I want you to think about your body as one of your children or someone else you love dearly. When was the last time this person did or said something that really made you mad? In that moment, you might have been thinking “I really don’t like this person right now.” However, did his behavior cause you to stop loving him? Absolutely not! My teenager regularly acts in a way that I do not like, but I still love him. I will protect him, do what I think is best for him, and give him what he needs.
Now let’s return to your body. How often do you look at your body and think, “I do not like my legs, my hips, my butt (or whatever)”? I admit it. I do not like my thicker waist that came from my second child and being over 40. Okay fine, so it also comes from sometimes eating too much of the wrong foods and not exercising consistently. It’s one thing to dislike your body. It’s something completely different to have an attitude of hatred or disgust towards your body. This attitude will cause you to mistreat your body instead of loving and honoring your body.
Your body, with all its imperfections, is sacred. It is the only body you have been given for your entire life. Your body houses all the organs that keep you alive. It gets you around from place to place. Your body pumps oxygen to the brain that enables you to feel, think, create and function. You need to take care of your body like any relationship with a loved one. Loving and respecting your body requires the same ingredients. So what can you give to your body that you would give someone you love?
1. Daily Attention
To nurture a relationship, you need to pay attention to what it needs. If you ignore your loved one for a long period of time, what happens? The relationship begins to die. In order to grow my relationship with my little guy, he needs daily doses of conversation, playtime with me, and cuddling. In order to thrive, your body needs adequate sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, and plenty of water everyday. You wouldn’t go for a week without talking to your child or husband, so why would you go for a week giving your body 4-5 hours of sleep a night or regularly feeding your body foods with no nutrition? Love your body by staying conscious about how you treat it on a daily basis.
2. Spend Time and Listen
In order to get to know someone you love, you need to spend time together. Your body is the same way. It will communicate with you if you only listen. Your body will tell you when it is hungry and when it is full. It will tell you when it is tired and needs to relax. If you are getting sick a lot, your body is screaming at you. It is trying to get your attention. When you exercise, your body will begin to hurt if you push too hard. Or maybe you are short of breath from lack of exercise or being overweight. That is your body’s way of communicating that it is working too hard. Pay attention to the cues your body sends you. Respond to them and see them as signs that something needs to change. Someone I know says to people, “If you ignore your health, it will leave you.” And so will your husband.
3. Special Treats
Sometimes you give your loved ones special treats to show you love them. You don’t give them everyday because then they wouldn’t be special. Your body needs special treats too. Treat yourself to a massage, a facial, new clothes, or a mocha latte every once in awhile. When I was a teenager, my mom and I used to go running on the local school track. Afterwards, we went to this awesome ice cream shop and treated ourselves to a scrumptious sundae. We didn’t overindulge all the time…just once in awhile. Special treats help banish feelings of deprivation.
How many times does your loved one say “I’m sorry”? And how many times do you forgive him or her? We all need grace at times, and so do you when it comes to taking care of your body. Maybe you do really well on your diet or exercise plan for two weeks, and then you fall off the wagon. For one whole week, you don’t exercise and you don’t follow a healthy eating plan. That’s okay! Forgive yourself and get back on track. You don’t have to completely abandon your plan because you didn’t follow it perfectly.
5. Have Fun!
Taking care of and loving your body doesn’t have to be drudgery. Have fun! Find new low-fat recipes that contain your favorite foods. Adjust your attitude toward your health and your body. Exercise is only boring if you view it that way. Find activities you love that exercise your body. When I was in Las Vegas this past month, I was taking a walk in a local family park. I watched a dad and his two children having the time of their life. They were riding their bikes and dad was leading the way. He created an obstacle course that required the kids to ride in circles, up and down ramps, over the grass, and around various walkways. They were laughing and having a blast, while exercising their body. This dad knew the value of adding fun to a healthy routine.
So, here’s to good health and loving your body even if you don’t like it!