8 Ways to Love Your Body, Inside and Out

February: the month of “Where did January go?”. In this shortest month, we’ll decorate with hearts for Valentine’s Day, celebrate American Heart Month and prep for Spring (since we are all done with being cold!). As a therapist and dietitian, I’d like to take a minute to talk about getting more in tune with “loving” our bodies, inside and out. Here are some of my favorite tips!

  1. Listen to your body, especially when you’re hungry. Hunger isn’t something that needs to be ignored. Your body is letting you know that it needs energy to do all of the amazing things it can do like move, breathe and think!
  2. Change what you are telling yourself about your body. Think of what you love about it and all it does for you. Our minds are very powerful. If we are constantly sending negative messages to our bodies and how “imperfect” they are, it makes it difficult to celebrate how wonderful it is!
  3. Eat foods that lift you up and increase your energy like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, foods with probiotics like yogurt or kefir, whole grain breads and beans.
  4. Be YOU! Avoid comparing yourself to everyone around you. We are all made to be unique and special. Celebrate the uniqueness that is YOU!
  5. Review your social media feeds. Are they in line with the “thinking” you want to promote? If you fill your mind with uplifting quotes, stories and information, you will feel much less overwhelmed and defeated. Think about what makes you feel happy. Spend more time nourishing that side of social media instead of the negative messages!
  6. Plan an activity to look forward to – a trip with friends, a girl’s or guy’s night out, a special date with your special someone, a vacation with family or something even quicker like time at the animal shelter, lunch with a friend, or an uninterrupted hour reading your favorite book.
  7. Evaluate how you spend your time. Are you allowing “free time” or “down time” to rest and relax?
  8. Take a minute to think about how much sleep you are getting. Our perspective is always a bit more negative and clouded when we aren’t getting enough rest.

February is a great month to start thinking about each of these suggestions and putting them into practice. Start with one thing and add in more as you are able. Life is a journey, take the time to enjoy it and love your body again.

Jennifer Gilliland is an outpatient dietitian with ProMedica and a professional clinical counselor. She enjoys talking with people about the behavioral side of eating as well as educating people on the healthiest food choices.