If you were in a relationship with your body right now, how would you describe it? Loving, easy-going and energetic? Stressful, fatigued and difficult? Or, do you avoid thinking about it altogether?

One thing we rarely do for our body is acknowledging that our body actually knows what it wants – even when we don’t!

Years ago, I didn’t like my body; I judged it hideously and hid it under oversized clothes. I forced it do things and eat things in an effort to make it change.

One day a friend told me that I actually had a nice body, and maybe I should consider showing it off more. So I bought some figure-hugging shirts. They were 100% polyester, but an improvement on the “mumu” style shirts I had been wearing.

One day, walking past Banana Republic I saw this linen shirt in the window…I could feel my body practically screaming, “take me in there!” I tried on the shirt, and sure enough it felt amazing, and looked great. I stood taller. I felt better. The way I carried myself totally changed.

That was the beginning of being aware of my body’s own desires. I realized my body was continuously giving me clues about how to dress it, what it would like to eat, what kind of activities it liked doing, but I had been too busy judging it to hear what it was telling me! Sound familiar?

Here are some easy and simple things you can start doing right now to create a different relationship with your body – and if you’re like me, it may even turn into one of your best friendships:

1. Be grateful for your body, don’t’ criticize it!

demi lovato body positive gif

We have been taught to believe that judging our bodies and ourselves is the way to motivate us to change. But it doesn’t actually work.

You will have way more ease and success (and fun!) with exercise, food, and anything else that has to do with your body if you stop judging it and have gratitude instead.

What are you grateful for about your body? Start writing down three things every day and keep adding to the list.

The more you judge your body, the more stress you put on it. The more gratitude you have for your body, the more both you and your body are able to relax, enjoy life and also heal and change a lot faster.

2. Nurture your body

you are hot zooey deschanel gif

Do something with your body every day that is nurturing for it – one hour a day and one day a week. Make a commitment that you are going to ENJOY your body.

3. Ask, don’t tell!

carrie fisher, are you hungry

Ask your body what it would like to eat, drink and do. You can muscle test for it.

Stand up straight with your feet (toes and heels) together. Put the food in front of your solar plexus and ask if your body would like to eat it? If it leans forward towards it, it wants it, if it leans back it doesn’t. If it leans from side to side, you might need to ask a different question like, “Does my body want to eat, or would it like just a drink instead? Or, does it actually not desire food right now?”

4. Don’t make assumptions

pasta and alcohol gif

Don’t assume that ‘healthy’ food is good for your body and ‘unhealthy’ food is bad. Sometimes your body just needs a Coke. If you stop judging certain foods as good and bad and just get in tune with your body and what it wants, your body will thrive and you will have more fun.

5. Every body is different!

jack black sexy and chubby

There is a really strong culture of telling us what is right and wrong to put in and on our bodies. Please know that your body is unique. It isn’t like other bodies. Some things will work for some bodies that won’t work for you and vice versa.

Keep asking questions with your body, and try different things. Pay attention to what choices you make your body feel and function better. What is true for you and your body will always make you feel lighter. Choose what makes you feel light.