A guest post by: Claire LeGresley, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Like so many others, I spent years at war with the closest thing to me. I learned self-criticism at an early age, having grown up in front of a mirror as a dancer. Since my body type didn’t fit the mold of a classical ballerina, I hated and treated it as though it had betrayed me.
Dieting, despair, weight cycling and intensely lonely times shaped my adolescence and early twenties. As I tried to escape the vessel carrying my head around, I sought out external opinions on how to fix myself. Fortunately, I ended up on the sofa of a therapist who offered me guidance that changed the course of my body loathing path.
While I’d heard of self-love, it felt like a floating idea, impossible for someone like me to grasp. So instead of forcing affirmations on me that didn’t make sense, she invited me to think of someone I loved deeply (I thought of my Mom). She asked me if I had any ideas of how my Mom might care for herself if she came to me with similar struggles.
Let love (for anyone) lead the way:
With love leading my suggestions, I thought of eating nourishing food, some kind of movement (or not!) and just being nice to herself. The therapist then invited me to pick one behavior for me to try. And with that invitation, a window to body kindness opened up and I (slowly) began to learn how to become friends with my body.
In the process of befriending my body and getting to know its needs, I discovered it also meant letting go of dieting. Because I would never inflict the destruction of dieting on someone I cared for.
Fast forward to present day, as I sit on the opposite side of the sofa as a registered holistic nutritionist. I offer this tool to my courageous any of my clients who are struggling to take care of a body that they’re uncomfortable in.
Because if changes on the scale and negative self-talk have been the main motivators in your quest for feeling better, remember that “we cannot choose the number, we can only choose our day-to-day practices and be honest about what is sustainable in our unique lives.” – Deb Burgard
So if your dieting past has let you down, but the self-love route feels too foreign, give yourself permission to start where you are. You don’t have to force anything – just try on some new thoughts. If it’s helpful, imagine what you’d recommend to a loved one struggling (and especially how you’d say it). Start engaging in those practices and take it one (compassionate) day at a time.
Claire LeGresley is a registered holistic nutritionist on a mission to empower people to food freedom. She graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and runs her private practice in Toronto, Ontario and online. Claire compassionately helps her clients rediscover their relationship with food. Her guiding principle is to start where you are.