As a woman, be confident and feel sensual within your own body. Really, own it. It does wonders for your self esteem, your projection to the world and your marital relationship. But I know that for so many women, feeling good about their bodies and looking in the mirror without criticizing is far from reality.
Maybe it’s the impossible standards of perfection that we set upon ourselves or just being afraid of feeling sensually empowered regardless of how you look. A trim waist and tight thighs is a great asset to have but the confidence and lightness needs to come from within. The lightness that comes from being at ease with your body and not being afraid of sensual movements.
How we feel about our physical appearance has a huge impact on our mental well-being. And I don’t say that lightly. Through speaking and coaching women, I’ve seen that being unhappy with your body can really bring you down and affect other areas in your life. Something as joyful as a family celebration becomes a dreaded anticipation of ‘what if they comment on my size again?’ And it’s not always about the size of your body. For a long time I genuinely believed I had a ton of weight to lose despite being almost underweight. Even though everyone around me was telling me to eat and put some weight on, I couldn’t see past the parts of my body that I wasn’t completely happy with.
So how do I feel good in my body?
It began subconsciously with a shift in the way I viewed my food. This topic deserves a full blog post (which is coming soon inshaAllah). When I began to eat better, I felt better. When I nourished my body from the inside, it rewarded me with feeling lighter, in tune with myself and overall happier. Instead of regretting over that ice cream, I was buzzing over sipping my hardcore green juice, which I love and will share the recipe soon!
But the underlying principle is that I take care of my body.
I mean really, really take care of it. That means eating home-made, fresh meals sprinkled with love on a daily basis and indulging without guilt. It also means enjoying and savouring your meals so that you don’t feel deprived. So that you have the body/energy you want without having to compromise on taste. Think grilled, crispy salmon served with mashed sweet potato with a lime, coriander, chilli dressing and marinated kale and pomegranate salad on the side. It really does taste delicious!
When you put so much dedication and love into honouring your body, it’s hard not to feel happy with it. The best thing is when you make healthier choices with your food, movement and rest and actually ENJOY doing it, your body begins to reward you for those changes.
Whilst making positive changes for my body, I also respect it’s boundaries.
I do this by listening to my body’s needs. If I’m exhausted from a long day, I won’t exercise as hard or leave it completely. You know your body better than any nutrition/fitness plan. So part of feeling good in your body is listening to what it needs. Similarly, if I’m genuinely craving a chocolate bar or my mum’s curry, I’ll eat it with no hesitation or guilt. It comes back to listening to your body.
The other habit that helped immensely is that I dry body brush regularly. I am in love with this! Everyday before you jump into the shower, take your body brush and stroke your body in long, upward strokes starting from the feet and moving towards your heart. The benefits include improving circulation, lymphatic drainage, removes dead skin, clogged pores etc.*
For me the biggest benefit is that I feel incredibly light and energized afterwards. Plus my skin becomes incredibly smooth and soft. Spending just 5 minutes a day to dry body brush makes you notice and appreciate your body. It’s a beautiful act of self-care.
Lastly, I look at health not just weight. It’s taken me a long and I’m still working on this. It’s about being healthy for the sake of energy and well-being not just to look good. Taking care of my body so that my digestive system can function efficiently and not just for the sake of clear, glowing skin. When you focus on health, you appreciate what a magnificent body you have. How at this very moment your body is running hundreds of complex processes just to keep you alive. This incredible system we have is a reflection of the ultimate magnificence and wisdom of Allah. The more I learn about the human body, the more I’m in awe of how intricate and amazing it all is.
Feeling good in your body comes down to looking beyond your physical appearance. Though it’s not about ignoring your physical appearance either. It’s a balance between nourishing it and appreciating it for beyond it’s current size.