On Friday I wrote a post that talked a bit about feeling at home in your body. Today I wanted to share my specific ideas for how to feel at home in your body + reader’s comments on how they feel at home in their bodies.
Dieting and eating disorders dissociate you away from your body and you have to practice embodiment again to accept your natural body size (aka feel at home in your body). When we dislike a part of our body, we can choose to not embody it. For instance, if you hate your arms, you could choose to dissociate from them. You’d do your best to not think about that body part or see it in a mirror. For me, my arms and stomach were the parts of my body I choose not to embody. I mentioned in this video I started embodying and connecting to the natural size of my belly my resting my hands on my belly after yoga and feeling my belly rise and fall.
I share that about yoga because when trying to heal body image it can be helpful to get out of your head and into your body via expressive therapies. These could include mirror-free yoga, mirror-free (if possible) dance classes or art classes.
While I did just say that some types of movement can be helpful for helping you embody your natural size…mindless cardio is not the movement that is going to help improve your body image. If you are doing mindless, rigid, regimented cardio in an effort to change your body size and get better body image, just know that it’s like you are driving a car to nowhere. When you are driving a car to nowhere, you’re wasting gas and putting wear and tear on your vehicle only to end up somewhere you don’t want to be.
Mindless cardio (hello, having to spend x time on the elliptical / or running x miles) may keep your body looking a certain way, but it will never give you better body image or bring you true fulfillment. It will likely only breakdown your body (just like wear and tear on a vehicle) due to overuse.
Back to expressive therapies.
Expressive therapies (like yoga, dance, and art) are also great for people who have a hard time with words or expressing their emotions. Body image can be the last thing to fully change when leaving dieting behind and a lot of time you are not going to make peace with your body size just through reading about how to heal body image. Finding a way to move to begin embodying your body size can be helpful.
Here are 5 other thoughts on feeling at home in your body from readers:
Savannah suggested that to feel at home in her body “I like to write things that I’m proud of my body for doing, like going on an amazing hike or listening to my hunger cues and how good that makes me feel.”
Miley made the point of, “I was thinking about how I was never happier or more at home in my body when I was trapped inside ED. I was actually MORE unhappy and LESS at home. It is truly terrifying how ED can give us complete tunnel vision.”
Kara says she feels at home in her body by, “choosing to live at my happiest self, not my thinnest self.”
Megan said “things that help me [feel at home in my body] are meditation, yoga, walks outside (not on a treadmill ew), and resting. Things that detach me from my body are super intensely exercise and over-thinking food choices.”
Lex mentioned, “I like the phrase “feeling at home in your body”. When I start to have disordered thinking about my body, I think that is a phrase I can add to my toolbox to help.”
Thank you to everyone who commented on the post last week :)