For as many different people as there are in the world, there is an equal number of ways that people view their bodies. That number increases too, when you take into account the changes we go through as we age and grow.
My relationship with my body now is a very loving partnership. It’s grounded in teamwork and equality. It wasn’t always like that for me. At my largest I didn’t feel particularly fat. I wore bigger sizes (my wedding dress was an 18) and I knew it wasn’t healthy…. Hence all the dieting… But ultimately it wasn’t until I saw what I could be; the clothes, the energy, that I really began to be sad and disappointed by my body. I cried in dressing rooms when the clothes I wanted to wear didn’t fit me the way they did other people. It struck me that they could judge who I was by my weight. I remember looking in the mirror after I had lost weight and thinking that I had never put so much thought into that judgment when I was at my biggest. And in some ways that was a blessing.
But I am not one of those that believe ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is just denial. So often we are smart and aware enough to know the truth. We are just fooling ourselves. I may not have needed to feel judged to lose weight, but I did need to feel healthy and H. I told a friend recently that I may not be the smallest I have ever been, but I am the Happiest I have ever been. I haven’t weighed myself in a lot of years but I wear the clothes I want to wear and they feel good. It comes from the confidence and knowledge that I am making great choices to help me live a long and strong life. It makes me feel beautiful.
Honestly during the sad times, I would look in the mirror and say, “At least I have a pretty face”. It sounds a bit sad but it really helped me to concentrate on all those things I had. Not the things I couldn’t do or fit into. Gradually as I saw the beauty in the small things I had… I respected and loved myself more. I wanted to take better care of myself because I deserved it… I had a pretty face and I could say that there were a few people who loved me. And they were important people to me and I loved them too. If they thought I was worth loving.. I was. I was taking better care of myself and starting to feel better. Its amazing how getting regular haircuts and having my nails or lashes done, made me feel pretty. There is no reason we can’t all feel beautiful all the time. Its optimism and it works for me.
I mentioned my blog to a friend recently and he shared a story with me. It made me realize that not all of our relationships with our bodies have to do with weight. My friend talked to me about his conservative upbringing. Growing up your body is a very private thing. The sentiment was instilled in most of us, but it made an impression on him so deep that he was only ever naked during sex and in the shower. Nudity made him nervous and uncomfortable to the point that he had never seen himself naked. So he made a New Year’s resolution. He was going to break out of this mold and visit a nudist resort. Leading up to his scheduled appointment he was anxious and edgy. Exploring dozens of questions repeatedly in his mind…. Will they judge me? Will I become aroused? Do I measure up?
The night before the big visit he decided that he should see what everyone else was about to see. He took a picture. That was the first time he’d really looked at himself. The next day was full of anxiety, but once he got up the gumption to disrobe and step on campus, he quickly settled in. Feeling more at ease in this setting than fully clothed in a place with familiar people. His questions about his body were answered. No they would not judge him. No he would not become aroused because it wasn’t about that. And would he measure up was a non-issue. There was no measuring. Now he wishes he had always felt this comfortable in his skin.
You and Yours
This friend has found the connection between him and his body and it has nothing to do with the food he puts in it. On the flip side, there are people who can’t quite connect their body with who they are. Another friend of mine is constantly surprised by her reflection. When she catches herself in the mirror, does not believe that the beauty and emotions she feels on the inside are accurately reflected in her outer appearance. She is at a different point in her journey…
Where are you in yours?
Give and Take
Breakfast: Coffee, Fiber Plus Bar
Lunch: A concoction made by a friend at Protein Bar
Dinner: Grilled Cheese Wrap, Red Wine
Yoga: 20 minutes of energizing stretches
Fiber Plus Bar: Great source of fiber to jump start my day. Even on-the-go breakfast is important to turn on your metabolism.
Lunch Concoction included: Granola – high calorie source of whole grains, high in protein and fiber, Greek yogurt – a non-fat food that has 3 times the protein of regular yogurt, Acai – a Brazilian berry stacked with antioxidants that an infomercial would say “reduces the signs of aging” which really means it blocks the absorption of the toxins our body and systems are exposed to. A very trendy berry right now, Banana – high in potassium, good for eyes and bones
Grilled cheese: Pepper jack cheese – spicy foods raise metabolism, cheese in moderation gives your body calcium, whole wheat wrap - less carbs and less filling then bread.
Red wine – the only alcohol that could even think of claiming health benefits, its similar to coffee in that the research goes back and forth, but essentially the verdict is in moderation is can show benefits for your heart.