I’ve been doing a lot of blogging lately, and it’s all been pretty much about my personal body obsession. Hello! Ego! I know it is annoying, and self absorbed, and get over it already. But somewhere in all this blogging, I am attempting to find my way back to the woman I was.
I used to be a person who could appreciate my body for its’ strength. I was a person who tried to focus on what my body could do, and not how it looked. My forty one year old body kicks that crap out of my twenty one year old body. This body, the one I am sitting in as I type this, has grown and given birth to two children. It has ran a lot of 5ks, a couple of half marathons, completed a few triathlons, summit-ed mountains, held a plank for two minutes, taken up mountain biking, and countless other things my twenty one year old body never did. It gets up every day, plays with two active little boys, runs errands, fights off sickness because what mom has time to be sick. It is a good body- strong, tough, and healthy. It can do every thing I want it to do.
I can still see that, but over the years, I have allowed this other version of my body to creep in. The one with the BMI that’s too high. The one that has gained ten lbs on top of the other weight I wanted to lose. The one that measures, weighs and obsesses, and never feels good enough.
I used to put this other version in check. But I started to allow the voice of this version to get louder, to sounds more convincing. What I needed to do was to tell that voice to BACK OFF BITCH.
So why did I stop doing that? Part of it is that I told myself if I had to keep boosting myself, that confidence must not be real. I listened when friends told me the same thing. There is no way you can really be ok with how you are. We all want to look different, we all struggle to love ourselves- you are no different. Which is true. But why is giving in to that being “real” but fighting it is fake?
The times I loved my body felt very real, until they didn’t. My emotions are not black and white. I have always been more of a fan of color anyway.
Some people swear they need the negative voice. I am not here to say they don’t. How do I know what they are feeling? What I KNOW is that I DON’T need that voice. I do far better with the positive one, the one that loves me and boosts me and makes me feel strong.
I wanted to model good eating habits for my kids. I was already doing that- or at least the version that is commonly accepted. Eating healthy most meals, exercising, having treats sometimes. But I got fixated on these numbers. I cringe to think what my focus on those have really been teaching them.
The beauty of being alive is that as long as I have breath in my body, I can change. I don’t have to be a slave to that voice, to my past, to what my friends say, to the messages I get from society. Is it going to be a challenge? Yes. Some days it can feel next to impossible. But I’m not giving up.
I’ve been reading the books, and the science, and all of that makes me feel so much better. But I’ve had a system all along to rely on- my body itself.
I remember one day going to a bakery to buy a napoleon and eating it in my car. There is already so much wrong with this picture, but none of it has to do with the napoleon. I didn’t want to take it home and eat it- I didn’t want my family to know I was eating it, and I didn’t want to have to share it with them. I ate the whole thing, despite the fact that it was too much, and made me feel too full, and didn’t make my body feel good- it was my treat, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. Of course I would eat the whole thing.
Afterward, my stomach did not feel good. It was too much butter or sugar or cream or something. The napoleon wasn’t in itself bad- it was that I didn’t listen to my body, and ate too much of it. The same way I didn’t listen to my body when it said “you are fine” and opted to listen to the scale instead.
So, I’m taking that power back. I’m going to fight against feeling ashamed of what I eat or how much I weigh or how I look. I’m going to give the power to my body to tell me what it needs. And yes, it is ok if sometimes that body says it needs a cupcake.
But the biggest change needs to be giving other bodies the power to do the same. I have no right to look at someone and say whether or not they are healthy. I judge, we all do, and we need to stop. Health is about anxiety, stress, food, community, prevention of illness, moods, bodies, minds and about a thousand other things all mixed together in dizzying concoctions. I’ll work on me and leave you up to you. Maybe we can figure out some ways to boost each other along the way.
I may not have Taye Diggs but dammit, I’m getting my groove back. Make way for Ms. Pants.