As long as you’re alive, your body is inseparable from you. Try as you might,* you can’t live without out it. So, reasonably, it should be well taken care of and appreciated. After all, it’s what connects you to the physical world and allows you to do the things you love every day: play sports, hug your loved ones, smell some flowers, eat delicious food and so much more.
There are people who love their bodies regardless of having sculpted arms, long legs or rock-hard abs. But, there are people who constantly struggle with their body-image. They often worry about how they look, pick at their flaws and criticize their bodies.
So, what is it that people who love their bodies do daily? Here are 8 practices that they embrace and that you should start doing, if you don’t already.
Stay physically active
People who love their body take care of it daily and one crucial way to do so is by engaging in physical activity. Body-positive people know the many benefits of regular physical activity, such as preventing obesity and heart disease, and improving mood along with energy levels.
They don’t, however, force themselves to work out.
They do physical activities that they enjoy because they simply like the way it makes their body feel. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re doing push-ups or ice-skating, as long as your heart is racing your body will benefit. And when your body looks and feels good, you love it even more, driving you to continue caring for it.
Pamper their bodies
If you love something, you cherish and attend to it. People who love their bodies know they deserve some pampering.
They don’t necessarily spend hundreds of dollars on spa treatments every week but they may go for a massage once in a while, invest in their own spa tools, take a long bubble bath, or practice yoga. Your body will thank you for giving it the relaxation and treatment it deserves after over-working it so much.
Additionally, this down-time is good for your mental health and promotes better sleep (both of which are good for your body)!
Eat healthy foods
There is some truth to the saying “you are what you eat.” When you eat fatty, processed foods, you feel sluggish and sick. On the other hand, when you eat healthy foods, your body feels good and you have energy to do the things you enjoy. This, in turn, makes you love your body.
When a person loves their body, it’s much easier to take care of it. A major part of caring for your body has to do with your diet. It’s like a positive-feedback cycle: people who love their bodies eat a well-balanced diet, filled with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that make their body feel alive. They don’t limit themselves to just one type of food and they take into consideration the rule of moderation daily, realizing that it’s a bit unrealistic to avoid eating sweets and other indulgences all of the time.
In other words, they don’t starve themselves, but they also don’t overeat.
Listen to their body signals
Your body is always sending signals to your brain via chemicals called neurotransmitters; these signals indicate when the right time to eat or sleep is, along with countless other things.
When you love someone or something, you pay attention to them, don’t you? People who love their bodies make an effort to pay attention to the messages it’s trying to communicate to them and act accordingly. If you deprive your body of what it needs, it will definitely act out. For example, if you don’t eat when your body is starving, you’ll feel dizzy or lightheaded, and your stomach might make embarrassing noises.
Treat your body with the respect it deserves, and tend to its needs. You don’t want to put your health at risk by ignoring these signals.
Surround themselves with other supportive, body-positive people
“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future,” is a quote by John Kuebler that basically means that the people we hang around have a big influence on us, whether we realize it or not.
If you are constantly around pessimists who hate their body and are constantly criticizing themselves, you’ll soon find yourself looking for the flaws in your own body. The result will be poor body-image and an overall terrible feeling about yourself.
However, if you surround yourself with body-positive people, it will motivate you to continue loving your body and taking care of it. Your body-positive friends probably enjoy working out and eating healthy so these are all things you can do together, making you more likely to stay committed and enjoy your journey even more.
Don’t hold unrealistic standards or compare themselves to others
The media is filled with celebrities with seemingly perfect bodies; they’re on your TV screens, magazines, billboards, even on products you buy.
It can really make you feel as though you’re not good enough unless you look like them. The truth is, half of what you see isn’t even real but looks as if it were thanks to photo editing or surgery. And even if those bodies were real, most of the time it’s due to hundreds of hours a month with personal trainers and thousands of dollars spent on supplements and dietary plans.
People who love their bodies don’t become obsessed with having an unrealistically perfect physique. They don’t compare themselves to others and they realize that it’s not all about the way you look. A person may look fit but may not necessarily be healthy or may be healthy but not necessarily fit. People who love their bodies strive to be healthy on the inside because they know that that’s more important.
Get enough sleep
Some people live by the mantra “sleep is for the weak” but they couldn’t be more mistaken. Not getting enough sleep will, in fact, make you weak over time.
People who take care of their bodies get sufficient sleep every night. They value sleep and know that it’s important for many reasons, including repairing heart and blood vessels, regulating hormones and keeping the immune system strong.
Furthermore, when you’re well-rested, it gives your body the energy it needs to function at its best. Just like eating healthy and exercising, this makes you feel good and leads you to love your body even more and want to continue making healthy decisions.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to go to bed early so if you find yourself having troubles, take baby steps by going 10 minutes earlier each night, and avoiding technology as well as caffeinated products later in the day.
Speak kindly about others and themselves
You wouldn’t want to say something hurtful to someone you truly love, so why say hurtful things about your own body?
When you say something out loud, it solidifies them in a different way than if you were to only think about it. It makes the thought more memorable and trains your mind to continue thinking that way.
People who love their bodies say positive things about their bodies, and subsequently believe these things and treat their body in a loving way. Furthermore, they feel so secure with themselves that they are comfortable complimenting others, instead of tearing them down.