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Befriending Your Body - Affirmations, Resources and Facts
Summer months typically mean wearing less clothing and thus revealing more of our body. This can be difficult, so that’s why these tips will include affirmations, resources, and info related to befriending your body. It's important to keep in mind that body-associated movements (e.g. body positivity, body neutrality, body liberation, etc.) exist due to the stigma and discrimination faced by people in marginalized bodies of all kinds (by size, ability, race, sexuality, gender, etc.).
Affirm: I can simply exist in the body I have. I do not have to change anything about myself.
While body image movements like #BodyPositivity and #BodyNeutrality can be helpful for some, it's important to consider the perspectives of those in marginalized bodies. Check out this exploration of #BOPO by Tigress Osborn.
Befriending your body doesn’t mean that you like it or that you don’t struggle with body image, but it does mean that you’re practicing being kind to it or speaking kindly of it. Affirm: I am capable and deserving of treating my body with kindness.
One powerful thing we can all do to help more people befriend their bodies is to unlearn "fat" as a bad word. Learn more in this incredibly thought-provoking blog by @yrfatfriend "Fat" Isn't a Bad Word
Prioritize wearing and seeking out clothes that feel good on your body, rather than trying to fit into a certain size or style.
Affirm: Whether I like my body or not, my body is worthy of respect.
When on a journey to befriending your body, you may look towards influencers who discuss this & related topics. It's important to recognize the Black fat women who have played an instrumental role in body liberation activism, often without credit.
There may be many times when we're struggling with our body image and want to vent about it. It can be a good idea to ask your friend or loved one for consent before talking about specific insecurities, negative thoughts about your body, numbers, etc.
Affirm: I can view physical activity as an outlet for moving my body in ways that feel good and to show my body love, not merely to alter its size or shape.
This befriending your body thing might feel hard, that doesn't mean you're failing! It's normal, we live in a society that profits off of our insecurities. There will be days when negative body image thoughts are loud, show yourself grace and compassion at these times.
Want to reduce the negative impact that social media is having on your body image? Good news: you don't need to stay away! Scarlett cites a study on this and provides a list of some of her fave IG accounts that promote #BodyDiversity in this blog: Social Media, Body Image, and Body Diversity.
Affirm: My body is the least interesting thing about me. I am more than my body.
Befriending your body comes with a lot of unlearning of crappy #DietCulture lies. Some podcasts that can help with this process are: @MaintenancePod, @FoodPsychPod, Body Kindness by @ScritchfieldRD, and @i_weigh.
Affirm: There is nothing wrong with my body.
Dr. Maria Paredes created an extensive list of diverse eating disorder and body image providers and activists. You may find it helpful to use the search function on your device's browser to scan for your keywords of interest within the list. Diversity Is A Good Thing: 80+ Eating Disorder & Body Image Providers & Activists
When learning about befriending your body, you may come across the #HAES acronym. It stands for Health at Every Size and is trademarked by the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH). Learn about what it is here at Size Diversity and Health.
Affirm: My body does not need to be silenced. I can listen to what it needs.
There's a bit of a buzz around #IntuitiveEating and @NEDAstaff wrote a helpful blog (it's key to note that it's generally NOT recommended for those in early recovery from a restrictive eating disorder as hunger cues may not be reliable).
When we speak up about anti-fatness for others, we are also giving ourselves the message that our worth is not reflected by our bodies and it is not our bodies that are the enemies. Try RTing an activist, resharing a story on IG, etc. and see how it feels!
Affirm: I breathe in love. I exhale hate. I might not like my body, but I am worthy either way.
Befriending your body can be a challenging feat if you struggle with an eating disorder, disordered eating, or even the throes of dieting. Scarlett's blog discusses some strategies that have been helpful for her. Maybe try a couple for yourself!
We are all on different journeys of building a friendship with our bodies. Remember to show yourself and others compassion this summer as the weather gets warmer.
Affirm: I make peace with my imperfections because they make me who I am.
This is a reminder that you do not have to comment on someone's body when you see them after a long time. Any changes it has endured could be due to various factors and are not your business.
Affirm: I do not have to apologize for my body. I am allowed to take up space.
As we grow older our bodies change, and so does our relationship with them. Take some time to show yourself some compassion. Let your body know that regardless of where you are with each other, you will always try to care for it.
Going shopping for clothes can be overwhelming. This is your reminder that clothing sizes are subjective and change from store to store. They do not define you.
Try Harvard's Implicit Association Test on weight to find out the weight biases you may not even be aware of having. Only after awareness can we learn what to work through to improve our treatment of our own bodies and others'.
If radical self-love is foreign to you and body empowerment is something you could use some help with, Sonya Renee Taylor and her book "The Body Is Not An Apology" are said to be a great place to start.
If you hear someone comment on another person's body, step in & let them know that's not something you support. What you say doesn't have to be earth-shattering, simply speaking up & acknowledging it's not our place to discuss other people's bodies is a great first step.