it’s important to find health care providers who treat you like “an equal, mature partner involved in his or her health.” Pick providers you trust and who treat you with respect. Your health care team shouldn’t be made up of authorities who talk at you, but rather professionals who answer your questions and concerns. When picking a doctor, Richardson suggests asking your most discerning friends along with nurses for recommendations and the inside scoop. After your first appointment, consider if you felt comfortable and respected.
4. Become knowledgable about your health. For instance, if you’re having a mammogram or ultrasound, find out what these tests entail and when the results will be ready. Ask to have a copy of the results. Become empowered about your health.
How do you prioritize your health? How will you prioritize your health today? This week?