Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Loving the Body


          I feel like I need to start out with a slight disclaimer on this one before I get right into the nitty-gritty sheety-meaty of this blog. I want all of you to know that I write blogs as a therapy.  I write because there are good messages to be had out there, but everyone responds differently to various words, tones, and energy.  I hope that the people that read this know that I come from a loving, positive place, but also an imperfect one.  When I write things and get all riled up about them, it's usually because I'm still in the growing and processing stages myself. I'm not some amazing pillar of perfection, and the reasons I choose the topics that I do is because I struggle with them on a daily basis.  When you read anything about body image, know that I, too, am on a continual journey. Namaste.

     So, I had a breakthrough. I have been trying to change my thoughts about my body, in hopes that my body would change in accordance with my thoughts. I was feeling fantastic, because I felt like I had made SUCH huge leaps and bounds! Wow, MICHELLE! You aren't finding things wrong with your body!! You are saying grateful words to your body!! You are thanking your body for giving you children and working every day! This body is awesome!!  Your body is easily shedding the weight that it had kept as emotional armor, but you are stronger and ready to let go of that shield against the world!!  oh, YEAH! So great, SOOO GREAT! MAN, it feels so good to feel good! I love feeling good!! IT'S goooooood!!

     However, I have realized a flaw in my system. By saying things, even super positive things to my body about how "excited I was for it to change" and how happy I was that it had served me so well, and NOW I can get down to losing the weight I've been keeping stuck on.....I was ironically admitting that I "didn't" truly love my body because by filling it with love that is expectant of change, I'm saying that there is something wrong with it that NEEDS changed.  Doh!

      I realized I was in a scary loop. Look at body. Be "NICE" and all, but tell it that it needs to change for me to love it.  Make big dietary changes. Make big exercise changes. Still, body doesn't change. Do more diet. Do more exercise. Body stays the same. Get thyroid checked and blood work done. Everything looks fine! No change. Try this for several months. Not so much. This is all a true story.

       I wonder if I've accidentally created an environment where my body is scared to change because it sees that my "love and approval" is conditional upon it being what I consider "perfect".  Think of how things would go if you did this with your spouse or your kids.  Imagine a scary smile plastered to your face, and you saying through Stepford wife gritted teeth, "Gee, I SURE love you and appreciate you. I will love you MORE when you are exactly what I THINK YOU SHOULD BE!"  Then imagine yourself pushing, prodding, overly encouraging, and trying to FORCE the person you love to change. After all,  it's what is best for them!

      I imagined trying to do this with a beautiful flower.  You plant the seed. You water it. You put it in sunshine. However, you expect it to be on YOUR timeline and to act according to the work YOU put into it's nourishment!

       And alas, the cycle continues. So, what I'm trying to work out in my brain is how to absolutely TRULY love and appreciate where I am currently...without any strings attached.  I did remember that a while back, I actually did get to my "goal weight" and I was miserable. I still punished myself and put myself down all the time, and the food I was eating was stagnant and life-sucking. I was hungry and grumpy and so absolutely terrified of my own food cravings that I lived in fear of the kitchen and restaurants.  That is what my previous "healthy" weight got me. I didn't address the underlying emotional issues, and therefore, I did not love and appreciate my body. 
        I'm not saying "Give up and stop taking care of yourself and just LOVE who you are right now!" .  I'm saying "Love WHO YOU ARE RIGHT NOW and the care, the compassion, the forgiveness, and the better habits can start to slowly grow....just like a seed."  You have to give the "no strings attached" love and compassion to yourself  as the foundation of your life.  From there, healthy mental habits and languages can be formed, and then you can blossom into what you were meant to be. 


  1. I want to print this out and hang it up so everyone can see, I love this so much.

  2. Two things came to me a couple of years ago that really changed my perspective on my 40 year old body that I have never been happy with even when I was an athlete in high school.

    The first was a wise friend of mine who told me that every roll of fat was evidence of a joyful life. It was a specific memory of a night drinking with friends, that vacation where the food was amazing, that lazy day you spent with your kids watching movies, that last piece of your grandmothers pie you ate before she died. The rolls are evidence you lived and enjoyed it. So don't hate yourself because you have lived in joy.

    The second is that cellulite is genetic and it has nothing to do with how overweight or healthy you are, which as a biologist for the last 10+ years I never knew. It has to do with the physical structure of most women's skin and its relation to fat. Men tend not to get cellulite, regardless of what size they are, because their skin and fat are structured differently than a woman's is. It has to do with how a woman's skin is physically attached to the underlying muscle. It is not a sign that you are overweight or unhealthy. 80%-90% of women have cellulite even ultra thin super models. Here are a couple of articles I found with pictures comparing the structure of women's skin with the structure of men's skin for comparison.



    As a result of these two things coming to light in my life around the same time, I don't worry about the looks I get when I am out and my belly is hanging out. I am wearing shorts again for the first time in more than 15 years, even the shorter than I should at my age (according to society). This doesn't mean that I don't want to loose weight or get healthier, it just means that I don't dwell or stress over it any more. I am NOT about to give up on decadent food or a night of wine with my friends, so the fat and cellulite that I see on my body everyday is just a part of my life and my body and so I have to take it as a part of living a full and joyful life.

  3. "Try" by Colbie Caillat....