So over the past few weeks, I have been catching glimpses of my bare body in the mirror while getting ready for bed and/or work. And each time, I have taken a little extra time to stare and inspect. Please don’t judge me...I promise, there’s a point to this. Well this morning, I finally had a full fledged epiphany. I was checking myself out like I normally do and realized I actually LIKE my body. It seems so ridiculous to type this or even say this out loud, for two reasons:
1. Because society shoves SO MUCH self-hate down our throats by way of encouraging us to ALWAYS be striving for “thinner,” and “more perfect...” whatever that is. Diet pills, shakes, wraps and false advertisements cause us to believe that somehow our bodies are completely wrong and they have the magic cure to make it all right.
2. Because as a wellness provider I am literally preaching to people EVERYDAY to fully love themselves and appreciate their bodies. One would THINK I might have this part completely figured out for myself. However, I am sad to admit that in reality, this is (or was) not the case.
See, as a wellness coach, while I find it super easy to motivate other people to love and care for their bodies, I am most challenged by extending myself this same kindness. It is unfortunate but true. I often get caught up in this idea that in order be taken seriously as a fitness/health/wellness professional, my body needs to look like what MOST people would consider “fit” or “in shape.” And while I know (and admire) several fitness professionals who chip away at this false stereotype everyday, I struggle with truly believing it for myself and MY body.
Full disclose here: I am approximately 27 pounds heavier than I believe my IDEAL weight to be. And knowing this, causes me to feel as though my body is NOT okay and that something about it needs to be “fixed” or manipulated in some way to make me more like someone else or this imaginary picture in my mind. Under the stigma of these ideas, the possibility of actually liking and loving my body, seems absurd. I am quite literally shaking my head as I type this. But this is my truth and I need to tell it.
A couple of weeks ago, I was having lunch with some of my fellow physical therapist friends and they told me I was looking great. Rather than simply smiling and saying “thank you,” I responded in a very demeaning way to my body...essentially by saying I was not pleased with myself but that I had been working hard, so I would take the compliment. I cringe when I think about it now, simply because it goes against everything I stand for with regard to loving your body and appreciating it for what it CAN do, as opposed to despising it for what it does NOT look like.
The beauty in all of this is I finally got my break through. I have come to the conclusion that MY body actually is beautiful. Every curve, every bump, every part that’s tight and every part that’s loose. It is mine and it is magnificent. It brought three beautiful, healthy babies into this world and it is amazing. My stomach has a bit more flesh than it did ten years ago and my thighs may not fit into some of my old jeans, but I look good, damn it! And now, I definitely know it.
So no more faking it til I make it over here. I am free of the bondage of body shaming myself and I am on a mission to embrace this freedom and help other women (and men) do the same. Our bodies are gifts from God and should be celebrated as such. So excuse me while I feel myself for a bit. Enjoy the slideshow...I know I will.
And please don’t mistake my new found confidence for arrogance as my light shining brighter can never dim yours. And also don’t confuse my new state of contentment with complacency. I am still and always will be working toward improved strength, flexibility, endurance and stamina. If some weight loss accompanies those things, then so be it. But it will no longer be my primary focus. And I sincerely hope it will no longer be yours either. We should ALL be feeling ourselves.