Houston, we have a problem. There is a body-hate plague in town, and we got some zombie killing to do.
Let me tell you something. If you recovered from an eating disorder, or any sort of disordered eating that affected you while growing up, your brain will be wired into normal conversations on a really intense frequency.
Because I have been both the over-eater and the starving teenager, I have learned a great deal on hating your body; and because of that, I can immediately sense the same negative feelings even during a small talk about the weather.
You could be stirring your coffee, or checking somebody out really quickly; whatever you’re doing I WILL KNOW when that overwhelming feeling of a cold shower hitting your body will start burning and hurting, because you are simply feeling like you don’t belong in this body of yours.
And I am not a psychic, nor am I a psychologist; I know because I am a young person, the number one victim of the pressure that society holds on our bodies.
Once you embrace this view, it will be impossible for you to overlook this contagious plague of body-hate.
It’s in the excessive number of checking yourself out when walking past any reflective surface; it’s in the soft “No, thank you, I am full” when someone offers you something to eat; it’s in the frown that forms on your forehead when you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed.
Hating your body is lethal and it’s spreading like the plague in the 28 Days Later movie. “Celebrity diets” and “Become the best version of yourself this year!” are blasted on every single magazine; Instagram is saturated with images of fitness models, who are also fashion bloggers and God-Knows-What other jobs. We have pregnant fitness models losing all their baby weight as soon they have finished giving birth. And then there is the Victoria’s Hate Fest Season, when all of us gather in front of our television to watch an army of super fit models walking the runway wearing lingerie made in sweatshops and sold for the price of La Perla, so we can add a bit of cream on top of our pity-party cheesecake.
In all due seriousness though, when it comes to body hate, women excell at that and it’s not because women are “stupid”, or “weak”, or “obsessed with self-image”.
It’s because society has put on women so much pressure in maintaining the appearance according to what’s cool at the moment, and that it’s starting to be impossible for a woman to catch up on all the different expectations, so we just give up. We nod and laugh when someone points out our flaws, and we keep falling into this cycle of self-hatred and desire to feel healthier and happy.
But today, I want to challenge the way you look at your body. Don’t stop at your flesh, your muscles, your beautiful mouth and your luscious hair. Whatever your physical attributes are, go beyond them for a moment right now and imagine that your body is a temple.
You can pick any temple that you like, as long as it’s a temple.
When you have negative thoughts on your body, picture that your temple is being trashed and attacked by a mysterious clan of pirates, who want to rob the treasure that it’s inside of it.
When you feel so upset about how you look and you’re ashamed of yourself, picture that your temple has been seized and occupied by the pirates, who are feasting and partying like it’s the end of the world.
So in order to get your temple to its original state, you need to kick the intruders out and clean it up.
HOW TO TREAT YOUR BODY LIKE A TEMPLE
You heard Donna and Tom from Parks and Recreation, treat-yo-self. In a world full of “just do it” and “Don’t stop until you make it” flooding on Instagram, we have suddenly become these fitness terminators, who won’t stop until they will collapse in the middle of a burpee. It’s great to push yourself beyond your physical and mental limits; however, there is a thin line between dedication and unnecessary obsession.
Allow yourself to have a day, or a moment of the day that is dedicated to pampering yourself. Have a bath, do some gentle yoga, eat your favorite treat, watch your favorite movie. It is unrealistic for you to be constantly motivated and focused on your goals. You need some cooling down time to energize again and be gentle with yourself.
GET RID OF TOXIC PEOPLE
Be aware of friends who make hurtful comments on your body, or point out your flaws in a hurtful way. Actually, be aware of anyone who has the nasty habit of always commenting on other people’s appearances because it doesn’t fit under their own personal standards.
You might shrug it off and think that they are just joking, but it’s important that you stop this from happening as soon as you can.
Imagine that your body is a garden. By making one hurtful comment, your friend throws a piece of trash in your beautiful garden. When you don’t call them out, or you allow them to do that, they will start thinking that it’s an acceptable behaviour and the garbage will start piling up, until you won’t start appreciating the green and luscious grass that was once underneath.
So you either grow a thick skin and stop caring about other people’s comments, or you just ctrl+esc them out of your life, because your body is a temple and you don’t need profanities inside of it.
EXERCISE REGULARLY AND DO IT FOR YOSELF.
If your body is a temple, then a regular exercising routine are the maintenance team that makes sure that the building is stable and in functioning order. Exercise is great to clear your mind, maintain your muscle, your bones and your heart healthy and well-functioning.. AND it builds your confidence. Pick something that you enjoy doing AND that it makes you sweat.
FOCUS ON THE PROGRESS
Stop listening to the fitspo trends on Instagram and on Facebook. Don’t use exercise as a punishment for eating too much, or to allow yourself to eat more than you normally would.
Exercise should be used to maintain your physical and mental health. Appreciate that your body will react to exercise in extraordinary and painful ways that will be totally different from the body of your friends and of celebrities doing exactly the same moves.
Don’t focus on the number on the scales, or the measurements that a certain popular magazine tells you it’s to cool to be: you are a temple and a machine. You train because you want to achieve something. Start paying attention to the kilometres that you run, instead of the calories; count the push-ups that you can do, instead of pinching the skin around your legs to see if you’re getting fatter; learn a new sport and train to the point of feeling confident and happy about it. That’s progress and don’t listen to Kate Moss, being strong and healthy definitely tastes better than being skinny and miserable.
DITCH THE DIETS
Every year there is a new diet obsession that gets promoted on any social media platforms that is available to us.
Diet fads create stress and tensions within ourselves and they ruin the sacred place of nourishing yourself.
Diets might be backed up by scientific journals, celebrities and Ted Talks, but again. Listen. To. Your. Gut. And have some common sense.
Eating is a sacred art in the temple of our body. No matter how hard you’re working towards your goals, or your mental health, never allow anyone to ruin the appreciation that we naturally have for eating. Start to eat more intuitively, by listening to the signs of hunger and fullness that your body is naturally able to give you.
If you have been dieting hard for your whole life, or you use food to deal with your emotions, it might be trickier to find that voice. But that’s why you have got to challenge that voice and the way you approach your eating habits. It is fundamental for your own survival to do it.
Stop focusing your energy into resisting certain foods and focus on honoring and listening to your hunger.
READ THIS: 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating. It is very informative on restoring your hunger back to normal and understanding how and when to eat.
FILL YOUR TEMPLE WITH GOOD FOOD
Yes, good is just an overall definition and that pizza slice from last night is more than just good, but when I say to eat food that makes you feel good, I mean to eat food that fills you with energy and supplements that your body needs to become as strong as the most majestic pagan temple you have ever laid your eyes on.
Do you want your temple to be built solely on cheap, low-quality material that won’t last long? Of course not. You want to have a good solid foundations, so stock up on the green leafy veggies, eat a good variety of food, eat grains for your fuel and protein for your strength and fat for your lusciousness. All of it will create a solid foundation. BUT, a temple isn’t build on a perfect foundation. Here and there, there might be some cracks, or dents, or weeds that should not be there and they might not make you weaker, but they make it unique and they just are there.
So even if you eat something unhealthy every now and then, your whole life won’t be swallowed by a black hole; you will just keep going because..your foundation is solid and life simply goes on.
STOP APOLOGIZING FOR THE PLACE YOU TAKE.
It’s true. Society likes a very specific type of temple and this type will keep changing every month and you will always be reminded of how insignificant and shabby YOUR temple is in comparison.
But do not fear and do not fall into the trap of insecurities that society creates for us to feel insecure about ourselves and weaker to keep consuming products we don’t need.
People will say that you can’t be wearing this if you are this certain weight, or you shouldn’t eat this because of that; and so on.
This is when you can uncover a huge banner with a big “SUCK IT” printed on it and show it to the world. You own this place in this world and because you own it, you rock it. Do not let anyone, not even your family, make you feel like you should cover yourself with a curtain, or lose weight, or get plastic surgery in order to feel accepted by them. If they can’t see the true magnificence of your temple, then they ain’t getting a ticket to walk around in it.
Block these assholes and move on with your life. Turn the television off, stop listening to people who support this kind of message.
UNFOLLOW PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE SHIT ABOUT YOURSELF
Social media is great to motivate you and inspire you to do better for yourself. But if you feel like it gets too overwhelming and those fit mums losing their baby weight as soon as they get out of surgery make you want to smash your head against the wall, then UNFOLLOW THEM.
You don’t have to rain on anyone’s parade. You can let people enjoy their seemingly stupid stuff on Instagram and carry on with your day. How? UNFOLLOW THEM! I know that you think that you need a push, or someone to motivate you into dusting off your temple and making it look sparkly and solid. But be your own motivator. Find that motivation within the reason WHY you want to be that person. Why do you wake up every day and go for a run? Why do you eat a watermelon and enjoy it? That’s what really drives you, not a picture.
Ask yourself why you do the things you do and where you want to go, and start building a plan to achieve that. Once you have those two key motivators, you won’t need anyone to scream at you.
STOP PROJECTING YOUR NEGATIVITY
Something incredible happens when you constantly hate your body; especially when you are going through your teenage years. You start to sweep all your insecurities and hatred for your flaws under the carpet, and you develop a false appearance of confidence and passive-aggressiveness, that you keep maintaining by commenting negatively on other people.
When you feel the need to mock on somebody else’s appearance, or you say stuff like “she’s not that pretty though”, or “she’s too skinny to be a real woman”, or “why is she wearing a crop-top when she’s got a tummy”; all we can hear is: I AM INSECURE AND I AM PROJECTING MY OWN INSECURITIES TO DEAL WITH THE OVERWHELMING FEELING OF HATING MY BODY.
So when you are the person receiving the negativity, throw a spell against them and recognize that some people are just unhappy with their lives and they are not worthy of your time, if they make you feel uncomfortable about your body.
If you are the one commenting on people’s appearance, take a step back and start working on building your self-esteem bad and detoxing from the monster that lives inside your mind. You are creating an unsafe and uncomfortable place for others and a barrier within yourself.
WHEN YOU FEEL UPSET ABOUT YOUR BODY, CREATE.
There will come a time where you have been working your buns off every day to dust off the temple, and the results are simply not showing. You will feel like you’re letting yourself down and the familiar sensation of failure will start creeping in under your skin. Stop right there. Grab a pen, a brush, or whatever you do to express yourself. And start creating. Use this rush of negative energy that you are bombing against yourself and just curve ball it towards something else.
Dance, pray, chant, write and have sex. Whatever you do to express yourself, just do it and let all that energy out through your moves, your words and your notes.
This will not only create something beautiful, but it will also teach you that pain is not just destruction. From pain we can create the most beautiful pieces of art. So start bleeding and you will start creating.
LAUGH AT YOURSELF
So you know you’re hot shit, you’re comfortable with your body and yourself and you are not a complete asshole with other people. Congratulations, you have reached the next level of awesomeness. However, you still live in a land filled with people who deal with negativity, work-induced anxiety and low self-esteem, so you have got to be ready to fight like Jon Snow against the cold rush of insults that people will start showering at you when they sense that you’re happy with yourself.
So just laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously, because even though we all know that you’re very serious about your shit, life is not really this much of a big deal. Things just happen on Earth and even though we can explain some scientifically and others theoretically, we can’t really define their seriousness. So don’t hold so much secrecy and mystery around your temple. Know that people will try to trash it, or break into it, and your flexibility and resilience to fight back will make you stronger and feel more confident.
Be prepared to attack and tell people to sit their asses down, when they are coming for your confidence and happiness.