Understanding the self-love language that you speak, will make it easier for you to meet your own self care and self love needs. This test’s most important use is to strengthen the relationship you have with yourself.
“Do unto others as you would have them do on to you.” I was taught from a young age to treat others with respect and kindness. I was encouraged to give to others and that giving to myself should always be second.
One thing I was never taught was self-love or what that even looks like?
When we’re recovering from an unhealthy relationship with food and our bodies, we are encouraged to give to ourselves — to put on our own oxygen mask first — before we help others. Yet, this idea, of having self-love, has always been a foreign concept to so many women.
I realised that showing self-love for yourself doesn’t mean that you love every part of you every day — but that you accept that you’re human and things won’t always go to plan; life happens. You will encounter hurdles and you will make mistakes. This is what it means to be human.
The more we open ourselves to the reality of this, instead of fighting it and expecting perfection, the more we are able to feel compassion for ourselves and shower ourselves with self-love.
The 5 Love Languages explores the idea that love can be expressed in more than one language and that not everyone feels loved in the same ways. Once we figure out what our self-love language is, we can improve the ways in which we love ourselves and help others love us in ways that mean the most. This post is all about how you can use your self-love language to love on yourself.
I am five years into my recovery from an eating disorder, and self-compassion and self-love is something I have to mindfully practice on a daily basis. We all need different things to feel loved, and we all have different self-love languages. It is important to know what resonates for you.
The 5 self-love languages
Words of Affirmation
Practice daily affirmations that encourage self-compassion and being good to yourself. Such as, “it’s only a thought and a thought can be changed”, or “I love the way I feel when I take good care of myself”.
Journal your strengths and everything you’re grateful for. Document everything you accomplish, feel good about, like about yourself, etc.
Keep your self-talk positive. Turn down the volume of your inner critic and choose to be your own coach or cheerleader. Be positive in the ways that you not only talk to yourself but how you talk about yourself.
Acts of Service (this is my self-love language!)
Prepare healthy meals for yourself. Put thought and effort into grocery shopping and meal preparation.
Create an organised, clean and aesthetically pleasing home environment for yourself. Love where you live, even if on a budget.
Schedule regular physical, dental and mental health check-ups. Address any health concerns in a timely manner if they arise. Without your health, you have nothing.
Dress yourself with love and care. Wear clothes that make you feel like the beautiful person you are.
Get up and give yourself what your body is telling you it needs in that moment.
Buy only what you love.
Gift yourself with an experience on your bucket list.
Invest in your education. Want to pursue a higher degree? Take a cooking class? Learn how to be a yoga instructor? Do the research, apply for grants and scholarships, volunteer to learn new skills or take a free course online. Gift yourself with knowledge.
Treat yourself to the wisdom and perspective gained from travel. Limited funds? Consider volunteer or service work or pooling together resources with friends and traveling on the cheap.
Never apologise for nurturing your mind, body, and soul.
Set aside time for daily mindfulness practices such as meditation and deep breathing relaxation.
Make time for leisure, hobbies, play and enjoyment.
Prioritise sleep, movement and making food you enjoy eating.
Do not over-schedule, over-book or over-commit. Your life is worth more than being a mouse on a wheel…
Make time for being alone and for slowing down to get to know yourself, which in turn will help you to be more present in your life.
Stretch and give yourself a massage with a foam roller.
Release toxins by taking a hot bath with Epsom salts. Release the stress and soak in the love.
Moisturise your skin. As you touch your skin, thank each body part for all it does for you.
Give yourself a spa treatment: manicure, pedicure, facial, deep conditioning treatment.
Self-love is a journey. Our bodies deserve our love and kindness. They do not deserve to be punished for what we think our bodies can’t do or what we believe they are not.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha
What is your self-love language? I’d love to know.
Many of my clients treat their pets with more respect than their own bodies – they feed them, give them their meds and vaccinations on time, take them out on walks, and are kind to them. I choose the word RESPECT as a launching point for working through body image issues. Treating your body with respect means treating it with dignity and meeting its basic needs. Read on while I delve into how you can begin to respect your body.
Start with body respect
When my clients first come to me, they either use food as a way to cope with their emotions or because they’re caught in a cycle of restricting and bingeing. For the most part, their present body shape is partly representative of the way they take care of themselves.
True, not all overeaters will gain weight. Just like not all dieters will binge. However, most do. Only approximately five percent of people who go on a diet to lose weight will keep that weight off longer than two to five years.
But weight aside, this unhealthy relationship with food and our bodies, is well, unhealthy. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
It’s soul-destroying and a life thief.
So how do we look after our bodies without going on a diet?
Health at Every Size (HAES) encourages respect for all bodies, a critical awareness of ourselves and of compassionate, attuned self-care. People may – or may not – lose weight as a result of improved self-care, but their health and well-being will surely benefit. The goals and outcomes of HAES include:
- Self – and societal-acceptance for every body.
- Truth in health care
- A fair society
- A healthy relationship with food
- Pleasurable movement
- Trust in yourself and your body
When you respect your body, you are in partnership with it. You become grounded in your physical body and you’re able to benefit from all it has to offer you.
We are healing our relationship with food, our bodies, and ourselves. Just like when you’ve lost trust in any relationship in your life, it takes time to get it back. When it comes to body respect, this is reciprocal. Respect carries reciprocal energy. Your body will honour you when you honour it at all sizes.
However, you cannot heal your relationship with your body with a plan to make it into what the dominant culture thinks it “should” look like.
Body diversity is real. The more we try to fight it, the more anguish and struggle with food will ensue.
If you treat your body as a structure worthy of respect and it will respond in kind. Abuse or ignore it and it will break down in various ways until you learn the lesson of respect.
Keep this in mind:
You don’t have to love or even like every part of your body to respect it.
But, it is the beginning of making peace with your body and genetics.
It is a critical turning point in stopping dieting and becoming an intuitive eater.
It’s okay if you wish you were smaller.
It’s okay if you wish your tummy wasn’t so round.
It’s okay if you wish your thighs weren’t so dimpled.
These are all normal things to think and feel.
It’s important to hold space for what you wish was different and still respect and appreciate the body you have.
It doesn’t mean you aren’t doing a good enough job loving yourself and your body. It means you are human. It means you are a woman living in a world in which being thin is idolised.
With this in mind, I encourage you to think about “body love” a little differently:
You don’t need to love your body, but can you respect her? Shower and brush your teeth daily, eat some fruits and vegetables and go for a walk in the sunshine.
Can you appreciate her – for keeping you alive every single day? How many times does your heart beat each day to keep you alive?…the average person’s heart beats approx 108,000/day! Your heart works hard for you ♥
Can you show her kindness and compassion today? Take a rest when tired and tell yourself you’re doing the best you can in the moment. Stop and take a few deep breaths.
Remember ~ It’s okay to not love your body. It’s okay to wish things were different.
However, you can’t hate yourself into change (long-term), but you can respect your body into change.
I hope this helps you take the pressure off of yourself to “love your body”. Start with body respect.
Also, remember body respect is a practice. So much of what we desire to bring into our lives takes time and practice. Body respect is not a new plan, a gimmick, or a short-term solution. It’s a way to truly heal—an opportunity to focus on finding joy and pleasure again, as you turn your attention towards the parts of you that perhaps you lost sight of while dieting or trying to fix yourself.
It is an ever-evolving relationship that changes with our healing, our complicated lives, and as we age.
If you’re wanting the support and tools to begin a new relationship with your body, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here>>
We know that sleep is essential for our well being, despite this, most of us are still not getting enough of it. But did you know, if you’re trying to lose weight, the amount of sleep you get may be just as important as your diet and exercise. Read on to learn how sleep and weight loss are connected and it may be impacting your ability to find your balanced weight.
Sleep and weight loss
Imagine two women you know: they both eat well and exercise regularly. One is thin, yet the other no matter how hard she tries she can’t maintain her focus. She struggles with her hunger, always craves sugary foods, and, despite her efforts in the gym, she doesn’t achieve the same results as someone else following the same program.
Maybe she’s lazy.
Maybe she strays from her meal plan.
Maybe she has no willpower and self-control.
Or, maybe it’s none of those things…
Sleep controls your diet
It could be between living your life, working, and exercising, you’re forgetting to sleep enough.
Sleep affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) levels. Chronic sleep deficiency has been seen to result in higher blood sugar levels. Eventually, this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, such as your liver.
Moreover, scientists have discovered exactly how sleep loss makes it nearly impossible to lose weight. When you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise. This is the stress hormone that is associated with weight gain around your stomach. Cortisol also activates reward centres in your brain that make you want food.
Most people believe that hunger is controlled by willpower and learning to control your appetite, but that’s incorrect. Hunger is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Without sufficient sleep, we risk our body’s ability to maintain a healthy balance of these hormones that make us feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When we don’t get enough sleep, our levels of ghrelin increase and our levels of leptin decrease. This makes us feel hungrier throughout the day than we might be if we were well-rested.
Lack of sleep also makes you crave foods high in sugar and fat. A study found that just one night of sleep deprivation was enough to impair activity in the frontal lobe, which controls complex decision-making. You don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions, specifically with regards to the foods you eat. When you’re overtired, you also have increased activity in the amygdala, the reward region of your brain.
The bottom line: lack of sleep means you’re always hungry, hungry for bigger portions, and craving junk food and you don’t have the proper brain functioning to tell yourself, “No!”
What to do
When we’re getting good quality sleep (7-10 hours depending on the person) we digest and metabolise our food better. Fat stores are accessed and then burned off more efficiently. We also feel happier and more sociable.
In other words, good things happen when we get enough sleep! So let’s start prioritising more sleep.
Is sleep the missing factor to finding your balanced weight?
Self-love is a popular term today that gets tossed around in normal conversation. What is self-love? Is it something you can obtain through a beauty makeover or a new set of clothes?
We mistakenly believe that being thin and being our ideal weight will fix everything and lead to the happiness and love we crave.
We believe that when the weight disappears, it will take old wounds, hurts, and rejections with it. That changing the shape on the outside will alter the feelings on the inside.
The hard truth is, being thin is not a recipe for happiness.
If you think losing weight is hard, good luck trying to maintain it!
Be prepared for a lifetime of battling against your body’s physiology, micromanaging every bite and monitoring your every move. Happiness I can assure does not live there.
So what can you do to put yourself in the best possible position to find happiness and love?
Self-love is critical to your happiness.
Self-love (and self-compassion) is THE most important thing you need in order to have ANYTHING you want.
Without self-love, you will constantly be wondering what is wrong with you, why things “never work out” and why you aren’t getting what you want. You will wrongly believe that your body size is the cause.
Many people wrongly believe self-love is egotistical, it’s not. It reflects self-worth. Self-love IS managing your inner-critic and acknowledging your “humanness”. It is most certainly NOT a one-time deal; it’s a practice.
Being thin will never do what you think it’s going to do. But you can have whatever you believe that being thin will give you, and you can have it now.
The only way to do it?
By embracing exactly who you are and realising that ultimately love and happiness is an inside job and something that you need to give yourself in order to shape-shift.
Self-love is liberating, but it takes dedication and effort to get to that place. For those recovering from from disordered eating or an eating disorder, taking time for self-care is an especially important part of recovery.
Try these 3 tips:
1. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Paying attention to how you are feeling and what you need is important. Do you need to be with your friends? Alone? Do you need to watch an episode of your favourite show? Do you need tea? A bath? A hug? Stay curious and open to how you’re feeling throughout the day and respect what you need moment to moment.
2. Act on your needs. “Self-love flourishes when you turn away from something satisfying yet destructive,” says Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D. “and focus instead on what you truly need.” Trade your “diet meals” for nourishing foods, and move your body in ways you enjoy rather than pushing yourself excessively at the gym. Choosing even one health-promoting way to fulfill your physical and emotional needs could be enough to set self-nurturing and healing in motion.
3. Volunteer. The notion that tending to our own needs first and foremost holds merit, but assisting others can help get us there. Volunteer work can serve as a healthy distraction from negative self-talk and behaviours, provide intense emotional gratification and has been shown to help minimise stress and depression. You could volunteer at a women’s shelter for example.
We all have different “self-love” languages. I encourage you to find what resonates with you and practice it daily.
If this is something that you need help with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here>>
Did you know? A Finnish study has revealed that women who are fed up with their jobs may be more likely to turn to food for comfort in times of stress. Read on while I discuss how you can lower your stress and stop stress eating.
The study, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those who reported work burnout were more likely to have a habit of “emotional eating”, or eating when stressed, anxious or down, rather than physically hungry.
What’s more, they were more prone to “uncontrolled eating” – the feeling that you’re always hungry or can’t stop eating until all the food’s gone. Additionally, they have a hindered ability to make changes in their eating behaviour.
Emotional overeating almost always ends with bloating, guilt, regret and potential weight gain. All of which are potentially more negatively impacting than the food itself.
You can’t live like that forever. It’s just not sustainable.
We know that workers who take regular breaks are more productive and enjoy their work more.
How to stop stress eating
So what can we do as women to prevent or stop stress eating and emotional eating? (besides quit your job…unless you really want/need to)
We prioritise Self-Care.
The term self-care describes the actions that an individual might take in order to reach optimal physical, emotional and mental health.
What has self-care got to do with this?
Self-Care means – LESS stress and MORE resilience! and ultimately a happier and healthier relationship with food and body.
How do we prioritise self-care?
Put it on your calendar and/or in your diary. Like you would any other appointment.
If you are struggling to find time to prioritise self-care, this may be a difficult step for you, but by all means don’t skip it. You are a smart woman, you know for something to happen there has to be time and space for it to occur.
You must leverage the same skills and talents you use in your job and every other part of your life to make self-care a priority. Make space in your life for your own health and wellbeing. You deserve it too and you’ll be no good to anyone a run down mess.
We don’t have to choose one or the other; family or work or ourselves. We can have them all side-by-side. So, please drop the guilt. You will be a better mother, partner, employee, entrepreneur and person for it.
Schedule your “me-time” and honour that appointment the way you would if it was with anybody else. When you value yourself and your time (instead of trying to wedge yourself in to an empty space that never occurs) it can create an important mind shift.
Others (namely your boss or even your children) pick up on the value you place on yourself. As you show more respect for your time and energy, you may find that they do too.
Of course addressing all sources of stress in general is important.
Big stress triggers in life such as work (where we spend on average 40 hours a week. 60+ if you’re an entrepreneur), may make it difficult to stop stress eating, lose weight and keep it off.
We cannot add, gain or become more when our time, mind and energy is full and cluttered.
If you need help to stop stress eating, don’t hesitate to take a look at my program Stop Punishing Start Nourishing.
When we struggle with food, weight and body image issues we spend a lot of time rumentaing in our heads. Often what we tell ourselves is negative and self-destructive and sends us into a downward spiral. Try these body image healing journaling prompts to get out of your head and back into your body for more self-love and spiraling up.
Journaling is an effective tool I ask my clients to use and I provide them with the appropriate questions or prompts to open up their curiosity about their struggles. Why and when are certain behaviours and thoughts happening?
How does this then impact your eating, moving your body and your life in general?
In an effort to change your mindset and habits with food and your body, I’ll let you in on a well-kept secret: A pen and piece of paper can serve as a powerful life tool.
If you’re not a journaler, it’s time to try something different.
What’s so good about journaling?
The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create and feel.
In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.
It happens because you allow your subconscious to surface and help you to heal what needs to be healed.
When you put pen to paper, you begin to unravel and open doors that remained closed for years, potentially decades. You begin to hear yourself, feel yourself and trust yourself more and more.
I particularly love it as it’s hard evidence of where you started and where you are now. You can see the journey and your progress in front of your eyes. Particularly important for all those perfectionists out there, that fail to notice their progress.
How it helps?
Through writing, I slowly accepted my body’s natural shape. Step by step, I began to be fascinated by what my body could do, and how it truly looked without my distorted view of it.
Writing often helped me to express what I hadn’t yet been able to say.
Your journaling will be most effective if you do it daily. Five minutes is all it takes.
You will find that like anything new, it may take a liitle time to get into it. But it’s like a muscle. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Moreover, my clients love doing it. Once they get into it if they’re new to it, they can see the value in it.
Research also suggests that journaling benefits our health and wellbeing in many ways.
There are no rules.
Begin anywhere, and forget spelling and punctuation. No one else will see it. Privacy is key if you are to write uncensored.
Draw and scribble if you like. Being creative is important, particualrly if you’re a creative and you stopped that passion. It’s also a beautiful mindfulness tool.
Grab a beautiful notebook or journal, your favourite pen, a cup of tea and some quiet time for yourself where you can write.
Maybe write one prompt a day and then come back to them occasionally and reflect.
Here are 20 journal prompts to help you self-reflect, dig deeper and improve your self-love, body image and happiness.
- Right now, my body needs…
- Right now, my mind needs…
- Right now, my soul needs…
- I am grateful that today my body helped me …
- When I think of my body, the first thought that pops into my head is … because …
- When I think of my body, the first thought I’d like to pop into my head is … because …
- I’d like to improve how I see and treat my body because …
- I feel best in my body when …
- I feel worst in my body when …
- I can be kinder to myself by …
- I believe I should eat … but what I really want to eat is …
- believe I should do … but what I really want to do is …
- I believe I should wear … but what I really want to wear is …
- These are the five people, places, activities or things that make me happy …
- If my body were my best friend, I’d treat it with …
- The next time body-hate thoughts overwhelm me, I will soothe myself by …
- The most important thing I can ask my loved ones to do in supporting my body image is …
- Right now, I really need to get this off my chest …
- Today, I give myself permission to…
- Today, I can boost my body image by doing this one small thing …
Through your writing you’ll discover that your journal is an all-accepting, non-judgmental friend.
The simple practice of journaling can massively impact the way you feel and treat yourself.
Make it a point to spend around 5 minutes reflecting every day and you’ll see your thoughts and attitude towards your body change your life!
It’s not homework. It’s self-care!
Here’s to more self-love, body confidence and happiness…
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if this is something that you need help with.