I just read about a woman in Nebraska who married herself this week before 200 friends and relatives, in celebration of the fact that she finally was truly, deeply, madly in love with herself!! Hurray!! I say, what a great idea!

In the 30 years I’ve been counseling people, I see much more of a war going on between oneself and how they feel about their body, than a wonderful love affair with the sacred machine that keeps us alive!

In the pursuit of lasting weight loss and greater body image, I think John Lennon probably said it best…..”ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE”. It all begins with the compassion you show to yourself. It sounds so cliché, but it’s the truth. Changing the relationship you have with your body, from conflicted to connected, is the ONLY thing I’ve seen that gives sustainable, long term weight maintenance, rather than the often seen scenario of reaching goal weight one day and starting back onto the yo-yo cycle the very next day.

When you treat your body like a liability, something you have contempt for and a lack of trust in…that’s exactly what you will get. In a harsh environment, the body interprets it as a stressor and goes into protection mode, setting up the “fight or flight” syndrome, which stores FAT!! Think how your body feels, continuously hearing negativity from you or quite possibly, you and your body are not even on speaking terms! Imagine how years and years of silence would erode any relationship.

The qualities that make up a great marriage or any other kind of effective partnership are the same qualities that are needed in forming a cohesive bond with your body. What is needed between the body and mind is some “marriage counseling”. They both want the same exact things…to feel healthy, light and attractive, yet they stay out of sync with each other because they don’t speak the same language.

In contrast, imagine what would happen if you treated your body like you treated the person you love and admire MOST in the world…..offering kindness, respect and appreciation, every step of the way. This harmony would allow the body to relax, feeling safe and secure. And guess what…that helps you lose weight in and of itself, because … without the fear of a perceived threat, the hormones that help to store fat are not present in the bloodstream!  The immune system would get stronger too. More endorphins (the feel good hormone) would be produced, making life a bit easier to deal with. Plus…positive energy is always easier to have around than dark, heavy negativity.

Your body is your closest friend…with you 24hours a day, constantly working hard to keep you at your best. Start by thanking it for the 100,000 heartbeats per day that it pumps out for you or the 80 million gallons of air it produces each year. (That could fill up a lot of hot air balloons)! Send your poor, neglected thighs and backside a few nice accolades, rather than curse them for having cellulite.

You can quote me on this one..….When life is void of “sweetness”, one will need to get it from outside sources. So if you make a steady diet of cake, candy, cookies… give your body the gift of love with your thoughts, words and actions. See how your life will transform, plus the cravings will subside.

Scientific research concludes, without a shadow of a doubt, that if you want to change a negative behavior or commit to a positive habit, self-compassion, not punishment, is the key!!

What’s love got to do with it? Absolutely everything! Start today by cultivating a more accepting appreciation of yourself and greater value on your body. You are worthy, by virtue of breathing. It’s really quite simple and yet, so incredibly powerful.

Look into the mirror right now and say to yourself…..”I love you just the way you are’. The greatest love of your life is YOU! Now, always and forever.