For individuals struggling with eating disorders, loving your body may seem like a nice idea, but out of reach. It may be hard enough to fuel your body with the food it needs, let alone give it love. But really, feeding yourself appropriately is an act of love, and a celebration of your body and yourself.
Love Your Body Day* – a campaign launched in 1998 by the National Organization for Women – is celebrated every October. This year, it falls on Wednesday, October 19. Its mission is “to raise awareness about women’s health issues, protest harmful and offensive advertisements, and promote the importance of positive body images for women and girls.” Many college advocacy groups host week-long programming of events that provide media education, combat unrealistic cultural beauty ideals, and honor body diversity. There are also off-campus and online ways to participate.
* While LYBD typically is aimed at women, it’s important to note that men also struggle with body image and self-love. Men are also invited to explore the following suggestions on how to integrate body love and eating disorder recovery.
Loving your body won’t happen overnight – it often is one of the last stages of eating disorder recovery. But there are small ways to begin, regardless of what stage you’re in. Recovery coaches at Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists support clients who feel ready to begin this journey. Practices to cultivate self-appreciation and self-love include:
- Making a gratitude list of all the things your body allows you to do.
- Writing a letter of appreciation to one part of your body – for instance, your toes, your eyes, or your heart.
- Before eating, taking a moment of silent to thank your body for receiving the food.
- How would your best friend describe your best qualities? Write a portrait of yourself, from your best friend’s perspective.
- Writing out positive affirmations on sticky notes, and covering a mirror with them. Affirmations may include, “I am lovable,” “I am enough,” and “I am grateful for my life.”
- Wearing clothing that you feel comfortable in and is authentic to who you are. If you do not have clothes you feel good in, consider taking an exposure shopping trip with a recovery coach to purchase clothing that supports a positive relationship with your body.
- Discarding items that do not promote a loving relationship with your body, like scales, diet books, diet foods, clothing that does not fit, etc. Delete Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook feeds that are not body-positive, and join feeds that advocate for recovery and self-love.
If you or someone you know might be struggling with an eating disorder, contact EDRS. We are here to assist in your journey to recovery.