As we move through these summer months, bodies are everywhere! If you tune into daytime TV talk shows, you’ll find bikini fashion shows. On the bestseller list, diet books are on the rise. Gyms are full as people keep their beach bodies in shape. This time of year can stir up a lot of shadows — the emotions, beliefs, habits, and patterns stored deep inside the psyche that dictate our relationships with our bodies. We see it in every program and workshop we do. Person after person shares the depths to which they have struggled with body issues and the years they have hated their bodies and thus themselves.

Weight and body image have always been issues for me. The quality of my day used to be determined by the number on the scale. I only felt worthy of being loved by myself or others if I looked a certain way. I had grown up with the belief that it was not okay to eat so in my book, food was evil. I made my body my enemy! Every day, I was in an all-out war. I spent every moment evaluating, “Who is winning — me or my body?” Would I pass up the carb or take a bite of the piece of pizza? Could I push myself to exercise for another hour despite the swelling in my knee? Would I find the next “miracle” cream to take away the wrinkles? This minute-by-minute battle was exhausting. Even me, a person who trains people to become Integrative Coaches, a person who guides people to blast through their limitations and accept, love and embrace all of who they are, saw my body as an external foe which continually needed to be defeated!

Armed with this awareness of my own shadow, I chose to reinvent my relationship with my body. I became more loving and accepting of my body. I no longer abused and starved it. I began to view my body as a fine automobile and I understand it’s my job to keep it well-oiled and functioning impeccably. I rewired my operating system by unconcealing, owning, and embracing my shadow. It was only then that I achieved my once elusive goals for my weight and well-being — not from a place of self-hate or shame but rather from a place of deep love.

Debbie Ford wrote in The 21 Day Consciousness Cleanse, “To transform your relationship with your body, you must embrace the agent of change known as reverence. When you are present to the absolute gift you have been blessed with – the sacredness of having a body – you will begin to move in the world with more grace, gratitude and humility than you ever thought possible.” Our bodies are a sacred gift. They provide the opportunity for us to experience life and the evolution of our souls. Instead of hating them, battling with them and constantly trying to fix or change them, we need to love them, to make peace with them, to cherish them and treat them with kindness, compassion and respect.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Identify something loving you can do for your body this week. Your body will tell you what it needs if you take the time to ask and listen for the answer. So ask your body what it needs and commit to doing what it tells you.

(2) Start viewing your body as a sacred gift. Spend three minutes in front of the mirror every day and take in the blessings that your body gives you. Affirm what is right about your body. Send gratitude to each of your parts and declare out loud how each part serves you.

(3) To free yourself from the limitations that impact and sabotage your relationship with your body, register for Radical Reinvention, a 12-week, online, goal-oriented program starting August 7th.

(4) For a massive body breakthrough, RUN (don’t walk!) to The Shadow Process September 15th to September 17th in Miami.