Intuitive Eating – Part 8: Respect Your Body

The 8th principle of “Intuitive Eating” by Tribole and Resch, is “Respect Your Body” is described as follows: “Respecting your body means treating it with dignity and meeting its basic needs”. What does that mean to you? Take a moment to reflect. Respecting your body does not mean that we have to accept or love every part of our body at every given time. Many of us do not. And that is okay. Actually, that is normal. But, what we do to honor our bodies or cope with unpreferred feelings about our self/body does matter. This means accepting that we may not always feel comfortable in our bodies and being ok with that. 

Are you wearing uncomfortable clothes in hopes that one day they will be comfortable again at 5, 10, 20 pounds less? Are you denying yourself new clothing because if you buy new clothes that means you have given up on your weight loss adventure and thus yourself? Respecting your body means respecting its basic needs. Wearing pants too tight will automatically remind you, not just once, but throughout the day, that your pants are too tight. “I must lose weight so I can be comfortable in these pants”. How cruel is that? A constant reminder all day that you are uncomfortable in your body. Respecting your body can be as simple as choosing clothing that you feel comfortable in.

We can also begin respecting our bodies by becoming aware each time we body bash ourselves or find ourselves contributing to “fat-talk”. I encourage you to catch yourself and take a moment to reflect on what you may be saying to yourself. Take your negative self-talk and replace it with a neutral or positive statement about yourself that you do believe such as “I like my eyes” or reflect on the ability that body part gives you “I may not like my thighs but my legs allow me to walk”. We can also practice self-compassion when we notice that we are chastising our bodies. This may look like saying to yourself: “Wow. I just had a very mean thought about myself and that makes me sad”. The point is to recognize the thought and begin re-framing these thoughts. I also encourage you to not participate in conversations with others that contribute to fat-talk. Tribole and Resch state “Studies show that refraining from this type of discussion is helpful in reducing body dissatisfaction, dieting, and eating disorder symptoms”. How exciting is that!? We have the ability to improve our body acceptance by not commenting on others’ bodies or body-bashing our own with others!

Lastly, be realistic. We all have different body shapes, sizes, and weights. No matter how hard we try to fit a specific mold, we cannot change our genetics. The more we try to fit a specific ideal/standard the more we are left feeling unsatisfied with our bodies and ourselves. I encourage you to reflect on how you can start your journey towards intuitive eating by learning to respect your body.

Resources:
1TRIBOLE, E. V. E. L. Y. N., & Resch, E. (2020). Intuitive Eating: a revolutionary program that works. S.l.: ST MARTINS ESSENTIALS.

Series:
Introduction:  Intuitive Eating: The Anti-Diet
Part 1 – Reject the Diet Mentality
Part 2 – Honor Your Hunger
Part 3 – Make Peace with Food
Part 4 – Challenge the Food Police
Part 5 – Feel Your Fullness
Part 6 – Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Part 7 – Cope With Your Emotions Without Using Food