By Amanda Goldfarb, RD
It’s no secret that most women have a love-hate relationship with their body. On the best days, you love your body for being healthy and strong. You think you look damn good in your skinny jeans. And on our worst—well, let’s just say that having a “bad” body image day can really interfere with your mojo.
But if you’re a woman that is going through the struggles of fertility, or a woman coming to terms with her “new” softer body after a baby is born, you can easily fall out of love with your body. After all, when going through these difficult times, women often feel as though they are not in control of their physical being. The medical treatment, shots, and hormones do nothing to promote our beautiful body. And how hard is it to face the mirror during the Fourth Trimester, when we’re home with baby, coming to terms with our new squishiness AND our new life?
It’s all so much. And it can be very lonely when we don’t love and honor the body we’re in. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there. And I am still there on some days. Loving your body is a practice—and sometimes a difficult one—but an important one nonetheless. As a woman who has struggled with body image all my life, and helps clients enjoy their bodies, I have learned a few things to help me when I’m feeling down on myself. Below are five tried and true ways I can show my body that I truly love her:
5 WAYS TO LOVE YOUR BODY BEST!
1. Eat chocolate.
I bet you’re surprised that this is first on the list. But yes, I’m telling you to eat chocolate. High quality chocolate is essential in my daily life. Just be sure to go for the dark stuff (over 65% cocoa content) and keep it to a small square per day. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants that can help lower both blood pressure and cholesterol, stimulate endorphin production (making you feel good!) and act as an anti-depressant. So no more guilty feelings around chocolate!
2. Practice Extreme self-care.
This is extreme with a capital “E.” And, in all honesty, this should really be #1. I know it’s cliché, but your body is a temple, and you have to take special care of yourself. Taking time true truly nurture yourself sound deceptively simple, but trust me, it’s not. Whether it be saying “no” to friends or a business project, skipping an early morning spin class to sleep in, or just taking a walk outside, it’s your right as a woman to make yourself a priority. One example of this that I have worked hard on is to ASK FOR HELP. Isn’t that so hard to do sometimes? So whether that help comes in the form of seeing a therapist, or acupuncturist, or a nutritionist...or asking a friend to bring you a meal since you’re stuck on the sofa nursing…just ASK. People LOVE to help!
3. Love yourself the way you are….right NOW.
Listen: you don’t have to love every single part of yourself. We all wish we looked different (I’m placing an order for bouncy hair and sky-high legs) but let’s face it, all we’ve got is what we’re born with. And you’re beautiful. The sooner you accept and begin to truly love yourself, the more wonderful your life will be. Sounds hokey, perhaps, but it’s the honest truth that’s taken me over fifteen years to learn (And I still need a reminder every now and then). If you’re angry and frustrated that it’s taken you more time than you thought to get pregnant, and your body isn’t “working” the way you want it—that’s OK. Your answer is to show yourself compassion and to shower yourself with some major #2- self care. Whatever difficulties you may be facing are just those—difficulties.
4. Let go of what doesn’t serve you anymore.
You know the saying…Out with the old, in with the new! What are you clinging to (come on, you know exactly what I’m talking about) that you need to let go of? Perhaps it’s those size 4 pants you wore five years ago that just don’t fit anymore and make you feel awful each time you open your closet. Maybe it’s old makeup (roller glitter, anyone?), tired shoes, and even unsupportive friends. In my life, I’ve gotten divorced, moved back to where I love, and stopped looking at Instagram photos of enviously thin yoga models sipping green juices (I kid you not). And I feel better.
5. Don’t Diet.
There’s a reason why it’s called a “die”-t. It’s because they don’t work! Unfortunately a multi-billion dollar industry has got us thinking otherwise, but as health professionals, we promise you…a diet is something you go OFF of. It leads to feelings of failure, emotional eating, and more weight gain. And…you guessed it, another diet. If you’re ready to get off the “hamster wheel,” try eating intuitively: eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, and eating what your body craves. And especially for women struggling with fertility, or coming to terms with a new postpartum body—food is there to nourish you, bring you joy, and energize you.