How To Love Yourself After Gaining Weight In Quarantine

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How To Love Yourself After Gaining Weight In Quarantine
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When I was at my lowest weight in my adult life, I was the most unhappy I’ve ever been. I look back on photos now and cringe at how much I used to thrive off people telling me I looked good, even though inside I felt terrible.

Weight gain, for me, became a way to let go of my obsessive relationship to my physical appearance and, instead, discover joy in my relationships and my lifestyle.

That’s why seeing people hating on themselves for eating more often and gaining a couple of extra pounds in quarantine makes me so upset.

Since we've been quarantined for months, it's difficult not to constantly berate yourself with questions: How do I cope with gaining weight? Will I look like this forever? Should I go on a diet? How do I gain confidence after gaining weight?

I sometimes wish I could shake everyone who has negative thoughts about their weight and say, “You’re so much more than the number on your scales.”

Accepting weight gain as part of the natural ebb and flow of life helped me centralize how to love myself and accept my body for what it is. This vessel we call our bodies is all we have in this life, so why bother hating it when it's the very thing that allows you to feel and move and exist?

Practicing self-love shouldn’t be hard, but sometimes it is. That’s why you need to take positive action to rediscover your self-love behind the extra weight.

Here's how to love yourself after gaining weight in quarantine.

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1. Acknowledge the reasons you gained weight.

We’re living in extraordinary times, and the body responds to external factors in funny ways. It’s no wonder this huge shift in society has caused your body to make subtle changes.

Don’t be so hard on yourself! Look at your lifestyle in recent months without judgment so you understand why the scales have been ticking up a little. Sure, you’ve been snacking a little extra, but the world is a stressful place and sometimes a little chocolate does bring joy.

The gyms are closed, and it’s not always safe to go outside for exercise, so you can’t be blamed for ditching cardio sessions for now. Recognize that external factors shape our lifestyle choices and some things are out of your control.

2. Recognize your body-shaming behaviors.

It’s okay to walk or work out during your health and fitness regimen, but actively seeking out a physique that isn’t your own is the wrong attitude.

Whoever told us that skinny is the only form of beauty lied to us. Your body is good enough and you don’t need to look a certain way to be deemed beautiful.

If you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about your appearance, take a moment to acknowledge how unproductive these thoughts are. They don’t bring you any closer to your goals.

Imagine you had to say these things to a friend or family member. You wouldn’t dare be so mean, right? So, why say it to yourself? Body-shaming is not only cruel to yourself, but it's also unfair to all the other women out there whose body diversity should be celebrated.

RELATED: 7 Powerful Ways To Lose Weight While Loving Your Body Now

3. Appreciate what your body can do, not just how it looks. 

When I was focused on minimizing my calorie intake and achieving an unattainable thigh gap, I had no regard for my body’s overall health. I completely lost any relationship to my body and could only feel validated if someone else told me I looked good.

Rediscovering self-love (and a love of food!) helped me appreciate my body for more than its aesthetic functions. I learned to love how my tummy rolls gave me a little extra insulation, and how my legs were big and strong, and could carry me up flights of stairs.

Being able to move and use our bodies is a luxury that should not be forgotten by desperately trying to change how we look.

4. Say goodbye to that which no longer serves you.

Whether it's a negative friend or a top that no longer fits right, remove anything from your life that's contributing to your negative headspace. This pandemic has shown us way too clearly that life can change in an instant, so there's no point holding on to anything that inhibits your path to joy.

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For me, I found that skinny jeans no longer fit me or made me feel comfortable, so I donated any pairs that I owned. Wide-leg pants and flares are in fashion anyway, so I had plenty of options to fill the empty space in my closet.

Limiting time spent on social media might also help. I use social media to catch up on news and feel inspired creatively. I unfollow any accounts that don’t do that and leave me doubting my self-worth. So many amazing bloggers and celebrities support body positivity, so surround yourself with diverse and confident influencers.

5. Focus on your health.

It’s important to feel good rather than look good. Your health isn't about dieting and workouts; it has a lot more to do with how you’re feeling and thinking.

Your thoughts shape your relationship with yourself and the world. Prioritize self-care and nourishing your body, both inside and out.

Of course, wanting to improve your physical health through healthy eating and exercise is a good way to benefit your mental health. But remember, eating isn’t rule-breaking, and exercise isn’t a punishment.

When I stopped with crazy diets and fasting, I switched to eating intuitively and exercising to feel good. I quickly began regaining weight through muscle mass, but I felt better than I’d ever felt before.

Identifying that your health and happiness comes from within is a key step to finding happiness.

RELATED: 8 Things To Remember If You've Gained Weight During COVID-19 Quarantine

Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.