Body love doesn’t come easy, as fitness trainer Zanna Van Dijk explains after her recent emergency bowel surgery while travelling through the Maldives.
While her recovery came thick and fast, double the speed that her surgeon anticipated, she still had to process what had happened and the way that her body had now changed.
In doing so, she came back stronger than before, but body love is something you have to work at, as she explains to H&W.
Zanna’s tips for learning how to love your body
1. Accept changes:
It’s 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, I looked for other positives. I was able to spend with those I loved, I had a much-needed break from work and I was able to reflect on how incredibly strong and resilient my body is.
2. Be positive:
You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it.
It’s 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 energy feeling sorry for yourself. (Harsh, but true!).
During my recovery, I celebrated every win and I 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.
Show your body respect and do everything in your power to enable it to recover and it will thank you for that.
4. Nourish yourself:
Food contains nutrients which can energise you, heal you and make you feel incredible. I prioritised protein during my recovery as I had a large wound which needed to be healed.
I combined this with fruit and veggies, aiming to get more than my five a day every day. Eating a rainbow meant 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.
This is clinically proven to help reduce the appearance of scars. My scar tells a story of what my body has overcome.