Hello everyone! I am excited to continue the conversation around body image today. Our main goal in improving our body image is to move into a place of body care, and away from body control. So what does this mean? Why is it important? What does this look like?
I think of body care as how we care for our body every day – from brushing our teeth, to movement, to sleep. It is nurturing ourselves back to health, back to a place of feeling good so that we can have energy to create a memorable life that we can be thankful for. A life that we don’t feel like we have to control each day.
Dieting, trying to control your body, trying to keep your body at a certain weight – these all take up so much energy that could be spent creating joy filled memories and moving toward your best self. In today’s podcast, I go into my story of how my counselor helped me realize that I did not want to continue spending my days in obsession over my body image.
Focusing on body care and not on body control allows me to give my energy to things that are good and precious in my life. My energy gets to be in alignment with my values, which allows me to live an extremely joyful life.
Body care leaves you feeling good. You move your body because it leaves you feeling good, because you actually want to do it. When in body care, you don’t exercise because you have to do it, because if you don’t your body won’t stay a certain size. That is body control. There is no math involved in body care, such as running a certain number of miles or working out for a specific amount of time. Body care is just making decisions based on what feels good, what makes you happy.
In the podcast, I talk about my journey with running and why I wanted to become a runner. I explain how I now run as a form of body care, not body control. When I run, I no longer set a distance goal, or a time goal. I don’t judge my body if I need to walk instead of run. Instead, I run because it makes me feel good, and each run is just as far as my body feels like going that day. There is no plan when I go for a run, I just use my walks with Abby to run exactly as far as I feel that day. And guess what? It is soooo much fun! Yes, it makes my body feel strong and refreshed. I love those benefits! But I do it because of how much I love it, how fun it is for me, and how I know it is my form of body care.
In the same way that we distinguish between body care and body control, we can look at the difference between food care and food control. Food control uses “can’t” language. For example, if you find out you have an allergy to dairy, you remove dairy for a few days and feel sooo much better. But, if you are trying to intuitively eat, do you keep eating the food even though cutting it out makes you feel better? Not at all. Food care is all about your language around the food – it’s not “I can’t have dairy”. You can have dairy, you have the ability. You are allowed to make the choice to eat dairy, even though you know it doesn’t make you feel well. But you get to decide. What will make you feel good? What will your future self wish that you had decided? Will that leave you feeling happier?
Body care means no longer making decisions from a place of control. If you are making a decision that feels like it is taking away all of the fun, you are probably making a decision from body control. For more examples on how to make decisions from body care, listen to today’s podcast episode, and let me know your thoughts!
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P.S. If you would like even more support in this area, make sure you come check out Aligned Coaching where you can get coaching and immediately jump into the Better Body Image course. I’d love to see you there. Come join me in Aligned Coaching today.