For the last few years the question of “can you love your body but still want to change it”, has caused me a lot of conflicts. Conflicts, which has resided in me both personally and within my business.
As someone who is a body love coach, who advocates for body love at any size, and who has a good relationship with my own body but still at times wants to change it.
I’ve found it incredibly difficult to answer the question.
However, after pondering this question for quite some time now I finally reached a conclusion.
In one of my recent posts Body Love and Self-Love what the hell are they, I repeatedly mention that body love and self-love are processes and practices, where no end destination exists.
There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that you reach and all of a sudden you’re the epitome of body love (or self-love for that matter).
Given that body love is a process and a practice, the answer is YES. You can, of course, love your body and still want to change it.
Change is inevitable; it can be deliberate or fluid but either way, it’s happening every day in life and with our bodies.
Body love isn’t conditional; this is something that is really important to note. You can love your body now, love your body through it’s fluctuations and love your body then.
But there’s a catch – a big catch.
You’ve got to be aware of what your wants are and where you’re wants are coming from.
It’s super important that wanting to change your body comes from a place of love instead of fear. Or in other words, you want to change your body from a place of self-improvement instead of a place of self-hate.
So, what does changing your body from a place of self-improvement look like?
It could be mixing up your diet in a way that works for you, or increasing your exercise regime because you have a desire to feel more energetic and fit.
This is changing from a place of loving your body because your desire isn’t met with a condition. Desiring to feel more energetic and fit is an ongoing process which I don’t believe can’t be met with a condition, such as I’ll love my body more when I feel energetic and fit.
It’s not, I need to change my body to be loved or I need to change my body to be happy.
Changing your body as a means to achieve the desired outcome, such as feeling more loved or to be happy:
Being thinner, being more toned, changing your body in order to feel happier, more loveable or more worthy – JUST DOESN’T WORK. Yes, there might be a fleeting moment in which you feel these things, but the feeling is only temporary.
Our bodies are not responsible for our happiness, loveable-ness, and worthiness.
To think our bodies need to change in order to feel such things is conditional body love. It’s a want to change from a place of self-hatred.
It’s ineffective because your body will never reach a point where you think it is enough. It can’t provide you with the happiness, love, and worthiness that you expect from it.
So, how can you tell whether your wants are coming from a place of self-improvement or self-hate?
Listen to your self-talk. I can’t stress this enough.
If you find yourself thinking that changing your body is the key to happiness, then take that as a red flag that you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
We can love our bodies and still want to change them. But it’s important to determine and unpack our motives for doing so.