Five ways to build body acceptance

March 4, 2017

I'm jess!

Life and leadership coach for women, mental health maven and soul guide.

I support women to do LESS people-pleasing, perfectionism and over-working ... and experience MORE ease, joy, vitality and confidence.


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Body dissatisfaction is so ingrained in our culture that it can feel impossible to know where to begin in unravelling some of these beliefs.

At the heart of body acceptance is body connection.

Strengthening our connection to our body inevitably shifts us from a surface-level focus on what our body looks like, to a deep, grounded, loving partnership.

Here are five steps to get you started in cultivating body acceptance and connection.

Connect daily with your body

In our modern world where we put most of our focus on our busy mind, it can be easy to become a talking, walking head, disconnected from the neck down. Take time each day to drop into and connect to your body with a mindful moment body scan. This can be done anywhere – on the bus, in the toilet cubicle, at your desk. Just close your eyes, ground your feet into the floor, and tune into your breath, breathing deeply from your stomach. Gently send your attention to different parts of your body, starting at your feet and slowly working your way up. Notice how each area feels. As you become aware of any areas that feel tense, send your breath there and with each exhale, gently release any stress or tension. Repeat daily and you’ll begin to reconnect and build a picture of how your body feels, and what she needs and wants.

Move for pleasure

It’s so easy to take the joy out of moving your body by choosing exercise that you feel you ‘should’ do rather than what lights you up. Exercise for the pure joy of it and you’ll never have to use willpower to haul yourself to the gym again. What does your body need in this moment? Is it running, yoga, squash, dance, trampolining? Get creative with your choice of movement and tune into how your body feels before, during and after. Notice that there are some days where you might want an all–out sweat fest and others where a gentle yoga class feels right. You’ll start to trust your body’s instincts rather than man-handling it into submission.

Diversify your social media

We’re exposed to 1,000+ images a day, with most of those images being young, thin, able-bodied, traditionally beautiful white women, often digitally smoothed and reshaped. No wonder we feel less than when we look in the mirror. We can’t control the ads we see as we walk down the streets, but we can control our own social media feeds by following accounts which celebrate body diversity of all kinds. My feed is gloriously full of different body shapes and sizes: a true feast for the eyes! Some of my Instagram favourites: @bodyposipanda, @kanoagreene, @silvanadenker, @themirnavator, @amandalacount & @chelsiehill Normalising (and celebrating) body diversity is one of the most powerful ways to start to accept your own beautifully unique body.

Change the topic

Discussing how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we’ve been with food today or what we dislike about our bodies is so ingrained in us as women that it’s become some sort of crazy bonding ritual that we’re all expected to take part in. Join the growing group of body freedom fighters and take a stand. Dare to respect your body and decline to take part in conversations which perpetuate diet culture and fatphobia. Notice the ingrained conditioning which leads us to compare and dissect how our body looks and make an empowered choice to direct your precious resources elsewhere.

Honour your menstrual cycle

Speaking of ingrained beliefs – how sad/crazy/telling is it that most of us find our monthly bleed, our incredible, life-giving cycle, to be mildly annoying at best? Not to make us wrong for this – we’re up against some deeply held cultural conditioning. Yet bringing loving awareness to our cycle and holding it as a sacred part of our womanhood is an incredibly powerful practice in creating connection to our body. I love the app Clue, which is easy to use and provides options to track a variety of including the intensity of your bleeding, your moods, and physical symptoms. As you build awareness as to the rhythm of your cycle, you might then begin to honour it – for example, by creating more space in your schedule for the first day of your bleed, or doing a short manifesting ritual during ovulation. For a powerful exploration of this topic, I recommend the book Wild Power by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer.

Choosing to live FROM your body, not just IN her, is the most powerful path I know to create deep, lasting transformation.

Our body is our portal to our inner wisdom and to presence.

Cultivating body acceptance, awareness and connection is an ongoing practice and at times it can seem you’ve made massive progress only to be ambushed by a bad-angle photo and feel like you’re back at square one. But you won’t be.

For once you open yourself up to this, things start to shift. You simply can’t go back to being asleep. And my god it’s worth it. 

I'm Jess, mind whisperer, mama & ocean lover

I'm a former lawyer turned women’s leadership and life coach. 

I guide women who have created their success largely through driving, pushing and controlling, to reconnect with their intuition, vitality and radiance.

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