Punishing your body
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t always like what I see in the mirror. You may relate. Both motherhood and ageing have changed my body, it is different. I find myself at times struggling with this and, in previous years, I have definitely let myself develop a negative mindset about it. I know you know what I mean, this is after all a big problem in our society. I read that approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies. So, I’m guessing a lot of you feel like I do.
Let me ask you: Has your frustration, or even disgust for your body been motivation tochange your diet, modify your food habits, or eliminate all indulgences? That’s a “yes” from me. I know at times I have fed my body out of a sense of punishment.
What about this: Has your disappointment, or even hatred of your body been motivation to join the gym or push your body physically in some way? That’s a “yes” from me, too. I know at times I was doing exercise purely out of a sense of punishment. Punishment for not being thin enough, toned enough, comfortable enough in my clothing.
I’m not sure about you, but punishment has never been a sustainable motivation for me.
Now, before you point out the seeming inconsistency in what I’m saying, let me clarify: of course, we should nourish our bodies with healthy food; of course, we should move our bodies and keep them strong. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do these things. What I’m simply pointing out is that we need to eat and move from a place of appreciation and respect for our bodies and what they do for us. In other words, reward your body with these things, don’t punish. This has been a mindset shift for me, and I wanted to share it with you.
Respecting and Embracing your Body
A few years ago, I watched the documentary Embraceand was deeply moved and inspired by its message. If you haven’t watched it, you really must. In short, the film discusses why women hate their bodies so much, but then inspires us to learn to embrace them. To quote Taryn Brumfitt, the host: “Our Bodies are not ornaments, they are vehicles.” Oh, how I love that.
So, for quite some time now, I have been on a journey to embrace my body. How? By growing in respect and compassion for it!
I try to stop and be mindful about everything that my body is doing for me without my even being aware. Breathing, circulating blood, regulating hormones, balancing internal stress, digesting food, distributing nutrients, filtering out wastes, building immune response, responding to constant sensory stimuli, and so much more.
Then I stop to be mindful about all that my body accomplished to help me become a mother. It’s awe-inspiring. Or about the opportunities I have because of my body. I can run with my children, I can hug them, I can hear their laughter, I can marvel in their smile, I can teach them about life and nurture them in so many ways. Just thinking about it all this brings a profound sense of respect and a desire to want to give my body every chance to do those things well. My body is indeed a vehicle for me to enjoy life and I am grateful for the health I have because of it.
So, out of this respect for my body, I want to reward it with the things that it deserves: the endorphin rush of a good walk or workout, but also the respite of watching a movie on the couch. The nutrient dense foods that keep me strong and healthy, but also bit of coffee and cake, because it deserves that, too.
Take a moment to think about how incredible your body is. All it has done, all it is doing right now, all that you hope it will be able to do for you in the future. Now, from that place: feed and move it. Rest it. Treat it well, because it deserves some love.
If you want more encouragement and inspiration on embracing your body, follow “Body Image Movement” on facebook and Instagram.
***Remember also our Mums night out on September 27th where we will be watching the Embrace film- Where you can find A lot more encouragement in this area!***