For as long as I can remember, I have felt like I was fat. When I was 5 or 6 years old, my parents enrolled me in a ballet class, and I like the dancing part, but even then, I felt self-conscious when I looked at my body compared to the other little girls. My belly stuck out more. My legs were bigger. There just seemed to be too much of me.
I have always been active. I have always been coordinated. And I have always been strong. But there were only a few years where I felt like I was thin (read: acceptable)…and honestly, it wasn’t a healthy or sustainable thin. I over-exercised and wasn’t eating good food. I didn’t have a period for a year. It wasn’t good.
Which is all to say that my relationship with my body has always been a struggle. I’m sure that your story is different, but also probably similar because so few people can actually fit the mold of what a “perfect body” is in our world.
Unlike me, my husband seems to have an effortlessly fit body. From my perspective, we eat basically the same food and have a similar level of activity, but his body looks like a greek statue, and I look like…not a greek statue.
About a year ago, I had an epiphany that the things Daniel does differently from me come from this place I have never experienced. He wakes up early several mornings a week to make sure he gets his work out in; he sets goals for his flexibility; he goes out of his way to get extra training; he looks up workout ideas and exercises on youtube.
For a long time, I thought he did these things because he was crazy. But what I realized was that he does this because, ultimately, he loves his body.
I have seriously been chewing on this idea ever since because it was totally foreign to me.
How would my body be different if I treated it like it was something I loved and cared about? What would exercise be like if I was doing it because I loved my body? How would I stretch, groom myself, sleep, etc. if I were someone who loved my body?
Here’s the thing – I’ve been trying to hate my body into being something I love. I’ve been trying to deny, trick, suffer, and manipulate my body into being something worth loving. And when I see the words on this page, I see that that is ridiculous. We don’t hate things into being, we love them into being.
So, my challenge to myself and to all of us, is to love our bodies where we are now.
My body doesn’t have to look a certain way for me to love it. My body doesn’t have to fit into a certain size of jeans, or produce a certain number on the scale before I’m going to love it. My body is worthy of love right now as it hovers around 200 pounds, as I still struggle to make it through a whole day without a bladder malfunction, and while I’m allergic to all the plants that are blooming in my yard. I can love it and proceed from there.