Hi y’all. Krista here. Before I get started, I want to put out a trigger warning — if you’re not in a place where you feel comfortable reading about body/body acceptance, this is a good one to skip.
My body acceptance journey has been a really big part of who I am, and I know that there are so many women out there who are still in the process of unlearning and reprogramming what they’ve grown up with around body image. This has been a long but super rewarding journey for me, so I wanted to share five things I’ve done that have been really impactful for me in accepting my body. I hope applying them will be helpful for you too!
- Being Radically Honest With Myself
Being honest with myself was actually related to my clothing size — I had to be honest with the sizes that lived in my closet and the size I actually was. I had so many clothes that represented me from when I was in college and when I was at my smallest size. By being honest with myself I was able to remove and donate all the clothes that were not the size I was. By doing this I made space in my closet AND my brain, giving me only options that fit and flattered me.
Another thing I’m always keeping in mind: numbers are crazy in clothes! They don’t make sense and brands do vanity sizing. I can be a small in one outfit but an XL in another. If you add clothes to your wardrobe that make you feel good — things that are your size and flatter you — you’ll feel so much better. I know this is a super surface level place to begin, but start with this and go deeper from there.
- Shifting My Focus And Looking At Myself As A Whole Person
It can be SO exhausting looking at others. I remember looking at other women at bars and thinking to myself, “Look at her, why don’t I look like her?” But I’ve tried to shift my focus and look at myself holistically. Now I say to myself, “I’m a human that has energy that cannot be seen but can be felt. I am a spiritual being.” In doing this, I can feel valued for someone who has a heart and a brain and an energy. This allows me to lean into the part of me that I want to develop in my spiritual practice, voice, reading and understanding of the world.
I’ve also done a lot of thinking about who I’m following on social media. As much as I love my fitness queens, bring people into the mix who are there for more than their physical appearance. What are you interested in seeing more of? Illustrators, nature, cooking? Look at things that make your life more holistic and whole.
Looking at yourself as a whole person lets you lean into things you love and realize your purpose — your purpose is SO MUCH greater than just being your dream clothing size! It’s such a disservice from the media and the dark forces at work to believe that we are just a physical being in a physical vehicle. We are all souls that chose our bodies to incarnate in, and it is so powerful when you start to know yourself and your soul.
- Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness through meditation has been a HUGE part of my body acceptance. Meditation and mindfulness have both been the most profound transformation for me in all aspects of my life — relationships, career, and my relationship with my body. Meditation comes before mindfulness for me, and it creates a new conversation and narrative with how I want to talk to myself.
Keep in mind how you’re speaking to yourself. Lindsey, our team, and I all practice speaking mantras and affirmations on the daily. Two of my favorite mantras I use regularly: “I love my body, and my body loves me” and “I love food, and food loves me.” Some of my other go-tos are: “I love who I am,” “I love my life,” and “I am happy in my body.” Saying these mantras to yourself might not feel natural at first, but it’s all about rewiring the brain. Keep practicing and it’ll become second nature!
- Having a personalized approach
I used to take the approach to fitness and nutrition that I would do what everyone else was doing, so I was taking supplements, getting my steps in, dieting. It was super standard and trend-based, and I wasn’t taking a personalized approach or ANY personal responsibility for what worked for me and my lifestyle. When I finally realized that what works for others might not work with me, I felt a huge shift.
Now, I walk every day and run a few times a week, and then I do like…10 push-ups and 3 crunches a week. It’s kind of comical but it’s what feels good, and that’s what matters. I feel better in my body when I’m doing less and moving intuitively. I also removed the foods from my house that previously caused me to binge, which allowed me to be better for myself and helped me respect myself. My current routine might not work for you. It’s all about doing what feels best to you. I’ve tried everything — things work at different points in my life, from yoga to HIIT workouts. They were great at the time but not what I need now. Just find what works best for you at the present moment and go with it!
Unlearning is the most academic and can be the most maddening, but it can also be the most fun! This step is all about identifying all the messages and narratives you’ve been taught and unlearning them. For example, I was taught that if you are not thin then you won’t be liked by the opposite sex. Part of my unlearning was knowing that it was in my subconscious, coming from someone close to me saying this to me in my life.
So to identify and start unlearning, I began journaling. Journaling allowed me to see where it came from, identify the ways in which it isn’t true and the ways it’s impacted me, and showed me the ways I can reprogram and unlearn those beliefs. I leveraged the negative self talk and wrote it down. My biggest tip in unlearning is being clear — through meditation, reflection, conversations with yourself or friends, therapy, journaling, or whatever you’re doing to reprogram — about all the unlearning you need to do and all the messaging you’ve received from the outside world.
Remember, momentum is key when working with body acceptance! These steps all take work and constant practice. Once I realized that my mindset, not my body, was the problem, I could start my body acceptance journey.
I’m in a comfortable place now, and I’ve looked at this journey as an integrated part of who I am. But I’ve had points in my life where I’ve felt like I’ll never be able to get out of my head. To me, body acceptance is the acceptance, appreciation, and respect of my body. I feel like I’m at that point now, but it’s definitely been a journey! I’m here for you on your journey as well.
If you want to hear more about my body acceptance journey and advice to help guide you on yours, check out these two episodes I recorded: