Today is Love Your Body Day. As I have been going about my day, I have been thinking about what loving my body means to me. I dont always love everything about my body. It doesn’t always look the way I want it to look, and now that I am 41, it isn’t as reliable as it used to be. A few weeks ago, one of my knees just started hurting for no reason that I can think of, and I have had to take it easy for far longer than I would like to get it back to normal. When I sit for longer than an hour or so, it takes me a few seconds to get going again when I stand up. I have weird aches in bad weather.On the other hand, my body grew two entire new human beings, which is pretty damn awesome.So, I started thinking about what it means to love my body on a practical level. How does one treat a body that they love? Here is what I came up with.
Because I love my body:
- I eat healthy foods. They make me feel good. I eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can, I try to make most of my grains whole grains, I usually avoid fried foods. This helps me stay healthy, and keeps my energy up throughout the day.
- I do not diet. I eat when I am hungry. I keep my focus on health outcomes rather than appearance outcomes, because that is better for me. I know that starvation is just as unhealthy as binging.
- I forgive myself when I have a day (or even a couple of days) when I don’t meet my usual standards of healthy eating. I don’t beat myself up over it and give up on ever eating healthy again because I am a failure at it, obviously. Not that I have done that in the past or anything. I, um, I hear that is something some people do. But I don’t. At least, I don’t now, and if I did in the past, well, I forgive myself for that, too.
- I exercise regularly. Again, this makes me feel good. When I use my body, it becomes stronger, I have more energy in general, and, while I may not lose weight, at least the weight that I have rearranges itself in more pleasing ways. I put on muscle fairly easily, and I like that feeling of strength.
- I teach my children that they should take care of their bodies. They should eat healthy foods and get regular exercise. They should limit treats. They only get one body, so they need to keep it in good enough shape to last them for as long as possible. I worked hard creating those bodies for them, with a healthy diet while I was pregnant, exercise, and regular medical care, not to mention all the cooking and chauffeuring to sports activities I have done since they were born, so they should respect their bodies.
- I do not look in the mirror and complain about my weight. I don’t say (anymore), “I hate this big belly.” Sure, I’d love for it to be smaller, but hate is a pretty strong word. I am able to look at it now and think that it might be healthier if I didn’t have quite so much belly fat, but I realize the looseness of the skin and the layer of fat at the bottom of my belly, underneath my belly button–the looseness and fat that have been there since my second pregnancy–are probably never going away, and I don’t really care. I grew two whole entire people in there. A little fat and loose skin cannot remove the awesomeness of that.
What do you do to show your love for your body?