We wait to do all sorts of things until we finally love our bodies. Which often means that we wait to create fulfilling lives until we lose weight or fit into a certain size or become more muscular or….. Because that’s when we think we’ll finally deserve a wonderful life.
In other words, we assume that once we lose weight, our bodies will finally be worthy of appreciation. Then we can actually appreciate them and have a positive body image, and then we can build a positive, happy life—as though we’re somehow forbidden from building a beautiful life until reaching a specific number on the scale.
Eating disorder expert Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LCSW-C, recently posted this on Instagram: “I don’t need you to fall in love with your body. I want you to fall in love with your life.”
In the caption, she wrote: “Our bodies are meant to change as we age. Even if you love the appearance of your body-it’s going to change. Putting your self worth into something external that WILL change is a recipe for unhappiness. The true aim is to uncover your sense of identity outside of your body, to explore your passions, to strengthen your relationships.”
I absolutely love this.
Because our bodies are constantly shifting. We gain weight. We lose weight. Sometimes within a month. We have babies and get scars. Stretch marks, blemishes and wrinkles appear. Our waists and hips widen and shrink and widen again. One day our skin looks dewy. The next day it looks oily. We have surgeries, and our abilities are altered.
What if instead of focusing on making your body look a certain way so you could finally love it and finally enjoy your life, you started building a life you love right now (regardless of your weight, shape or size, and regardless of how you feel about those things)? What would that look like? What would your days look, feel, sound, smell and taste like?
Maybe you’d start exploring a hobby you’ve always wanted to explore. Writing. Photography. Knitting. Design. Gardening. Fishing. Piano playing. Maybe you’d start eating a food you’ve always loved but convinced yourself you couldn’t eat because it wasn’t on your meal plan. Maybe you’d start taking a cooking class and experimenting with different foods and flavors.
Maybe you’d declutter your home (including your closet, which has clothes in smaller sizes, which no longer fit) and turn it into a sanctuary. Maybe you’d start surrounding yourself with kinder people. Maybe you’d start making art. Maybe you’d stop poring over diet books, and instead immerse yourself in books on topics that truly fascinate and inspire you.
Maybe you’d start penning poetry. Maybe you’d start a blog. Maybe you’d rethink your career. Maybe you’d establish a soothing bedtime routine, and an energizing morning routine. Maybe you’d treat different self-care practices—such as a gentle yoga class—as though they’re important work meetings.
Once you shift the focus away from the exhausting, all-consuming activity of berating and trying to change your body (or trying to love it or even like it), you’ll be able to enjoy yourself more. You’ll open up more space in your mind, body, soul and life for meaning, fulfillment, and love.
As Rollin told me in our interview: “I believe that having a healthy relationship with your body is spending not a lot of time and energy thinking about your body—because you are so busy living your amazing life.”
What does an amazing life look like to you, day to day? How can you create it? How can you start right now?