Have you been loving your body lately? Because I haven’t.
I’m not quite sure when it started, but I think it was a few months back. The way time flies, it’s probably been frighteningly longer than I care to admit.
It started on the day I first called myself “fat.” Now I say “first” not because this literally was the first time the word escaped my mouth as a means of self-attack (sadly, that would reference a time long ago); but because this is the first time since recovering from an eating disorder that I had looked in the mirror and allowed these words to come out of my mouth. Yes, I verbalized it.
The problem isn’t in the word itself. “Fat” is not inherently an evil thing or even an insult. The problem is the attributions that we place on “fat.” We are what make it evil by the way we use it.
It is not the word that needs to change, it is our relationship to it. It is our mind. I know this all too well, which is why when this moment in front of the mirror happened, I was nearly muted with shock.
My mind was changing, and this time not for the better.
But rather than take that moment and turn it around, rather than spring into action of reacquainting myself with a positive body relationship, I left the words to sit there, hovering in the air, echoing and then fading away, but leaving behind a staleness that has remained to this day.
As I write this, I cannot tell you how many more times I have used this word against my body. There are many other words I’ve used as well. Words I would never say to a friend or to the girl in the magazine; but words I openly and willingly would say to myself.
No, I have not been loving my body lately. But all that is about to change.
See awareness is a funny thing. It is of infinite importance, and yet if not followed by action, it withers into useless. What is the point of being aware if you don’t respond? If you don’t act?
We must strive for awareness; but we also must be willing to take the next step.
I recently started Gala Darling’s Radical Self Love Bootcamp. Each week there is a theme. Tonight I sat down to begin a new week and the topic leaped out at me from the pages, as though my own subconscious were shouting a message to me: Body Image.
It’s time to take action.
I sat in a subconsciously-intentional state of oblivious for too long, and now I’ve sat in my self-awareness for too long. It’s time to move. It’s time to do.
I know what it means to hate your own body–and though I am not at that point yet, I have been there and I never want to go back. If I carry down the path I’m on, it is highly likely I will return to that place.
As someone who has been to the depths and pulled themselves out, I can tell you what I learnt: I learnt that what I saw in the mirror was not a reflection of how my true body appeared; instead, it was a reflection of how I was treating it. The more I attacked my body–through restricting, binging, purging, and disordered eating–the more I hated what I saw. The more I loved my body–through recovery, body-embracing movement, and balanced nutrition–the more I liked what I saw. This literally could change on a day-to-day basis.
This is how I know size, shape, numbers–none of these things have anything to do with it.
It was all about what was on the inside; it was all about my state of mind and the actions that followed.
And so I know, better than anyone, if I want to change how I feel about my body now, I need to change how I am treating it.
This means I need to start doing a few things. Namely:
- I need to start moving (being sedentary doesn’t do any good)
- I need to start filling myself with nutrients (fruits and veggies are love)
- I need to start listening (my body knows when it needs to rest)
- I need to start decorating (favourite shoes, bright lipstick: fashion is a form of creative expression; it’s a form of love)
This also means I need to stop doing a few things, too:
- I need to stop ignoring it (when my body tells me it needs something, I need to honour that)
- I need to stop filling it with things that don’t do it any favours (unless it’s a true craving–which should be honoured–the processed/artificial foods need to go)
- And, above all, I need to stop the hate talk
This all may seem simple, but I know sometimes it’s easier said than done. And my current health issues can sometimes make it even harder. However, part of loving my body is also allowing it some grace. Hating my esophagus because it doesn’t “work right” is not going to help. That is not love. Love is doing the best I can with the ability that I have to take care of myself and allow my body to heal.
And so, friend, are you interested in taking this step with me?
I thought it may help us if I write out some of my favourite Body-loving quotes. So here it goes:
- Your body is your ally, not your enemy. (my former Professor, Lynn Szabo)
- Obsessing about weight or the sum of your parts is simply a distraction from what you were put on this planet to do. (Gala Darling)
- If you can’t see that you’re okay now, you won’t be able to see it if you lose twenty pounds. It’s an inside job. (Anne Lamott)
- Never tell a child ‘you have a soul.’ Teach him, ‘you are a soul; you have a body.’ (George Macdonald — not C.S. Lewis fyi)
And how about a short playlist, too?
- “You Don’t Know How Beautiful You Are” by Jon Foreman
- “Beautiful pt. 2” by Jon Foreman
- “Beautiful for Me” by Nicole Nordeman
- “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera (are you noticing a theme, here?)
- “Against the Voices” by Switchfoot
- “Daisy” by Switchfoot
And lastly, I want to share an excerpt from a blog I wrote a long time ago. I was quoting something author Donald Miller had written on his own blog. In this particular post, Miller claimed his dog Lucy had taken over his blog to share this message:
“People think they are their bodies, that they are how they look, and they get sad when they don’t get noticed as much, but they aren’t their bodies, they are something else….It’s a sad thing they believe they are their bodies. It’s a sad lie.” Read the full post here
So in closing, I hope if–like me–you haven’t been loving your body lately, that this message will lead you to self-awareness; but more than that, I hope this message will also push you into action.
And know that I am here with you, because we are all in this together.
Share this message with your friends:
“Dear friends, have you been loving your body lately?” (click to tweet)