At one of the yoga studios I teach at, I was asked to take part in a series of yoga classes themed around self-love. I wasn’t surprised that my manager asked me to teach one of the classes, because she knows that encouraging others to feel more comfortable in their own skin is kind of my jam. Except for the “love your body” part. I’ve actually been having a hard time planning for this special “love the skin you’re in” class. Because honestly, whenever I hear someone use phrases like that, it makes me want to gag just a little.

Seriously. Gag.

Wait WHAT?!

Is this the same girl that just told me to stop using fitness trackers? The same girl who me to clean out my closet, donate my “skinny” clothes, and buy some pants that fit the thighs I have today? She doesn’t completely buy into the phrase “love your body”?

Yup. It’s true. 

I mean, I don’t hate myself or anything. Actually, I think I’m pretty great. I also acknowledge the fact that I have a lot of privilege in terms of the way I present myself in the world, which certainly helps. I’ve come a long way since my days of dabbling in all kinds of disordered eating behaviors. In spite of this, there are still things I don’t exactly “love” about the skin I’m in. I’m not super enthused about the fact that I don’t fit into some of the pants I wore back in the day. I don’t dance around on instagram in a bikini and use the hashtag #donthatetheshake. (But I’ve got mad respect for women that do.) Every time someone comments on how “strong” my arms and back look, I get a little self conscious because I know they don’t look feminine in the traditional sense. I still wish that I could work out in cute little strappy sports bras, or not completely fall out of a lacy bralette. And don’t even get me started on my feet.

So no, I wouldn’t say that I run around loving my body all of the time. Spoiler alert: you don’t have to either! I think it’s kind of ambitious to expect that we could all just do that. But I DO think you can still call yourself body positive anyway. More importantly, you can still treat yourself like someone you love, even if there are parts of yourself that you can’t quite get on board with just yet. So how on earth do you “love your body”, when you can barely even say that you like it half the time? I’m still trying to figure that out too. In the meantime, here are some of my brightest ideas for how to get started.

34 ways to treat yourself like you love yourself:
  1. Check in with yourself. Are you tired? Hungry? Thirsty? Anxious? Itchy? Do what you need to do to get yourself back in balance.
  2. Move your body in a way that feels good to you, regardless of how many calories it burns.
  3. Set a fitness goal that has nothing to do with dropping a dress size.
  4. Cut yourself some slack if your goals take longer to achieve than expected, or you decide to change them a little.
  5. Declare yourself Queen of the Bada$$es because you did something really awesome and new in your group fitness class.
  6. Skip out on your workout because you are tired AF and you want to cuddle your dog in bed.
  7. Take a nap in the middle of the afternoon.
  8. Make a green smoothie because greens are good for you.
  9. Eat the pizza because it’s delicious and YOLO.
  10. Move the hell on after the pizza, even though you still aren’t quite sure of your position on gluten.
  11. Try out a new recipe. Or maybe an old family recipe for one of your favorite childhood foods.
  12. Paint your nails.
  13. Take an epsom salt bath for your sore muscles.
  14. Drink a Moscow mule in the bathtub.
  15. Decide that traditional self-care methods are stupid, and do it your own way. Sing Alanis Morissette at the top of your lungs in the shower maybe?
  16. Give yourself a few brownie points for even showering at all today.
  17. Make your bed, brush your hair, and call it self-care. It doesn’t have to be extravagant to count.
  18. Literally treat yo’self, just because. Maybe a new tank top at Target or a nitro cold brew coffee? (They’ll both cost about the same $12. 😛 )
  19. Wear your favorite outfit.
  20. Wear comfortable shoes because you can’t even with heels anymore.
  21. Give yourself permission to buy the size clothes that fit you today, and feel free to rip out the tag if it still makes you feel bad.
  22. Accentuate the positive! Focus on the things you like about yourself and wear things that highlight them. Even if right now that only means your dazzling eyes or your shapely calves.
  23. Shift your focus from your appearance to all the other things that make you awesome. Like your amazing writing skills, or the fact that you are a great relationship therapist for your friends.
  24. Look at things that you think are beautiful. Outside, in a museum, or even just on Pinterest.
  25. Bring some of that beauty into your home or workplace. (Flowers, art, a candle or essential oil that smells pretty?)
  26. Watch your favorite TV show, movie, or some amusing YouTube videos.
  27. Take a social media hiatus.
  28. Sign up for a workshop or class in something you’ve always wanted to learn more about.
  29. Read a book that you’ve been meaning to check out.
  30. Make plans to get together with friends for a girls night.
  31. Say “no” to going out because you’d rather stay home and have a date with your pajamas and couch.
  32. Catch yourself in moments of negative self-talk. Call yourself out on your own BS. If you wouldn’t say it to your mom, sister, daughter, or BFF, don’t say it to yourself either.
  33. When someone compliments you, believe it and say thank you instead of shooting it down.
  34. Settle for neutrality. If you can’t totally get on board with self-love today, don’t beat yourself up about it.

#34 is is key. I’m sure that there are people out there who genuinely feel like they love their bodies. Maybe you are one of them, and if so I’d love to know your journey to getting there. For the rest of us, I think it’s totally fine to be a work in progress. Treating yourself like you’d treat someone you love is a great start. If you have other things that work for you, please share in the comments!