Intuitive Eating Principle #8: Respect your body
“Your body, as it is in this present moment, is worthy of care and respect.”
When I heard this for the first time, it really hit me. I realized how much of my actions done towards my body in the name of health actually showed I did not truly respect it. I always thought, “When my body finally looks x way/reaches x weight, then I’ll be happy with it; then I’ll respect it.”
But here’s the truth:
If you don’t believe now that your body is worth respecting, you never will. It doesn’t matter how much your body changes.
I hear a lot of talk about “body love.” Honestly, I struggle with that. It’s tough some days to look in the mirror and truly say that I love my body, and that’s why I like the word respect a lot more. The cool thing about body respect is that you don’t have to absolutely love every single part of your body… but you do:
- Appreciate what your body is able to do for you
- Realize you deserve to be fed
- Wear clothes that fit comfortably
- Move in ways that feel good to you
Body respect also means recognizing that we’re not all meant to have the same body.
As an analogy, think about how we each have a shoe size. We would never purposely try to fit in a shoe size that’s not ours…so why do we do that with our bodies? Some people are genetically predispositioned to have larger bodies, and most of us will never have the thin, lean, “ideal” body that our culture sells us (without going to unhealthy extremes).
Research is suggesting that we each have a certain “set point” at which our weight is genetically programmed to fall. It’s different for everyone, but when we try to force our bodies to be smaller or bigger than they were made to be, we’re working against our design. When you are truly listening to your hungry/full signals and eating what you crave, your body will eventually find your set point by itself. How cool is that?
Respecting your body can be hard — I know this concept is one of the toughest for me personally. But something I try to remember is that if I reduce my identity to my body size, I’m believing a lie. My personality, my relationships, and my values set me apart as a person, and those things matter way more than my physical appearance.
Bodies are vessels, not identities.
And if you’re a Christian, your body is a vessel for something amazing — God Himself. In 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, it says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
How crazy is it that God himself could live inside of you? That he would think of your body as a place worth settling in? If you believe the Bible is true, you have to value your body, because God values it infinitely more than you can imagine.
If we understand our identity does not come from our bodies, we can accept the bodies we are currently living in and treat them with respect, even if they aren’t our “ideal.” And we can still live the life we were always created to live.
To see my next post on principle #9: “exercise — feel the difference,” click here!