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  • Writer's picturePaige Smathers

Your Body isn't for Manipulating: It's for Living your Full and Beautiful Life

We get bombarded with messages that our bodies need changing. That if we only tweaked this or that about our body (through food and/or exercise) we'd be happy, healthy, people would like us, we would be worthy of love and connection and more.

The way we feel about our bodies is integral to how we feed them, rest them, move them, and care for them. This is why body image and media literacy is such a huge part of the work I do with clients as they heal their relationship with food.

A few days ago, I had the enormous pleasure of putting on a workshop called Body of Evidence: Separating fact from fiction in world of fad diets and faulty body image fixes. I co-presented with the team at Beauty Redefined®—Lindsay and Lexie Kite, PhD—along with the fabulous Jessie Hoffman, PhD.

Jessie went first and presented about what she used to think about nutrition before studying it and then showed us how her mind has changed after a decade of study. One of the main things she's changed her mind about over the years is that bodies don't need manipulated—in fact, they do much better when we connect with them, honor them and treat them well with regular, balanced meals. No need to over-think nutrition: consistency, kindness, connection and satisfaction will do. And all of that was coming from someone who holds a PhD in nutritional sciences!

Lindsay and Lexie went next. They talked about their signature and life-changing topics about bodies and beauty. They shared their personal story of the shame they felt in their bodies and talked about how they used that pain to study about and ultimately found a non-profit that helps people around the world develop resilience about body image. They are inspiring and powerful women! Check out their TedxTalk here:

Lindsay and Lexie have a mantra that I've seen change people's lives: My body is an instrument, not an ornament.

I love their work because it’s pretty revolutionary to realize that your body is for living your full and beautiful life, not for others’ viewing pleasure. Recognizing that your purpose on this earth extends so much further than attaining a certain size or aesthetic. Waking up to the idea that you have so much goodness to offer this world and you can tap into that so much easier when you stop fretting about how you look and start living in your body, using it for the things that matter most to you. I spoke last and connected what Jessie, Lindsay and Lexie talked about so well to how we approach food. This all connects to food and eating in such an important way: when you realize that your body is an instrument, it makes a whole lot of sense to care for that instrument with regular, consistent, satisfying nourishment. When you know you’re more than a body, you can start to care for it in a way that makes sense and is grounded in love and care just like you would care for someone else you love. And the best part: you start really engaging fully in the things you hold most dear.

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