I’ve been writing a lot lately about the importance of self-love and how it relates to food, weight and health. I’ve talked about how you can’t flog, demean or hate your body into changing, whether it be to lose 10 pounds or heal from disease. But some readers have asked me “How do you learn to love yourself?” That’s a good question; most of us don’t know. The first place to begin is to just notice how you relate to your body’s physical needs in general.
Every time you deny your physical needs—you stay up just a little longer when you need to sleep, or work right through the flu, or “hold it” when you really have to pee–you send the message to your body that it’s not important. We do this all day long with food; we shovel down breakfast on the way to take our kids to school, or we rush through lunch so we can get those last few emails sent, or we skip dinner because we’re dieting. Then we expect the body to perform for us, like a dog doing tricks.
You must make yourself be a priority, if for no other reason than your desire to eat better and/or lose weight. Begin by recognizing that you are your first relationship. I’m not saying to ignore your child, neglect your friendships, or run roughshod over the needs of others. I’m saying to make yourself one of your friends, and treat yourself like a beloved child. Here are six ways to begin.