Zanna Van Dijk’s Five Tips For Body Love

Zanna Van Dijk

I recently had emergency bowel surgery while travelling through The Maldives. It was completely out the blue and resulted in me having a 10-inch incision across my abdomen and months of recovery as a result. I am now officially 12 weeks post-operation and feeling back to my previous self. My recovery came thick and fast, double the speed that my surgeon anticipated, and I want to share with you what I did that helped me come back stronger than before and accept the new me.

    • 1. Accept changes It is essential to accept change and become confident in your new skin and self. When I was rebuilding my strength, I went to the gym and did my mobilising routine with pride. Sure, I wasn’t lifting heavy weights like I used to, but I was proud of what my body was overcoming. Outside of the physical recovery, look for other positives such as having more time to spend with those you love, having a much-needed break from work and being able to reflect on how incredibly strong and resilient your body is.

    • 2. Be positive You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it. It is perfectly natural to have a few break downs and a little cry every now and then, but you aren’t going to get any better if you spend all your valuable energy feeling sorry for yourself. (Harsh, but true!). You need to pick yourself up and use the power of positivity. During my recovery I celebrated every little win and was always working towards the next milestone.

    • 3. Be proactive Don’t sit back and embrace defeat, stand up and rise to the challenge that has been handed to you. Your body does so much for you and it wants to fight back, it wants to get stronger, it wants to overcome adversity. Show your body respect and do everything in your power to enable it to recover, it will thank you for that.

    • 4. Nourish yourself Food contains nutrients which can energise you, heal you and make you feel incredible. I personally prioritised protein during my recovery as I had a large wound which needed to be healed, so I ensured I squeezed in a few good quality protein sources a day. I combined this with fruit and veggies, aiming to get more than my five a day every day – eating a rainbow so my body had access to the widest range of vitamins and minerals.
    • 5. Love your scars I have three scars on my stomach from my bowel surgery – one from the main cut and then two from cameras which were also inserted. I massage my scar twice a day with pure vitamin E oil, I then apply a layer of Kelo-Cote silicone gel which is clinically proven to help reduce the appearance of scars. My scar tells a story of what my body has overcome.