#103 How to Learn to Love Your Body

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When you think of unhealthy or toxic relationships, do you ever consider your own body in that equation?

Some people are dedicated and incredibly good to their bodies, but most of us either have issues with it or ignore it altogether, which actually results in abusing it.

But how are you supposed to love something that doesn’t do what you want it to? Something that doesn’t look the way you want it to look, or it gets sick when you don’t want to deal with illness.

Maybe a change in perspective would make it easier to begin improving that relationship. Because even some people who seem to treat their body well aren’t doing it out of love and appreciation for how their body serves them, but there’s often an agenda for how the body should look or perform if you treat it a certain way and when it doesn’t, that relationship can suffer too.

In this show, I’ll tell you how I realized I had to change the way I looked at my body to begin loving it rather than judging it and continuously putting it down. And I’ll also give you a couple of simple tips to get you going down that path of change too.


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Read full transcript below:


This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating low, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go-to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.



Hello, and welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer, and I'm so happy to be here with you today. I have a really great show today. I think it's a really great show. It's a topic that's been coming up a lot lately. And I think it's something that's really important to talk about something that I struggled with a lot and I still struggle with on a regular basis, I have to get my head in the right place when it comes to this, this topic.



And before I jump into it, I just want to say thank you so much for downloading the show for listening. And thank you for the ratings and the reviews you've been leaving for the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. It means so much I know I say it all the time that I want to keep saying it because it is so important. So if you're a regular listener, or if you're a new listener, and you love the show, I would really appreciate if you take the time to leave a rating and review wherever it is that you listen to the show.



And that's it. That's my commercial for today. So, let's jump right into this.



So, we're going to talk about a very special relationship that each of us has. And like any relationship This one is great for some people and not so important for others, until the time comes when that relationship is threatened to Take a turn for the worst, or even to end, right?



A lot of times we take things for granted. And then we're faced with losing something that actually means a lot to us. And we stand up when we start to pay attention. And I'm talking about the relationship that you have with your body.



Now, many of us go through life treating our body badly, right? We braid it. We tell it it's not good enough, not strong enough or fast enough.



It's not curvy enough, or it's too curvy. Its breasts aren't large enough. They're not shaped the right way. The nose isn't cute enough. The eyes aren't the right color. The eyebrows aren't shaped right?



We feed it crap. Some of us smoke or did smoke, we drink, or we don't give it the nutrients that it needs the rest and the exercise that would serve it in the best way. And then in the case like you and I are in our body gets a disease and luckily for us, it still fights for us. Our body pushes through for us, and heals.



It fights to survive.



It fights to live through the toxic treatments required to kill the disease. And then we still condemn our poor body that's trying so hard. Now we come out on the other side, and it doesn't really look, the way that Sports Illustrated tells us is beautiful. So, we don't even want to look at it half the time. And then when we do look at it, we just judge and criticize how it's not up to par.



So, think, think about this, think about this scenario. If your spirit was to meet your body, what would your body say to it? Would it want to be friends? Would it say thank you for being so good to me, feeding me well and making it a priority for me to feel good throughout your life. I'm so lucky to have you.



Or would it say, why are you so much mean to me? I've tried so hard to carry you through everything you want to do in life, and you've rarely shown appreciation for me. What do I need to do to get you to love me and take care of me?



Now I don't say this with judgment towards you because I have been just as guilty of judging and condemning my own body. I've made peace with many of the changes that have happened to my body since going through breast cancer treatment. And I continue to work on making peace with some of the things that I continue to struggle through #menopause.



So according to statistica.com, the beauty industry topped 49 billion US dollars in 2019. And even in 2020, during a pandemic that has shut down a lot of the industry, and that's created so many barriers to shopping for products. It is estimated to exceed that number again this year.



So, don't feel like it's just you or that I'm guilting anyone, because you'll rarely see me on a video without my beloved eyeshadow on. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.



But here's the thing.



You know, I used to hear the phrase, you need to love your body. You're beautiful just as you are. And then I would look at my body, my scars, my cellulite, my once six pack that completely against my will has become a keg. And I would think, so I'm supposed to lie to myself?



I mean, there's some things about my body that don't align with my perception of beauty. But here's what I've realized. Loving your body. it took me a long time to realize this. loving your body doesn't mean looking at yourself and thinking, Hey, I'm one hot mama while you're fighting off tears because you don't really think that and you know you're lying to yourself, lying self never works.



Loving your body means having gratitude for the fact that it's still here. And it may not be perfect depending on your perception of beauty, or someone else's perception that you've decided to subscribe to, but perfect or not, it's part of you, and it carries you through this life.



It's carried you through lack of sleep, illnesses, infections, maybe broken bones, childbirth, it's found its way back to the healthiest point it can get to regardless of how many trips you made throughout your life to Taco Bell, or McDonald's or the donut shop, or how many sodas you've drank over the years, or how little physical activity you've engaged in with it.



Even though your body may have needed something different to support its optimum health. It's pressed on, fought to support you and to stay alive. And as much as I bet our bodies would love to decide on our lifestyles, so they can choose the things that actually make us feel physically good. Our mind really takes over for that part. And due to the fact that our mind and our body together, love the feel good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, we tend to choose foods that give us a little hit of those feel good chemicals, we bite into them.



And actually, there's some really healthy foods that will give us that same hit. But as human beings, we have a tendency to reach for the sugary high fat, more processed foods, we reach for things that will even go beyond that level of normal feel good.



So here's an interesting fact from a study published in 2012 in Psychological Science, the study looked at a group of 66 people, half of whom believed that the mind and body are separate entities, which is referred to as dualism. And half who believed that the mind and body are fundamentally connected to each other, which is referred to as physicalism.



Now what this study found was that those who believed that the mind and body were separate entities not only had less engagement and health related activities, but they actually were more likely to engage in behaviors that could lead to poor health conditions, like eating more unhealthy foods.



Now I can remember when I first started training people as a personal trainer, and how often I would meet women who didn't understand the cue that I would give them and when I would say, tuck your pelvis or draw your shoulder blades down.



And I began to realize for the first time that these women were completely disconnected with their bodies, especially the parts of their bodies that they didn't like. Especially their abdomens, most of them, many of them anything in the pelvic or abdominal area.



So let's talk for a minute about how connected our body actually is with our mind and why it's so important for us to Know that we have to have this complete connection that we are one whole and entire being.



Now I think we typically associate our mind with emotions. But according to an article in Psychology Today by licensed social worker, Sean Grover, he has observed how people store emotions in their bodies for years. And in this article, he talks about what he has seen like back pain arising from stored anger, fear affecting the stomach and intestines, a loss of control leading to headaches, and resentment leading to fatigue.



Now a link to this article in the show notes which you can find at thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/103 because there's lots of other great information in it, and you probably want to check it out.



But for the purposes of this show, it's simply the fact that our bodies and our minds are intricately connected. And learning to feel that connection and love your body for all the ways that have has served you is critical to deep health. And deep health is that complete picture of health. It's comprised of physical, emotional, mental, environmental, relational, and existential wellbeing.



You, as a woman are a complex being, and being connected to all aspects of your health is the foundation of wellness. So, let's talk for a moment about how you can begin connecting to your body. How do you learn to love and appreciate the physical aspect of you, that has brought you to the point where you're listening to this show today?



Well, one way is to practice breath to movement. This is something that is a primary focus in yoga, but you can apply it to any type of movement by just being present in what you're doing. You match a movement to an inhale or an exhale. So, for example, as you lift your arms up over your head, you take in an inhale that lasts through the entire movement. And you can practice speeding that movement up or slowing it down as you lengthen or shorten a breath. And when you do that, you notice how your breath affects your body. It's pretty amazing.



So, this past month in my empower membership, our focus has been on the breath. And some of my members have had profound experiences connecting to the breath and experiencing what the breath opens in the body and the emotions that it releases. And both empower and Revivify members had an incredible experience on this last month, as we were guided through a breathwork session with Tanya Saunders and I'll link to her in this podcast as well because if you want to learn about breath work, she is the queen.



And connecting that breath to your movement. It's just so powerful. So, it's a simple exercise and you can use it when you're walking. You can use it When you're obviously when you're doing yoga, but at any time just noticing your breath as you're moving through your day, and how it connects to the way that your body feels. This is a super important way that kind of really draws us into the moment. Because our breath, our inhale or exhale only happens in the moment and you have to be present to really experience it.



Now, of course, as number two, I'm going to offer you my go to exercise which is journaling. And I know it sounds too easy, but writing about how you feel about your body, what you expect from it, how you talk to it and how you treat it can be a profound experience, no joke.



The foundation of my coaching programs is mindfulness. Because one of the best ways to connect your mind back to your body is by being present in the moment. That includes listening and increasing your awareness of what your body tells you to listen to the signals that actually sentence.



So think about having a delicious meal, the kind of meal that's so good, your mind is getting all kinds of feel good chemical hits, and it's saying, Oh, yeah, give me more of that goodness, and your body is starting to feel miserable. So full like you're going to pop. It's telling you please stop, I'm miserable. I'm in pain, but you ignore it. And you just keep going. practicing mindfulness means that you listen to your body, and you honor the signals it sends.



When you're really fatigued and your body is saying, please lay down I need a nap and you're telling yourself No, no, we have to push on the floor has to be cleaned. Really listening to the signals your body sends you and connecting to it because that's where we support our physical health and wellbeing.



Now it's not unusual for me to hear women blame their bodies for betraying them when they find out they have cancer. But it's important to realize that cancer is been around for millions of years. And we're just another biological entity walking around on this planet.



According to the American Cancer Society, the first evidence of cancer was described in Egyptian texts in 3000 b.c., 3000. That's a long time. It's a biological occurrence that happens to millions of people around the world every year.



But as a survivor, your amazing body endured and overcame both cancer and its toxic treatment. It's so important to honor that, to really look at it and love your body for what it's done for you.



I know I've shared my experience with you before where I was enduring an extremely difficult emotional situation and my body was telling me that it was making me sick. I felt sick all the time. I felt sick to my stomach. And I ignored it and even though I did all the right things,



Physically right? I ate the right stuff. As a vegetarian, I exercise I did yoga, but I didn't listen to what my body was telling me. Something else was wrong. There was an emotional situation that I wasn't dealing with and it was harming my body.



Now all this sounds a little woowoo, I'm sure, but when you stop and think about it, when you notice how your body feels when you think about something beautiful and joyful, versus how it feels when you think about something painful and sad, you will not be able to deny that your body and your mind are connected.



And it works both ways to when your body is in pain or ill, your emotions are impacted. And study after study has shown when you move your body and engage in physical activity on a regular basis. exercise can be as effective at improving your mood as antidepressants like Prozac.



This is really important because learning to be connected to and love your body. Not for the superficial reasons, not for the day and I'm so hot look at my tummy, you know, look at my bubble butt, but not for that. I mean, that's okay too. If you have all that go, go for it, and appreciate it.



But to really love your body for the journey it has allowed you to experience that is something that is critical to that circle of healing.



An article that was titled your emotions after treatment, and it was published by the Dana Farber institute says that you should mourn your losses after cancer, because they are real, and you have every right to mourn them and I agree 100% but it also says, you have to tell yourself that you are more than your cancer. Know that you have worth no matter how you look, or what happens to you.



And that is so important. It goes on to say that you need to focus on the ways that cancer has made you stronger. wiser and more realistic. So I encourage you to take the time to get to know your body again, learn to love and appreciate it for all the ways that has served you and tune into listening the signals it sends you of what it needs to live your healthiest life. Because that's what you're here for. You didn't go through all this hard stuff to live a disconnected life.



And trust me, I know how hard that is. For some reason, we feel like we have to have someone or something to blame for our cancer. It must have been something I did or maybe it was because of your weak body. And I don't believe that it has anything to do with blame. But that it does have everything to do with what you can learn how you can become more connected in from there from that place, how you can live your best life.



So that's what I have for you today, my friend. Learn to love your whole self authentically. There's no need for bs here. There's no time for it, there's no space for it. You take the good and the difficult and you find a way to be complete. Know that you are exactly where you need to be in this life at this moment and practice nonjudgment towards yourself. get reconnected to this body that has brought you here and allowed you to survive and is going to allow you to move forward in this life.



Alright, if you have questions or comments, please find me on Facebook as Laura Lummer or come and join my free Facebook group, The breast cancer recovery group you can search out on Facebook and pop up hundreds of women in there looking for ways to just support each other everyone who wants to live an empowered life.



And it's all about finding the things that work best for you connecting to your community of likeminded women and moving forward with the most authentic, positive realistic frame of mind. And as I said in last week's podcast, I have decided to open an additional Revivify. I really feel the need to put more support out there during this time, and all the struggles that everyone's going through.



So that's going to be opening I believe the opening date is October 19. But look for more information, make sure to follow my Facebook page, or you can go to my website, thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com and get on the Revivify waitlist, there's a button right there on the homepage that will lead you to that. And that way you won't miss out on any announcements.



But even between now and then between October you can start working on these mindfulness practices and supporting yourself in your wellness by joining the breast cancer recovery course or enrolling in that and you can find all that information on the homepage, on my website as well.



So I want you to take those steps to really get connected with yourself and to understand that it's up to you to support that beautiful body of yours to treat it right to talk to well, to feed it well and to make sure that it carries you through this life for a long time to come.



All right have a great rest of the day and I will talk to you again next week and until then, please be good to yourself.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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