Chasing Down Thoughts - Loving this body in its "as is" condition.
This whole thing was going to be a private message to my sisters. Then, as I was rambling on in my head, composing my thoughts internally until I could get to my computer, I realized I may as well turn it into a blog post. Or a novel, as I seem to be particularly rambly these days.
I’ve been thinking about this particular topic for awhile now. Weight loss. Health. Body image. Cultural conformity. Unrealistic body expectations. I’ve been at war with my body for most of my life. I remember as a pre-teen being terrified that someone would find out my weight. I was ashamed of the number on my jeans. It kind of makes me sad to think about.
Maybe it has come with getting older, but lately I have been wanting to reconcile with my body. To love it. To accept it. We’ve been through a lot together. Too often when I get on one of those “weightloss kicks” it is preceded by hating my body. By calling it disgusting. By looking in the mirror and feeling unlovely and unloveable. And why? What is it about those extras that make me feel that way? This body really just houses the real me. My soul, my spirit, my mind, my sense of humour, my love, my joy, my every emotion… so what’s the big deal with my shape?
You know, I get it, I get the health concerns surrounding being over-weight. I’ve guised over my desire to be thin with “I just want to be healthy”. But then, as weeks passed and the weight didn’t come off, even though I felt better, functioned better, had more energy, slept better, ect, I still felt like a failure because those numbers on a scale didn’t reflect what I thought they should. So, what does that tell me? I can be healthier, and still not look the way society thinks I should. Thin does not equal healthy. Extra weight doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy. And who is deciding what’s extra anyways?
I’ve known so many people who have lost weight and still obsessed over “those last couple pounds”. I’ve known people who have lost weight on a tight and regimented program, and then gained it all back. I’ve seen this roller coaster in so many people, and I’ve experienced it myself. It just seems so pointless. And I wonder if this end goal is really worth it. What IS the end goal? Is it really to just be healthy? So, if your heart is good, your blood pressure is good, you don’t have any health concerns, and you can keep up with your kids… what are you so unhappy about? It seems so crazy to be so obsessed with the shape of your body. But yeah… I am one of the crazy ones, too. I’m not immune to this… I just don’t like it.
There are two sides to every coin, though. I don’t want to be, and I don’t think we should be, so obsessed with how our bodies look. But, at the same time, I think we should be concerned with how we treat our bodies. Healthy nutrition? Yes, bodies love that. Being active? Yep, bodies may not like it per se, but it’s good for it. Water? Yep, your body functions well when you are hydrated.
I guess I struggle with an obsessive, all or nothing, personality. But that’s not sustainable for me. I don’t want to start some program and go crazy for a month and then crash because I can’t keep it up. I don’t want to be focused on changing my body because I hate it. I want to be good to it because I love it. I mean, sure, it would be really awesome to fit into some of those old clothes in my closet, and to be able to shop wherever and not worry about finding my size… but I really just want those to be perks, not necessarily reasons.
I don’t know if I’m making any sense. I kind of feel like I may be contradicting myself at every sentence. But I guess that’s just how confusing of an issue this is for me. I’m a huge believer in moderation… but I struggle with implementing it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have goals, or even to try to gauge those goals by numbers dropping on a scale… I just wonder why our worth is somehow wrapped up in what we weigh. If I could separate those two things, maybe it wouldn’t be such a huge issue for me.
So, that being said, I do have goals. I don’t want to get to the point where what I weigh DOES give me legitimate health concerns. And I would like to just shop in my closet, not at a store. (Well, my wallet would like that… I like shopping…) But I don’t want to start on a regiment of denying and depriving myself, of trying to motivate myself by telling myself how disgusting I look… I don’t think either of those things are anywhere near healthy.
Healthy, to me, is making sure I am giving my body what it needs to thrive. Nutrition, water, and moderation. I don’t want to just let everything slide and become a couch potato who lives on mini eggs and baked goods. (Okay, part of me does want that, let’s be real…) I guess, what it comes down to, is I want my motivation and inspiration to be for a real desire to give my body what it needs to thrive, to take me on this journey called life, and not be concerned or obsessed with the weight, or the inches, or the way I am “supposed” to look. That is my biggest goal. Followed by these smaller goals to love my body, as it is, always.
- · Drink enough water.
- · Have at least one of my Arbonne meal replacement shakes a day. I love how nutrient rich they are, I love the energy and mind clarity they give, and I love that I know that no matter what else happens in the day, my body got a shot of pure goodness. (shameless Arbonne plug, I know, I know.)
- · Remember to take my vitamins every day.
- · Use portion control when eating not as nutritious food.
- · Be purposely active at least twice a week – be it a walk, or the elliptical, or a DVD. Just something to get the blood flowing.
- · No mindless late night snacking. (may help to go to bed earlier…)
- · Write more. Because writing keeps my mind and soul healthy.
So, what are your thoughts on my thoughts? Were you able to hop on my brain train? Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever struggled with body image? How do you combat it? What is your definition of healthy?