Have you ever struggled with changes in your body?
The first time I struggled with accepting body changes was my freshman year in high school, when my boobs went from basically non-existent to a size C practically overnight.
I hated it!
I felt so uncomfortable with my ‘new’ body and all I wanted to do was hide. I tried smashing my chest down and masking my boobs in big baggie shirts, but none of that changed how insecure I felt.
Puberty was definitely not the last time I experienced body changes…
Or the last time I felt insecure about them, either.
So, if you’re struggling with changes in your body I just want you to know that you’re not alone.
In the nearly two decades since I was trying to make my boobs disappear, I’ve learned so much about processing changes in my body with self-compassion rather than self-hatred.
Here are five powerful ways to lead with love when your body changes that you can try, too:
#1 – Stop punishing your body for everything she isn’t
This includes wearing clothes that are too tight or trying to make parts of you disappear. Shoving yourself into something that doesn’t fit sends a message to your body that there is something wrong with her.
Give yourself permission to wear clothes that fit. Every body deserves to feel comfortable!
Punishing / negative self talk is another component of this, but it’s a longer conversation for another time (more on that later, I promise).
#2 – Ask your body what she needs
Whatever your size, whatever your shape, you have permission to need things. You don’t need to hide this. Asking your body what she needs is a great way to connect with yourself – physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually.
The simple question, ‘what do you need?’ will help you shift out of judgment and into curiosity.
#3 – Look at your body less and live in it more
Step away from the mirror, step off of the scale, and go do something in your incredible body! Go for a walk, take deep breaths, dance around, hug someone you love.
Living in your body is gratitude in action.
#4 – Intentional expose yourself to size / body diversity (not just your own!)
Despite what the diet industry would have you believe… the proven way to improve your body image is actually not to lose weight. It’s to expose yourself to images of bodies that are similar or bigger sizes than your own.
If you only see the ‘ideal’ body being portrayed by the media, you’re not being exposed to body diversity. You naturally begin to associate that ‘ideal’ body with how you should look (and feel terribly about yourself when you don’t).
We are currently living in the biggest discrepancy between the average woman’s body and the cultural ‘ideal.’ Research tells us that less than 2% of the population naturally have the ‘ideal’ body being portrayed by the media.
That means 98+ % of us, myself included, are being exposed to a body type that is not natural for us on a regular basis (cough cough HUNDREDS of images a day).
But, research also tells us that viewing bodies that are a similar size or larger than our own can help us to not only accept our natural body (which naturally changes throughout life) but also to accept body diversity in general.
#5 – Affirm that you’re made to change
Remember that bodies are MADE TO CHANGE not to be controlled / manipulated to say the same size or shape.
My body is made to change.
So is yours.
Change isn’t wrong, it’s natural.
Repeat as many times as needed, ‘I’m made to change!‘
Because, you are — and that’s an awesome thing.