The simplest definition of body respect…

I cried this morning when I woke up. I felt the familiar spiky sensations of nerve pain in my back and it makes me deeply sad. Sometimes I feel angry at my body. Sometimes disappointed. Sometimes I just want to ignore it. But one thing that I have learned through my own Intuitive Eating journey is that taking care of my body is non-negotiable.

In the past, feelings of anger, sadness, and disappointment about and for my body have prompted various aggressions. Restricting, binging, exercising out of sync with my body’s true needs, drinking to excess, dissociating. I’m not blaming myself or anyone who does these things – they were literally the best I could do until I learned different coping skills.

But in my experience, these aggressions did not heal my painful feelings toward my body. If anything they made me feel worse. It has only been through unconditional and constant care of my body – regardless of how I feel about it – that I have truly felt a sense of respect for my body.

And through that basic practice of respect I find that I am often awed by and grateful for this bizarre bag of skin and fat and muscle and bone that I walk around in. This has led me to my most basic definition of body respect:

Caring for your body regardless of how you feel about it.

How to practice this? Acknowledge EVERYTHING that you feel about your body – the good, the bad, and everything in between – without judgment, if possible. Make space for what you feel without trying to edit it or make it rosier. Then, check in on whether you are getting the basics: sleep; rest; regular meals and snacks consisting of protein, carb, and fat; water; connection with others; stress management. If anything is missing or inadequate, tend to that. Repeat.