In the Spirit of Valentine’s, Learn Some Requirements of a Truly Nourishing Relationship with
OK, so I am a bit late on this but it’s still February, right?!
On Valentine’s Day, I was thinking about relationships and which ones are the most important, and how I can nurture them more. This is certainly a personal concept, however since we are all humans living in these earth suits, I would say that all people’s relationships to their bodies are important.
After all, bodies are the homes of our spirits.
While I was pondering, I realized – wow – so many of the requirements for healthy and relatively happy human relationships are also required to have nourishing relationships to our bodies!
And all humans of all sizes deserve to have healthy relationships with their bodies.
Here’s what came to mind, along with some thoughts on how each can show up in our relationships to our bodies:
Respect. To me, this kind of goes back to the basics with our bodies — putting sleep, hygiene, nutrition, rest and movement at the tip-top of the priority list.
Acceptance. You do not need to love your body to have a healthy relationship to it (this is where things are a bit contrasted, perhaps, from important human relationships). However, acceptance is a pre-req. for a healthy relationship with your body, regardless of its size. This is hard and can be a very difficult, grief-filled process, but entirely worth it. You simply cannot take care of something well that you hate. Read more about this idea here in an older blog post. I also want to acknowledge my own thin privilege here and that fact that it is often harder to find body acceptance in a larger body, since we are living in a world that marginalizes larger bodies.
Consistency. Your body needs regular nourishment every single day. It needs enough food and it needs foods from all food groups, all of the time. Yep, including carbs. Actually, especially carbs.
Trust. Ah, arguably the most significant and the most difficult to develop, especially if you have spent years dieting or struggling with an eating disorder. But your body knows what it needs and it always has. Body trust is built when you listen to its messages and honor its needs, day in and day out, no matter what.
Flexibility. Sometimes your plans (food, movement or life related) may not line up with your body’s state at that time. A small example may be planning to go for a run one day. When the time comes, your body is sending you a clear message that it’s not up for a run. The choice to walk instead or rest is an example of working with your body and not against it.
Communication. Body communication comes in many forms but I’ll focus on nutrition for this post. We come out of the womb with hunger/fullness cues in tact.
Hunger is simply the body communicating a very basic need and fullness is simply the body communicating a very basic boundary.
Unfortunately, many of us lose touch with those cues because of diets or eating disorders. Good news though: we can re-connect with them. Losing touch with hunger is like losing touch with an old friend that was trying to call you (your hunger) and you stop answering (your ED or diet). To get back in touch, you can pick up the phone and call (feed yourself enough food regularly), and eventually they (your body) will pick up! Fullness cues will come back, too.
Gratitude. Take some time to remember all of the amazing functions of your body and everything it allows you to do. This is great especially if you struggle with body hatred. For example, several of my clients have a hard time with their arms, but when they remember and acknowledge everything they can do because they have arms that work (hugging, painting, drawing, etc.), their perspectives are able to shift into a more compassionate place.
What else would you add? Feel free to comment and let me know.
Happy Valentine’s month from my heart to yours, and please remember to take care of your body – it’s the only one you’ve got.
If you are struggling with your relationship to food, your body or exercise, I would love to work with you. Please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a free discovery call to see if we are a good fit!
In true health,