3 Obvious But Overlooked Ways To Jumpstart A New Relationship With Your Body

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woman looking in the mirror
Self

It's important to counter critical self-talk about your body. 

Many want to feel better about their body but they don't know where to begin or what to do.

The good news is that having a positive body image doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.

Having a good relationship with your body translates into self-assurance and presence with others. It gives you access to emotional awareness that can help you create better relationships with others.

Not a bad return for a minimal investment!

RELATED: 50 Body-Positive Quotes To Help You Learn To Love Your Body

This is how you counter body hate in 3 simple and obvious but often overlooked ways. 

1. Be thankful.

Nobody likes to be criticized all the time and it’s not the way to create a good relationship with your body either.

To remedy this, focus on what your body does for you rather than how it looks.

Drs. Lindsay and Lexie Kite, co-authors of the book "More Than a Body: Your Body Is an Instrument, Not an Ornament," sum this up with the admonishment to appreciate your body as an instrument rather than an ornament.

While you’re busy with other things, your body is busy keeping your heart beating and your lungs breathing.

It’s digesting your food and repairing your hurt places. It’s fighting off invaders that could leave you sick, and it’s ensuring that your brain has plenty of energy.

That’s a lot of important work which is why it’s high time to interrupt your negative self-talk and say, "thank you."

After all, without your body, you can’t meet any of your goals or continue enjoying this human life.

2. Be kind.

Awareness of your body’s needs is an important step to a better relationship. The body often speaks in subtle ways and it’s easy to miss the messages in the midst of a busy day.

The body check-in is the basis of embodiment practice.

Are you hungry, thirsty, tired, feeling stiff or stressed, or need to pee? Are your feet beginning to protest? Do you feel anxious, angry, or sad? Or happy, excited, or joyful? Note where you feel those things in your body.

Taking a few moments to tune in and pay attention can have profound results.

RELATED: 6 Easy Ways To Start Loving Your Body, Right Now — No Apologies Needed

Noticing approaching hunger for instance can keep you from getting overly hungry and finding yourself unable to resist the foods you don’t want to eat.

Noticing negative emotional states in the body can alert you before you become overwhelmed and lash out or break down.

Noticing positive emotional states can be the beginning of an upward spiral that helps your whole day go better.

From there, try to spend a few minutes giving your body what it needs. This kindness to your body can be anything from changing positions in your chair to attending to whatever is causing you anxiety.

While you can’t immediately meet all of your body’s needs, you can at least take the first step, get a mini-break, or adjust your plans for the rest of the day and evening.

3. Buy new pants.

Bodies shift over time even when weight is stable. As you age, you will likely find fat accumulating in places you never had it before.

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This is because hormonal changes tend to drive fat to the middle, expanding tummies and waistlines. Additionally, you may gain weight even if your weight has been stable in the past.

This is normal. According to Dr. William Lassek and Dr. Steven Gaulin in "Why Women Need Fat," women have historically gained 25 pounds between their teens and late 40's, and a similar pattern is seen in men.

The authors present many evolutionary reasons why this weight gain is a good thing.

Whether it’s a good thing or not, weight shifts and weight gain in middle age are a given for most of us. This is why you need to buy new pants.

It doesn’t matter if these are from a second-hand store or a designer store. It only matters that they fit the body you have now.

While you’re at it, try some new tops as well. Ideally aim for having at least one dress outfit and one casual outfit that you love. Since standard sizing fits almost no one’s body, it’s important to budget for tailoring.

Consider it a gift to your body and yourself. Having clothes that fit, flatter, and are comfortable can go a long way toward feeling good in your body. It’s a small price to pay for an instant confidence boost.

If you do these three things your body will get the message and you’ll no doubt be rewarded with better health.

RELATED: 6 Uplifting Practices To Do Daily To Finally Love Your Body And Yourself As Is

Lisa Newman, MBA, MAPP is a positive psychology practitioner and health coach specializing in eating behavior and body acceptance. She is a certified mind-body eating coach and certified intuitive eating counselor. You can find out more at WomenEat.com.

This article was originally published at Women Eat blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.