© 2013 jen

Fit-tastic Update: Love Your Body – Kinda, Maybe, Sorta?

You hear it all the time: LOVE YOUR BODY!  But what does that even mean? Does loving your body mean embracing plus-sized images of other women and saying, “She’s beautiful?”  Does it mean accepting yourself at whatever size you are?  And what does that acceptance look like?  Is it a “Hey, you’re rocking it. Don’t change a thing?”  Or is it, “Hey you’re rocking it, now let’s find ways to get a little healthier and rock it even harder?”

The reason I ask these questions is because I used to think I loved my body, even when I was bigger.  I did accept my body to a certain extent, but something was missing.

I thought I looked pretty good, but I used my “self-acceptance” as an excuse that kept me from making healthier changes in my life, because I accepted myself so my work was done.

I used to see loving my body as a superficial thing – an appreciation for my larger physical form.  I didn’t see loving my body as the practice that I now perform daily.  So here’s what loving my body means to me now.

The Art of Loving Your Body

1. Love Your Physical Form – Start by accepting your body in its physical form, whatever size or shape it is.  Acceptance of your physical body is the beginning of loving your body, but it’s not the destination.  It’s the airport, or maybe the hotel you stay in on your way to your body-lovin’ vacation.

2. Love Movement – To truly love your body, you MUST be incorporating movement in some way or another.  This is because our modern society taxes our minds and often under-utilizes our bodies.  This creates a dissonance between the mind and body and puts you out of whack with yourself and your life.  The only way to balance the two is to move the body so it can catch up with the mind.  In turn, when you speed the body, it slows the mind and puts you in better balance with yourself.

Here’s what’s funny: you might start doing some sort of physical activity and discover that you actually like doing it.  When you find the right exercise for you this will definitely happen.  Just because you haven’t liked an exercise in the past doesn’t mean there isn’t one for you.  Try different exercises until you find one you like.  It’s doable for everyone!

3. Find & Love Good Food – Once you’re movin’ you must fuel your body with the best possible food you can.  This means thinking about the consequences of the foods you eat.  What are the foods that you like that help your engine run well?  What happens if you eat a candy bar in the afternoon when you’re feeling tired?  It might taste good in the moment, but 20 minutes later it’s not going to feel all that great and it might feel dreadful.  To fully love your body, you, as the gatekeeper to the food you eat, must consider: what will make your motor hum? What will make you feel bad?

Would you give your children (or imaginary children)  a candy bar in the afternoon when they are hungry or snacky?  No, probably not.  You’d give them something healthier that would sustain their energy because you’d know that the candy bar causes a sugar crash shortly after consumption, which will make your children feel even more hungry and tired than they were in the first place.  Even though we know this, we still feed ourselves candy bar-like things all the time.

Part of loving your body is taking responsibility for your health and giving yourself the things you need to be the best version of yourself.

When you love something, you take care of it – it’s not just about acceptance.

When you’re eating foods that agree with your body it helps your mind as well. There are so many reasons for this – if you need reasons, check out this article. When your mind is functioning better it makes it easier to accept, appreciate and love the body.  Not only that, but when your food choices are better it helps the waistline, which also helps with the self-acceptance.

Let me make this clear, you don’t need to be a particular size to love your body, but you do need to be healthy.

Does a size two love her body more than a size 14?  I think not, but if that size two is healthy in the areas I listed above and the size 14 is not, then I do think she is loving her body more.  Flip it and reverse it too.  A size 14 who is working on self acceptance, moving, and eating well is loving her body way harder than a size two who just doesn’t eat!

__________________________________

Update:

Speaking of size 14, that’s around my size these days (12-14 depending on the clothing) and technically I think the size 14 is still considered plus sized! It’s been cracking me up that I feel so skinny and yet I’m a totally normal sized woman. Perspective is a funny thing.

Today I weight 190 lbs- that’s a total weight loss of 26 lbs. Earlier this week I weighed myself and was at 189. That’s the first time I’ve been in the 180 lb range in a really, really long time. Probably since my 20’s.

I know I’m still losing inches. Right now I have skin hanging on my arms and belly that I’m hoping to exercise into submission. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m still eating like a horse and I think I’m eating even more now than I was a few weeks ago. For a while there my stomach felt weird enough that I couldn’t eat that much, but that’s over now.

I’m also exercising better these days. I feel like my stamina is getting better and I’m feeling the burn even more when I’m exercising. I’ve run on my own a couple of times, well, really a walk/run and I’m still enjoying that.

__________________________________

This is not about size.

This is really about health and forethought for the self.

When you love your body you can become the most realized version of yourself.  Here’s my health realization.

I have been sick with undiagnosed Celiac disease for most of my life.  I always liked music, dancing and singing, but I’d get so tired.  I used to have asthma and mild arthritis – these things affected my singing and dancing.  I couldn’t dance and sing at the same time because it was just too exhausting for me.  In the last year before I was diagnosed, I’d almost given up singing because it was just too hard for me to muster the stamina for it.

My recent realization is that music and my musical abilities are a major aspect of my character.  Few things make me happier than singing, dancing and being fully immersed in music.

I really believe that if I’d been healthier as a younger person, I would have done something with music.  Not sure what, but something.  Because I know this about myself, I am inspired to do something with music NOW.

I try not to focus on how my health has held me back from truly knowing my heart’s desires.  Instead, I try to focus on the fact that I have the privilege of health now.

I feel the same way about writing.  If you can’t tell, I LOVE TO WRITE!  I never did before, but I do now.  It’s another change since I’ve become a healthier person.  I used to feel that I couldn’t collect my thoughts very clearly.  I also had a hard time keeping my train of thought when writing.  I think this was related to the constant brain fogs I lived with.  Now, it’s no problem.

Nowadays I’m writing so much that I have at least 3-4 blog posts in draft form at one time and some of them I don’t even publish because I think, “You can do better, there’s more to say. Write another post.”  And then my next thought is, “Yeah!  I get to write another post!”  Writing used to be some form of torture for me, but this is what happens when you get healthy.

Just like when you peel back the layers of the onion, when you get healthier you find the deeper you.  And sometimes you didn’t know that layer was even there.

You discover yourself in ways and places you never thought possible.

You can hear yourself, your desires, your dreams – everything – so much louder.  This is not to say that you can’t hear your dreams when you’re unhealthy, but it’s totally possible that what you’re dreaming about is a reflection of your health or lack of it.  I know this was true for me.

I recently realized that one of the reasons I’ve been an event organizer (besides the fact that I’m good at it!) is because I’ve been too sick to be the one on stage.  Now I realize that I don’t want to organize events.  I want to be on stage, sharing, helping, connecting, inspiring, storytelling and singing.

By the way, this is also why I’m such a Facebooker.  It’s my micro-stage, but I’m not satisfied with it.  It’s too small and I can’t sing and dance on it very effectively.  I need more.

When I was younger I lived in Bloomington, Indiana.  I lived there from age 7-15.  I have spoken with a few of my besties from that time in the recent past.  I asked each of them if they remembered how crafty I was as a kid, and they all said, “No.”  Even though I was that way, I think I hid it from people because it wasn’t cool or something.  They all said the same thing: “I remember you singing and making music everywhere you went. You were shamelessly and boldly singing and even making makeshift musical instruments.”

It’s funny how the people around you can know things about you that you don’t know about yourself.

But now I know, this is who I really am.  I’m a performer/healer and only through my recent health changes am I able to see this true reflection of myself.

Loving your body is a practice of slow changes – moving in the direction of consistent healthy choices, thoughts – patterns – that allow you and your body to shine!

Do you love your body?  Do you agree or disagree that loving your body is about acceptance, movement and good food?  Please share your thoughts.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got good food to eat and moves to bust out in my daily body-lovin’ practice.  Have an awesome weekend and don’t forget to love your body!

Comments

comments

2 Comments

  1. Posted March 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm | #

    Hi Jen – I’ve been following along with your fitness training on Instagram and it is such an inspiration. I’m a curvy girl. Have been since the day puberty hit. I am a sweet tooth and can put on weight just walking past a cake shop. To see how you are doing your training and eating – slowly and sensibly is awesome. I know I need to get serious about my food and my fitness and your posts are giving me fitspiration. Last night, as I went for my first walk/jog in a long time, I was thinking of you. Jen’s doing it and I can do it too. I know getting healthy will help me with my art and the business I am trying to build. It will give me strength and clarity. I hope you keep sharing your progress. I’ll be following along.

    • Posted March 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm | #

      Hi Coral! Yay! Thanks for writing this! It’s so good to hear that my movement is moving others to move! You CAN do it! Keep it up! xo