Reconnect with your Body

Have you ever caught your reflection in a shop window and wondered who was staring back at you?  Have you ever seen a photo and not recognised yourself?  If we are unhappy with our bodies, or feel let down by them, we can disconnect.  To try and protect ourselves we distance from that overweight person in the mirror and our bodies become strangers.  This can sabotage our efforts at weight loss.  Being disconnected from our body can mean we fail to read its signals - when are we truly hungry?  When are we truly full?  What food makes us feel energised?  Do we need to move or rest?  Do we need more water or more sleep?  Less caffeine or less sugar?  When we stop listening, we stop responding and we can overeat, under fuel and fail to give our bodies what they need to be healthy.

Often being over weight can cause a disconnection between our body and our mind.  Our body can become foreign and distant.

Reconnect with your body

Staying connected with our body can be difficult if we are unhappy with it.  But when we truly know our body we can care for it. We will care more about a friend in need than a stranger.  The closer we are with people, the more we want to look after them.  The same is true with our own body.   We will want to care for it more if we know it well.  We need to reconnect with our body, take the blinders off, be honest about what we’re dealing with, kind about the improvements that we’d like to see and gentle with our progress.

Take a good look in the mirror

OK, so strip down to your underwear (or whatever you feel comfortable in), stand in front of the mirror and reintroduce yourself. 

Your conversation might go something like this.  

“Hi Catherine, nice to see you again.  Sorry I haven’t been a very good friend. 

Sorry I’ve been neglecting you, sorry I’ve been unkind to you. 

Sorry I’ve stopped listening to you.”

 This might be a difficult conversation to have with yourself, because your head may be full of noisy negatives; “look at those rolls”, “where did my waist go”, “goodness my thighs are fat”. But speaking harshly to yourself won’t do anything except make you disconnect further from your body.  Remember that we need to treat ourselves with kindness if we are going to be successful at weight loss.  We need to lose weight because we love our bodies not because we hate them.  It is only once you treasure your body and want to look after it that you will be motivated to take the necessary steps.  So, approach this exercise and your body like you would a good friend - with kindness, compassion and understanding.

What do you like?

Next look for one or two parts of your body that you like.  If you've had years of hating your body, you might find this step very difficult, but you will be able to find something.  Do you have nice arms?  Nice feet?  Do you like your hair?  Your eyes?  Your shoulders.  Stand there until you find something.  Challenge all the negative nonsense that might come up as you try to find a positive, tell the critical voice to be quiet.  

Now, put your hand on that part of you and work through these three steps... 

“Thank you”
“How can I help?”


Thank you shoulders for looking pretty in that new jacket.  Thank you for carrying me around, for keeping me upright, for holding my head up. 

Sorry if I haven’t told you lately how much I like you.  Sorry if I have been slumping over my desk, and that I haven't had a good stretch in a while. 

What can I do to help?  Can I sit a bit straighter at my computer?  Can I get a massage?"

Now that you've practiced being nice to a part of you that you like, let's move onto something even harder.

Put your hand on your stomach

Arghh you might say!!! This might be really challenging.  But do it!  Now, with your hand on your stomach, re-introduce yourself to your stomach.  

Now we repeat...

“Thank you” 
“How can I help?”


“Hi stomach.  OK, you’re not as flat as I would like and there are a few rolls I can feel"

"But thank you for digesting food so I can stay healthy and get energy."

"I’m sorry if I sometimes put food in you that isn’t helpful or that I over eat.  Sorry that I sometimes don’t listen to you and I eat when I’m not hungry or eat foods that don’t make me feel great."

"How can I help treat you better?"

I am going to try and ask you before I eat and double check that I am truly hungry (instead of bored, worried, sad or mad). 

I am going to only feed you food that makes you feel good.  I am going to treat you like I would treat a friend.”

Act of kindness

Now, as strange as it seems, moisturise your entire body!  As you spread the moisturiser over your legs, your arms, your stomach (yes!  don't forget your stomach) do it with gratitude - thankful that this body of yours is carrying you through life; that your legs can walk you around the block; that your arms can hug those that you love.  As you pass over each part of your body say "thank you", "I'm sorry" and "how can I help?".  

Being grateful for our bodies and touching it with compassion (even if there are parts of it we are unhappy with) can bring about a new connection between mind and body.  The stronger that connection is, the more likely we are to take care of our bodies.  It may be strange and uncomfortable when you first try this, but have faith, the simple act of moisturising your body, if you keep the ritual up, will make you more likely to love, respect and listen to your body.  Give it a go.  As you get good at this you can extend that care to other things; taking hot baths, doing some stretches, getting a new hair cut, eating yummy salads.  The more you care for your body, the more successful your weight loss efforts will be.