HOW TO LOVE YOUR BODY MORE

(This blog has been written by our student contributor, Tash Gillezeau!) 


For the last two years, a goal of mine has been to become genuinely committed to loving my body – not merely accepting it, but loving it.

The female body is often viewed as an incomplete ‘project’ - something we are responsible for changing through diet, exercise and even surgery in the hopes of one day becoming our mythical Best Selves. 

Of course, this “Best Self” is an illusory person who lives only in the future and never actually arrives. I am not inherently against any of those three things I mentioned, I am simply over living in a world where according to a global Dove survey, only 4% of women think that they’re beautiful. Something has to change.

For me, loving your body isn’t as simple as saying “oh okay, I love my body now, because I just decided to”, but it is a gentle, ongoing process – particularly given we’re working against all the forces that benefit from us ‘hating’ ourselves, like companies who sell skin lightening creams or diet pills. We learn from a young age that it’s ‘cute’ to have insecurities as a girl and after we repeat those thought patterns enough times, those insecurities become real. 

It has been empowering to make a choice to see loving my body as a ‘verb’ – something I have to actually do to make happen, not something I can force myself into thinking. It’s easier to control our actions than our thoughts, so if truly thinking you look damn fine feels unattainable right now, don’t worry! Focus on stuff you can do to love your body more and let the positive thoughts follow from that.

I want to share with the Sydney Pole community 7 practical tips that have helped me love my body more:

exerciseyoulove


#1 Do the exercise you love

The traditional fitness mantra “no pain, no gain” ignores one vital thing – forcing yourself to do something you loathe just isn’t sustainable.

Everyone knows that exercise is important for our physical and mental health, but what people don’t consider is how much more you get out of doing exercise you actually, um, like doing.

In positive psychology, a “true strength” is something that you’re not only good at, but that you are energized by and self-motivated to do.

Applying that to exercise means finding something that revs you up and that you find yourself wanting to go to! For me, that’s Twerk, pole dancing, yoga and surfing. Shaking my butt in a G-string leotard is my jam. Classes with ReRe have changed how I feel about my body. 

By contrast, I’m not really a running gal, and I’ve made my peace with that.

naked

#2 Spend more time naked

I find that just chilling naked at home reading or cleaning my room rather than only being naked for the purposes of showering or sexing has made me so much more comfortable in my body.

So as the weather warms up (summer plz, hurry up), hang out nude more often.


#3 Massage your boobs

Seriously. I used to think my boobs were too small, but when I started regularly giving them a bit of love with coconut oil or lotion, I began thinking that they were adorable. And sexy.

Sending conscious care through the power of touch to body parts you think you don’t like can be really powerful. Try to choose body products that haven’t been tested on animals.

sexysnaps

#4 Take some saucy snaps

As a kid, I was a massive poser. I loved the camera. But somewhere along the way, I started to find having my photo taken awkward.

Now I believe that taking hot photos of yourself can actually be a major power move. Better still, organise a photo shoot with a friend, bring your best outfits, and go for gold.

Hot tip: I find it helps to save and screenshot poses that have worked for other people/models so you know what to do with your body when you’re in front of the camera. 

socialmedia

#5 Unfollow media that doesn’t make you feel good

One study by The Body Project found that 3 minutes spent looking at a fashion magazine caused 70% of women to feel depressed, guilty, and shameful. It also doesn’t help that according to About Face the average women sees 400 to 600 ads a day. Whilst you can’t control all of what you’re exposed to, you can choose what you follow on social media.

Diversify your Insta feed with a range of body types and ethnicities. Reconsider whether following every Victoria’s Secret model is ~really~ inspiring you, or whether it’s just feeding the toxic narrative that you should be constantly striving for a different, ‘better’ body. 

nature


#6 Get out in nature 

I love bushwalks, the beach and any type of waterfall. I feel so alive and positive when I am in these environments. Connecting with the beauty of nature helps wash away my internal body and life anxieties.

oldclothes


#7 Throw or give away clothing that doesn’t fit you anymore

Our bodies change. They’re meant to. I find that holding on to clothing that doesn’t fit me or I never feel good when I wear it is a mental energy drain I don’t need.

Give it away to a new home!

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I am aware that for many of us the starting blocks are placed even further back from the “love your body” finish line - for example, fat* women who report feeling judged when entering fitness classes and therefore have to deal with all these added layers of crap. 

Or if you’re living with a chronic illness or a disability, the story again looks different. I can only speak to my experience, but as someone with Crohn’s disease, I know how hard it is to even conceive of ‘loving’ your body when you’re in intense pain. In those times, you just feel like your entire body is betraying you and feeling positive or sexy is a long way out of the question. All you can do is your best. 

All bodies are different; all bodies deserve love. 

If there is no time when you truly love your body, that’s okay, don’t feel guilty about that. That is simply all the more reason for us at Sydney Pole to come together as a community and unlock the answers to these questions.

If you feel like sharing your own tips for loving your body, we would love to know them in the comments section below, on Facebook, or Insta!

 

*I use the word fat on the intelligent advice of fat activists who support reclaiming the word as a neutral descriptor not a slur. 
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