• Masarat Jilani

My Tummy Valentine: 5 Ways to restore the love in your body

It’s time to stop taking your body for granted and start giving it some TLC. Your body works hard every day to allow you to live your life - yet it’s easy to forget to show it some love. In fact, with hectic lifestyles, tummy troubles and unrealistic body expectations, you may even start to hate your body! But, blaming your body can lead to feeling worthless and low. What’s worse, it can lead to ignoring health problems rather than seeking the support you need. It is important to start restoring some love in your body!

These 5 steps will restore self-love in your life!

Understand your body

With a busy life, we often want to ignore our body so we can get on with the business of having fun or working hard. But failing to understand your body could backfire - not understanding what is normal or what may be causing a bloat can lead you to worry. Stress feeds back and causes more gut trouble! Take some time to learn about how your gut works and how to treat it right. We have lots of articles that can help - you could start off by learning about why you have two brains! Or you could read our tips on a gut health morning routine . Learn the basics about gut health and you’ll soon understand your body a whole lot better.

Normalise your quirks

We live in a digital world where social media, television, magazines and films showcase a false reality. This can often leave both men and women feeling insecure about their completely normal body. You start to believe that the edited photos and highly altered images are what you should look like. This needs to stop. Your body deserves to be loved and cherished. Guess what? Stretch marks are normal, body hair is normal, spots and blemishes are completely normal! Bodies are not meant to be airbrushed. Remind yourself of normality and try to avoid consuming too much-edited content.

Banish body-shaming

Every day normal bodily functions are shamed. It is seen as socially unacceptable to fart and many IBS sufferers may have experienced an embarrassing situation when their gut gas made a racket. Worrying about your gassy tummy may avoid certain situations. What’s more, people can be mocked for discussing bowel habits. But everyone poops and farts! While you don’t need to go into TMI mode all the time, no one should be shamed for their body. The stigma this causes can make your life harder and lead you to worry about potentially embarrassing situations. This worry and avoidance only make the situation worse. Being a little more open about our gut needs would make the world a better place. If you’re ever in an embarrassing situation- remember to stand up for yourself and remind everyone that gut troubles affect everyone from time to time. IBS is so common - 1 in 7 people have it - so by talking about your IBS journey you will probably be helping someone else who is too afraid to speak. Another way to tackle this is to discuss with the IBS community. Nothing is TMI for people with IBS and they are able to help you banish shame and talk openly about your gut troubles. We have a whole community section in Zemedy where you can vent without fear of judgement.

Indulge in some self-care

Once you’ve taken the time to understand your body, embraced its uniqueness and normality then it’s time to start taking care of it! Self-care can be different for different people. It could involve some self-massage or taking the time to unwind with a good book. But it’s a good idea to also try some evidence-based techniques to take care of your gut and your mental health. Why not try some mindful meditation or yoga? The Zemedy app has some excellent Yoga for IBS poses to try. Feeding your gut nutritious food is also important: this could be sipping on some peppermint tea or munching some overnight oats mixed with nuts, seeds and fruit to provide a mixture of insoluble and soluble fibre to your gut. Never feel guilty when making time for yourself- you deserve this!

Reignite the passion with CBT

Cognitive behavioural therapy is the final step to your tummy Valentine! The brain and gut are connected. In fact, there are so many nerves in your gut that it’s basically another brain. Sometimes, this gut-brain connection gets messy. And this can be the case in IBS. That’s why it’s important to try and re-wire this amazing connection. One of the biggest factors which affect your gut health are stress signals from your brain affecting your gut. These signals can cause all sorts of mayhem. To try and decrease this havoc you can try some CBT techniques. The Zemedy app is packed full of ways you can do this from cognitive restructuring which tackles the way you think to guided imagery which provides a relaxing sanctuary for both the gut and brain!

Taking these 5 steps will allow you to cultivate self-love and give your tummy the Valentine’s day present it deserves! Self-love is the key to a happy life because once you love yourself then you can truly reach your potential and give love to others. Self-love is not selfish because taking care of yourself helps you to support others! So whether you need to tackle body shaming or make time for self-care – this Valentine’s day is a great time to get started. Treat your body with care and enjoy the benefits. Happy Valentine’s Day from everyone at Zemedy!

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