Learning to Love Your Body
By Heidi R. Cherwony, PsyD
Learning to feel comfortable in your own body is an important component of self-esteem. Although your body changes drastically following weight loss surgery, your mind lags somewhat behind. The majority of my clients need to work hard to facilitate the connection of their mind to their body. Feeling free within your own body will be a large contributor to your long-term goal of weight loss maintenance. Here are a few ways to foster body comfort, acceptance and self-esteem.
- Recognize and identify the function of each body part. Understand how each part works for you, even those parts that you are not aware of. For example, your vocal cords are working for you on a moment by moment basis. Without these cords, you could not talk. You would not be able to express yourself, to share your thoughts or to use your phone. Appreciate your body and thank the universe for allowing that body part to work. Take note in all of your daily activities. Did you use your hand to write a note? Did you shake hands with another? Expressing gratitude for your body will be helpful.
- Choose a favorite lotion that you can use to massage your own body. Identify what sensations feel best to you. This will also help you in expressing your likes and dislikes in your relationships with others.
- Enroll in a dance or movement class. Alternatively, close your door, put on music and dance using your whole body. Not only is this good exercise, but you will start to connect with your body.
- Take a meditation or yoga class. There are many classes available based on your level of experience.
- Praise yourself! Rather than focusing on the parts of your body you dislike, take note of what you do like. Appreciate what is special or unique about your body.
- Consider the activities that you have felt too embarrassed to try in the past. Switch from being the observer to taking an active role in the activity. Put the embarrassment to the side and you will be surprised at what you are able to accomplish with your new body.
And last but not least, be kind to others. Avoid criticizing others’ appearance. Stay away from magazines and media that focus on models with glamorized appearances.