Gratitude Practice: 5 Ways to Make Peace With Your Body

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What should I eat? How much should I eat? What does it mean to be nourished? How can I learn to be satisfied? These are questions that Berkeley, California-based writer Dayna Macy–a self-professed food lover and lifelong overeater–asked herself before embarking on a year-long journey toward making peace with food.

You can read about her food trials and adventures in her recent memoir, which is aptly titled Ravenous: A Food Lover’s Journey from Obsession to Freedom. Instead of heading to diet manuals, Macy goes on adventures, visiting with farmers, foragers, butchers, and chocolatiers to find out where her food really comes from. She comes out of the experience 30 pounds lighter–a result that she says comes from having made peace with food, but also with her body. “I learned a lot -about self-kindness, about balance, and about gratitude for the skin I’m in. In fact, it wasn’t until I began embracing my body that I also began to lose weight,” says Macy. We asked her to share some wisdom from her experience:

1. Embrace Your Shape. We are not meant to all look the same! I’ve always been curvy–even when I was younger and thinner. There are many forms of beauty and they all deserve a place at the table. One size never has, and never will, fit all.

2. Seek Balance, Not Perfection. Perfection is the enemy of the good, and only as real as we make it. We suffer when we seek some image of beauty at the expense of being our best selves. When I started my weight-loss journey, I wore a size 18. Today, I wear a size 12. My body feels strong, balanced, and alive.

3. Practice Kindness, Not Judgment. I truly believe that no healthy, lasting change is born from negativity. No matter what you weigh or what size you wear, your body knows if you approach it with respect or contempt and will respond accordingly. Your body has taken you though your entire life and it deserves your appreciation and respect.

4. Celebrate Your Strengths. We all have fabulous qualities to celebrate. You may not love every single aspect of your body, but surely you like some things. Are your legs strong? Do they take you where you need to go? Do you like your hands? The same hands that hold loved ones and cook your meals? Take time to praise and celebrate your strengths.

5. Practice Gratitude. For years, I dreaded even thinking about my belly. I did all that I could to hide it under loose clothes. But one day, in a heavy-duty yoga class that focused on abdominals, I realized just how strong my belly is — the very same belly that carried and birthed my twins. I felt an enormous sense of gratitude. We are all more than the sum of our parts. In fact, our bodies are downright miracles. They do so much. In return, they deserve our gratitude, thanks, and a deep bow.

For more information on Dayna’s work, go to www.daynamacy.com.

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