Building body respect is all about coming back to our default states, without the pressure of shame or negativity. It takes an unlearning of what society has tried to tell us matters about our bodies and becoming at peace with the fact that your body is just one small piece of who you are.
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Your Body Is One Small Piece Of Who You Are
In this episode, I share with you five of the best ways that you can start to build body respect for yourself and for those around you. Instead of indulging in the shame game, you can start to learn body acceptance and listen to your intuition on a day to day basis with these simple and effective strategies.
Your body is not the most important thing about you, despite what diet culture and society says. By getting clear on the goodness that you have intrinsically, instead of placing a premium on our own bodies and others, you can embrace gratitude for your right here and now body.
Are you ready to start building body respect and get clear on who you are besides just a body? Join us on the episode page and let us know what steps you are taking to create body respect in the comments below.
On Today’s Episode
- Understanding the difference between body positivity and body neutrality (10:37)
- Why you need to stop body checking and measuring yourself and others (16:10)
- Tips for shopping for clothes in a way that fits your here and now body (20:34)
- The importance of constant awareness when creating positive thoughts (23:50)
- How to create new habits and embrace gratitude for your body moving forward (25:20)
Resources Mentioned In This Show
“We can be critical of the diet culture while having compassion for people who are moving through this process on their own.” (6:48)
“Soon after we enter this world, we start to lose our own abilities as an intuitive eater, but that is our default state.” (9:02)
“When you are faced every day with putting on the pair of whatever clothing item is not fitting your here and now body, for a lot of people this only kicks the day off with anxiety and the not good enough-ness” (19:27)
“Your worth is not in the size of your body, it’s not. And I know that that is hard for a lot of us.” (21:36)
“Who are you aside from just your body? Because I bet if you asked your five closest friends who love you to pieces and would do anything for you… I bet if you asked them what they appreciate and love about you the most, they are not going to say what the size of your body is.” (29:02)
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5 Ways To Build Body Respect w/ Steph Gaudreau FULL TRANSCRIPT
This is episode 268 of Harder To Kill radio. On today’s solo episode, I’m going to be digging into five ways to build body respect. Let’s do it. I’m Steph Gaudreau. I help women get stronger, know their worth and take up space without restrictive dieting or exercise as punishment. I’m here to share that you can approach nutrition, fitness, and mindset from a place of nourishment so you begin to trust yourself more deeply. Let’s talk about how to embrace your body and own your power. Now with over two and a half million downloads, this is harder to kill radio.
Hello, welcome back to harder to kill radio. Thanks so much for joining me today. I am so glad you’re here. Thank you for listening to the show today. I’ve got a solo episode for you. It’s a little bit shorter than our guest episodes, but nevertheless going to be hopefully impactful for you and I’m going to be kind of diving into five ways today that you can start building body respect. So this is in the universe of body acceptance and body image and intuitive eating and movement and so on. And so forth. This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but when I work with my coaching clients on intuitive eating and body image, these things are some of the things that we talk about and that really provide different entry points into this universe of becoming more at peace with our bodies instead of fighting them all the time.
So what you hear today hopefully will be a launch point for you, or at least just maybe some different things you haven’t thought about, not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. Before we dive in, a couple of things. First, I would love if you haven’t already done so hit pause and hit subscribe on your podcast app. I know there are many apps out there, um, but almost all of them come with a subscribe button of some sort and just take a moment and hit subscribe. It’s free for you. We don’t charge for the show at all. But when you do that, it will upload the new episodes into your device as soon as they are ruled out in the schedule every Tuesday and it sends a signal that sometimes moves the show a little bit higher up in the rankings or makes the show more visible.
And look, there’s no trophies for, you know, being at the top of the charts. But if there are opportunities for new people to come across the show and for word about the podcast to spread in that very organic way, that really means a ton. So hit subscribe on your podcast app or better yet, tell a friend or loved one about this podcast and encourage them to subscribe and we will grow the community that way. And before we jump into today’s content, today’s show is brought to you by the nutritional therapy association, the NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners like myself. I did the program in 2018 and it was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself professionally. In the realm of nutrition, the NTA emphasizes whole food, properly prepared nutrient dense frameworks as the key to restoring balance in the body.
They’ve just launched a brand new online program for NTPs where students take an in-depth look at things like function and dysfunction of body systems, food quality, health and wellness barriers, emotional wellbeing environment, the importance of sleep and movement and stress and you know, we love all those topics here and how they affect the body. As a student, you’ll be empowered with motivational interviewing techniques, clinical and practical skills and all the most up to date knowledge to become a highly recognized and respected nutrition and wellness professionals in your community. Registration is now open and seats are filling up quickly. You can learn more and save your seat by going to nutritional therapy.com and of course, remember to mention my name on your application.
Alrighty. I don’t know how fiery this is going to get today. I’m feeling a little bit under the weather, but nevertheless, the show must go on and the show must be recorded. And so I’m sort of continuing along the lines of some of the things I’ve been talking about in the last couple months. I’ve started diving into some more intuitive eating stuff for you and if you’re curious about some of the upper other episodes. Wow. I just portmanteau that word. Um, if you’re curious about some of the other episodes I have done on that, you can go back relatively recently in the archives in the last couple of months. You can scroll back and see some of the other shows that I’ve done on that. The most recent one was called how, how to listen to your body and we sort of deconstructed some of the myths out there about listening to your body and hopefully gave you some food for thought to think about how am I going to start doing this and start paying attention to the signals that my body has given me, giving me, of course, related more to intuitive eating.
So I want to continue along that that vein because I’ve had so many people that are asking me about these topics and you know, how do we continue to deconstruct these things? How do we continue to learn some of the things that we’ve learned? How do we continue to build our own awareness and navigate these spaces, right? We are in a diet culture. We are not going to hate on people who are on diets or people who are still entrenched in that way of thinking because we don’t hate individual people who do these things and oftentimes, you know, they don’t know better. I didn’t know better. You probably didn’t know better. And so getting mad at individuals and just shaming them or shutting them up or whatever when it comes to diet culture and what they’re doing isn’t helpful. However, we can still be critical of diet culture itself.
I know that’s not, I know that’s not always the easiest thing to understand is that we can be critical of the diet culture while B, while having compassion for people who are moving through this process on their own. Or let me tell you what, this is an unlearning and unfurling and uncovering and like going through layer upon layer that you didn’t even know that there were other layers beneath it. I continue to learn things about myself. You know, when I was really struggling with things like a very dysmorphic view of my own body, a very negative body image, really hating myself doing a lot of these things that I’m going to talk about in this episode today. I can, you know, even though I moved through a lot of that and, and I have made incredible strides and I don’t feel like I was, I’m the same person that I was a decade ago.
I’ve had to really take a look at things like once I got kind of right with myself in that surface level, I’ve had to look at things like my own internalized fatphobia, for example, and how that was driving a lot of my dysmorphia. A lot of my behaviors, a lot of my beliefs about myself, a lot of my dieting and all of that stuff. Right? So when you start to, and there’s always something deeper that’s going to be there almost always, and this isn’t, this is a process so you can’t learn body acceptance in one day. It’s going to take time. You can’t learn intuitive eating in one day. Even though it is like our innate, it’s like our default. It’s how we were born and for a lot of us very soon after that, right? We, even though our caretakers had our best interests in mind, most of the time they’re still carrying their stuff from diet culture or they’re still carrying things that are their lineage when it comes to dieting or whatever it is.
Like some for a lot of us that comes in and soon we enter this world, we start to lose our own, you know, abilities as an intuitive eater. But that’s our default state. So it’s coming back to that, but it still takes time. All right, so on this episode, I want to talk about five ways you can start building body respect. Now before I dive too much into that, I just want to say there are lots and lots of terms that are used in and around this idea, right? Things like body acceptance, body neutrality, body respect, a body positivity movement, fat acceptance and so on and so forth. And recently somebody um, who I love dearly tagged me in an Instagram comment and said something like, you know, I’m a very bad body positivity, body positivity, fitness, uh, you know, pro person. And I just um, I had to say, you know, I appreciate that.
I just want to make a clarification. Um, I am supportive of the body palsy, positivity movement. I can’t talk today. I’m not feeling well, but, um, I’m supportive of the body positivity movement 100%. Um, I am supportive of health at every size. I am supportive of intuitive eating. What I am not is I am not somebody who is in the body positivity movement because this is a social movement that was created by people in larger bodies and plus-sized bodies in fat bodies to reclaim their rights as people who do not deserve to be treated any less than because of their body size. So I just want to make that distinction because um, a lot of times now it’s been, you know, it’s been lost and the, the meaning many times, sometimes very innocently, but it’s also been co-opted by people in thin passing bodies. So people who are, have thin privilege people are who are in straight sized bodies, which means you can walk into virtually any store and find clothes that will fit you.
You can go on an airplane and not have to think about whether or not you will fit comfortably in this seat and so on and so forth. Um, there are lots of people who use the hashtag body positivity or they talk about their bodies as body positive body positivity when they’re in thin passing bodies or straight size bodies. And that’s diluting the original intention of the body positivity movement. So body neutrality when I talk about this is a way of saying like body acceptance, coming to a place of appreciating what your body can do or is doing for you without, um, loving your body. 24 seven which has I think is sometimes conflated with what body positivity is. But again, there we also this thing where we, we should learn about things if we’re not sure where they come from. Learn about it. Google is very handy and you can find tons of information.
So I, you know, I people, I don’t think that the average listener to this show will think that this is being nitpicky and it’s just important to call things accurately to say things with accuracy because if not, then it removes the intention of the original, removes the intention of the original movement. And it puts the emphasis on people who already have, like for example, in the body positivity movement, when a person in a thin body like myself, if I were to post, you know, pictures like showing like purposely emphasizing fat rolls or something like that. Um, that’s not body positivity in terms of the movement. Now that doesn’t mean that people in all size bodies can’t experience things like disordered eating, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, body image issues, body negativity, right? Like poor self esteem and so on and so forth, right? Those things can all be a, can all affect so many different people.
So I think it’s just important to know all of this. And I’m sure that I’m not explaining it the most eloquently I possibly could, but this is just my way of saying, you know when we’re talking about this stuff, if you hear me not saying things like body positivity, this is why it’s important to be accurate. So all of that aside, when it comes to body respect, I do want to talk about these five things. So a lot of people that I work with, whether it’s in my small group coaching for intuitive eating or it is me shepherding through a group of people through the Core 4 program or interacting with my Facebook group, there are so many people now who realize that the scale for them and getting on the scale every single day is not a healthy behavior for them mentally and they’re like, okay, so I threw out my scale or I’ve stopped, I’ve stopped stepping on my scale quite as much, or I put my scale in the closet and I’m not getting on it all the time and going through that mental hell that I’m putting myself through and I completely understand that because that was my life.
I’m getting on the scale every day, if not multiple times a day, and then being absolutely crushed if it didn’t go down or it went up and me and him temporarily elated when it went down. Now there are a lot of people who are sort of, they’re like, okay, I’m taking these steps. I’m making these strides, and that can be a wonderful first step. Now, if you’re somebody who’s like, I don’t, you know, the scale to me is a neutral tool. Great. I’m not talking to you like I just wanted like bring that up. Hey, you know what? If you’re cool with the scale, cause you’ve done the inner work and you’ve done the work that you need to do to, to know that your self worth does not come from the scale and that the scale cannot be the be all end all signal of your health and wellbeing.
Cool. This conversation doesn’t apply to you. I hear this a lot. Well, I’m okay with this scale. That’s great. I’m happy. I’m happy for you. But there are a lot of people for whom that is not the case a lot. I talk to them literally every day. So a lot of people have let go of the scale, but they’re still engaging in a lot of these other behaviors. And yes, it is a process, but hopefully, this podcast will direct your awareness to other places. Now the first, um, the first way that you can start building more body respect is to stop what’s called body checking. Now I used to body check in addition to weigh myself and my primary body check. So body checking is this like self-examination of your body typically for things like your size and for a lot of people, uh, this has to do with how much body fat they have.
This was my experience personally, although there is a condition called bigorexia, which is where you’re just checking your muscles, um, to see how big they are. And the fear is that the muscles, like our muscles, aren’t big enough. So just wanted to mention that. But body checking, typically for most of the people I work with and for myself personally has to do with body fat or the overall size of different parts of your body and measuring it up somehow. For me, it was, uh, I would use my hands, my fingers as calipers and I would pinch the fat on my inner thighs specifically that, you know, my legs were the thing I hated the most. So, of course, I would zoom in on how much fat was, you know, on my inner thighs. And I was constantly, constantly body checking. So if you’re constantly like poking at different parts of your body, prodding your body fat, using your body, you know, using your fingers as calipers, comparing how your body, you know, it’s not wrong to look in the mirror y’all, okay, it’s not wrong to look in the mirror.
But if you do this, you’ll know what I mean, where you’re like, I don’t weigh myself right now and I say this with a hundred percent compassion and love and I’ve been there. You’re like, I’m not weighing myself, but I’m doing all these other behaviors and that is still monitoring, still monitoring how your body looks. Now I think related to this is also, you know, keeping that pair of clothing or a pair of pants or keeping that specific shirt or that specific bra around or whatever it is, and using that as a measure, even if that item of clothing doesn’t quite fit you anymore. And we’ll talk about that in a little bit. So one way to build your body respect is to stop body checking. Now for some people, this doesn’t happen overnight, but I would challenge you to think about this. When I body check more often, does this only serve to increase my anxiety or my hyper-awareness of my body and it not being good enough?
And if the answer is yes, then that’s a place to start looking. So that’s number one related to that and I kind of already alluded to it, is get clothes that fit your here and now body. So if you are holding onto all of the clothes that are too small for you or some people hold onto clothes that are too large for them. Um, personal style aside, and I’ve talked about this in a prior episode, we’ll link it in the show notes and there is lots of privilege that comes with being able to go out and get new clothes. But when you are faced every day with putting on the pair of, you know, whatever clothing item is not fitting your here and now body. For a lot of people, this only kicks the day off with anxiety and the not good enough notice. And maybe you start with one in one clothing item that you wear a lot.
I think we need a lot fewer clothes than we think we do. A, if you love clothing, great. Like clothes for me are more usually functional and comfort-based. I don’t love shopping. That’s just my personal thing. I kept like two pairs of jeans. I’m cool with that. So maybe if you wear jeans a lot, start with one pair of jeans or start with like getting a top that you may see. Like you feel super good in it. Like it just makes your body feel really good. Um, but when you are using those clothes, those clothes as a measure of, you know, how far your body still has to go. Or if I could only get back to that pair of pants or that dress or you know, that jacket that I loved. Um, keeping it around is a mental reminder and an emotional just fucks with you emotionally of how, how much you are not, you’re not-enoughness and getting clothes, wearing clothes that are too small because you’re not, you don’t want to face going.
And I get it. Dressing rooms are fucking horrible for the most part, right? The overhead lighting is not flattering. Quote, flattering on anyone. If you know anything about lighting, you’ll know that. And it’s like the cover of a Queen album. Um, it’s uncomfortable, it’s cold, the floor is dirty. I mean the mirrors like the whole, the whole nine yards. So shopping for clothes might not be your favorite thing, but if you can get clothes, at least a couple of items that fit your here and now body sizing. We know sizes, clothing sizes are a complete mind. Fuck, we know that. And your worth is not in the size of your body. It’s not. And I know that that’s hard to accept for a lot of us like that. We’re not bad people if we are getting bigger or if our bodies change or whatever, or we get sick and our bodies get smaller.
Like we’re not bad people. It’s not something bad about us. And it’s hard to, to, it’s hard to relax into that when you have a society and a diet culture telling you the complete opposite. Right. But that can be a way that you can increase your body respect, get clothes that fit your hearing. Nobody, especially when clothes are rarely constrictive and restrictive and do things like impede your ability to breathe or can cut into your like your abdomen and make like make your guts hurt or there’s just so many things that can make you ultra, ultra uncomfortable. Fashion aside, you know, I’ve put on heels from time to time and I’m like suffering for this fashion. Um, but in your day to day wear clothes that, that make you comfortable and they make you feel comfortable in your body and everybody’s fashion sense is going to be a bit different.
All right, number three, begin to catch and reframe negative statements about yourself. And I’ve talked about this on many different episodes before, here and there, but again, we’re talking about five ways to build your body respect. Here’s the thing, your thoughts and words drive how you feel and how you feel influences your actions. It’s also something you can feel like our emotions are something we feel in our bodies. We feel emotions in our bodies. Everyone knows the feeling of embarrassment, your cheeks burn with shame. We know that feeling. We know the feeling of, I don’t know, seeing a loved one for the first time in a really long time and feeling that elation in our chest or the butterflies in our stomach before we go on a scary roller coaster. We can feel that stuff in our body, but when we are constantly hooking in, call it hit looking in and going for a ride with our negative thoughts about our bodies.
This is not helping us move forward in terms of how we feel about ourselves nor our actions. So yes, changing our thoughts again, is this generally not an overnight process? It tastes awareness, awareness. You have to even be consciously aware of what you’re saying to yourself. Like what was my thought just there and then did I treat that thought as if it were true and then change my actions like I feel a certain way and then I changed my actions accordingly. Now for a lot of people, reframing to something that’s positive and like Pollyanna and cheerleading doesn’t work if that works for you. Great. I know some really super fucking positive people and that’s just their baseline. That’s how they are, and they’re lovely people, lovely, lovely individuals, and they’re not faking it. They’re just like they are just that way. Well, for a lot of people trying to flip to the hundred or one 80 right?
The a hundred percent complete opposite statement or feeling is super hard because your subconscious brain is just like bullshit, bullshit, right? This is not, this is just so far from reality, so I recommend reframing to something neutral about your body. This could be something you’re grateful for. This could be a neutral statement about what your body is able to do right now. Now, what it could do five years ago. Let’s not go back to that trap, right? Oh, well I used to be able to run a six-minute mile and now I can only, right. You can see how that train of thought goes. I used to be able to do this and now blah, blah, blah. Right? Like it now is never good enough because here’s the thing, negative thinking as motivation, which a lot of us have developed as just a mechanism for getting by is never does not produce sustainable results and it may see your mind a complete wreck.
It is the worst, it’s the worst feeling and we get habitual about it. So how do we create new habits? We become aware, right? We reframe, we get something neutral if that’s, if it’s too hard to be positive right now and we move forward. Okay, so number four, remove accounts. This is social media-wise and like T V wise media consumption wise. Remove this stuff that obsessive Lee talks about weight. If your favorite show is the biggest loser, stop watching. If you’re trying to build body respect, this following of weight loss, accounts of weight loss, TV shows of PR personalities or celebrities who are constantly going on and on about weight loss. If you’re trying to build body respect and you’ve been struggling with this stuff, that stuff is not motivating. It’s only going to feed the comparison trap. It’s not, trust me on this one.
You can always mew and go back later if you’re like cheese. I didn’t realize how much this is actually a positive force in my life that if you get this inner sense like ask yourself, you know you will innately know. You’ll intuitively know is this serving me or not? And if the answer is no, mute it, unfollow it, turn it off, find something else to watch because it’s only serving to remind you of what you’re not of how much you still have to go and it’s not motivating when that comparison comes up. And then the last one, start journaling or meditating on who are you besides a body, and I’ve talked about this recently as well, but I wanted to flush it out a bit more. Who are you aside from? Just your body
because I bet if you asked your five closest friends who love you to pieces and would do anything for you, right? These are like the three to five people that if you called them in the middle of the night and you had an emergency, they were coming for you. Not your like Fairweather friends or some random fucking acquaintance on social media. They’re like, you’re five people. You’re three to five people. Maybe you do this exercise with them. I don’t know, but I bet if you asked them what they appreciate and love about you the most, they’re not going to say what the size of your body is. Big, small, tall, short, fat, thin, muscular, not muscular, strong, not strong, whatever. I would guarantee that they’re not gonna list out those, that they’re not going to list those things about you and look, we have a body. We walk around in a body or we get around in a body or we live in a body. Depending on our ability. We are all existing here on planet earth in a body, right?
Regardless of what your body can currently, your skill level, your able-bodied, newness, you’re still here in a body, okay? It is part of how you experience life on this planet, but it’s not the only thing about you and we have made, we die a culture. Society has made the body the most important thing and look, I get it. We want to feel good in our bodies. If we don’t feel good, we’re chronically ill where you know, mentally struggling, it’s going to be hard to feel good about life. It’s a challenge and that’s putting it mildly. But we are so much more than that. So yes, respecting, taking care of accepting this physical house that we’re in is a piece of it. It is not the only thing about you start meditating on that or journaling on it or talking to the people you trust the most about this. Get clearer on what you, what goodness you have, the things about you that make you who you are.
I doubt most people when they, you know, Hey, do you know step? Yeah, she’s this like five foot, three Brown-haired, you know, Brown-eyed lady who blah blah blah. Right? Like we don’t identify each other that way and yet that’s oftentimes what we, the premium that we put on ourselves is our body is our end. Look. You’re, if you like to dye your hair, paint your nails, wear makeup, whatever, that’s okay, that’s fine. But are you doing it for yourself because you enjoy it or are you doing it cause you feel like you have to to be worthy to great. Same outcome I put on makeup or I do this with my hair or whatever.
Very different energy and intention behind that. So yes, eating the foods that make you feel good in your body. Awesome diet being the most important thing about your life. Hopefully not. It’s a piece. It’s a part, but there are many parts that makeup who you are. Okay, so recapping really quickly. Five ways to build body respect, stop body checking, get close a fit your hearing now body reframe negative thinking to something neutral. Remove accounts and other media that obsessively talk about weight and start getting clearer on who you are besides just a body. Let me know what you think. If you want to give me some feedback, the best place to do that is in the Core 4 club on Facebook. That’s our private community. You can ask to join. There are some simple questions. It’s just to make sure we’re all on the same page. You can do that at Core 4 club on Facebook, and as I mentioned, please hit the subscribe button on your podcast app. All right, I’ll be back next week for another episode and until then, be well!