Let’s be honest about something here: It’s much, much easier for all of us to live in our heads than to live in our bodies. As a culture, we prize analysis over intuition, data over sensory experience, any day. That’s why we love our “experts” so much, especially those who feel compelled to tell us that counting calories, or logging hours in the gym, or eating the latest food bar, is the best way to take care of our bodies.
And the more forcefully someone tells us, “This is the way,” the more compliant and obedient we tend to become. At least for a while. When we sign up for the expert of the moment’s program—whether it be one designed to help us lose weight, train for a marathon, or build our business—we often check our own best instincts and fiercely feminine intelligence at the door.
Pile onto this blind reverence for expert advice the media-manufactured expectations of what a woman’s body is allegedly supposed to look like, and we might as well just give up on ourselves now.
It’s no fun being constantly bombarded with images of size double-zero models, these slightly alien-looking women who’ve been airbrushed and photoshopped into angular Barbie doll shapes that have absolutely no relationship to what women actually look like. The only thing this fantasy-body hype has done for us is to further alienate us from our own bodies, our own physical wisdom. We look at ourselves in the mirror and see that we are “wrong.”
Therefore, whatever needs arise out of this obviously damaged body must also be wrong. What we feel in our bodies is absolutely at odds with what is going into our media-saturated heads. And because of this, most women I know have a horrible, shame-based relationship with their own bodies.
Well, it’s time for that to stop.
We’ve already explored a bit about how the brain responds to some of the basic cues your body sends out that are related to hunger or cravings. But what about the messages your brain sends to your body about your physical appearance?
Is your brain telling your body the truth? Is it working to help you feel more at home and comfortable in your own skin? Or does it cling to the crazy, inhuman standards that are fed to it by the media or by the incessant voices of our overly critical mothers or our own self-loathing?
It’s time to check in with yourself and get really honest about how well you know and love your own body—the body you are in right now. It’s time to find out if your brain is supporting your body’s desires as well as it can. And if it’s not, it’s time to change your mind and bring your brain and your body into healthy alignment. And the only way to do this is to connect them through your heart.
So this week, go on a Media Detox.
Take five days away from the social media, TV shows, and magazines that fill your head with false images and unnatural impressions, and keep you in that deadly comparison mode.
You can’t hear your body, or learn to love it, when you’re always telling yourself how bad it is, how it needs to be fixed, and how you’ve failed over and over again.
Instead of screen time, fill your head with beautiful music, inspiring stories about adventurers and artists and what they’ve overcome, or take that social media hour back from the computer and use it to draw, stretch, or sleep.
What you put into your brain is as important to your weight and well-being as what you eat. Nourish yourself with a five-day stretch of inspiration, not comparison.