Love Your Body day was last week and part of the Now campaign battling negative body images.
I’ve done posts the past couple of years during the campaign, posting miniature lists about the parts of my body that I love and encouraged friends reading my blog to do the same. I think it’s important to recognize the parts of us that are beautiful, even when we can’t recognize that it’s not the parts that are but the whole. Today I debated posting up another list of things about my body that I love, and seeing if it differed at all from previous years. But I realized I didn’t want to another list of body parts. This year, I want to truly love my body.
So I thought about it today, thought about what it meant to me to love my body. Thought about my body and what it’s capable of. Thought about all the good things I did for it, and those things came easily. But just as easily came thoughts of the bad things that I do to my body and there were quite a few of them.
I don’t eat as well as I should, I drink too much soda and eat too much chocolate. My favorite breakfast is chocolate chip pancakes, with lots of syrup and bacon on the side. I have a jar of Cheese Whiz in my fridge and the same week I ran the half marathon, I had a Big Mac combo for lunch.
I love wine a little too much, and sugary sweet cocktails like fruity martinis, daquiris and margaritas. At times I’ve drank so much that I’ve been sick, and have wasted the day following being sick.
I’ve smoked stuff that I shouldn’t have, at the same time drinking more than I should have, and then eaten things that I shouldn’t have. A triple whammy and more days wasted while I recovered.
I’ve gained weight and lost it only to gain it again. I’ve watched the numbers on the scale go up and down, the size of my clothes have gone from single digits to double digits to single digits.
In a lot of ways, I haven’t been very nice to my body, haven’t loved my body at all.
But despite those things, despite the harm that I do, I do a lot of things for my body that are good. I carry water with me at all times, have a bottle of it beside my bed. I drink a lot of cranberry juice, I eat spinach and green beans. I try not to eat a lot of salt, and try not to eat a lot of processed foods. I’ve added fish to my diet and have switched to drinking caffeine free soda, but not diet because if given the choice, I’d rather sugar than aspartame. I do yoga and lift weights and yep, I can run 21km. I don’t bother looking for parking spots close to the entrance of where I am going, take the stairs, walk to the end of the train platform and twice a day make the 20 minute walk to and from the train station to my office. I go for occasional massages, facials, pedicures and manicures. When my knee busted on me earlier this year, I spent hundreds of dollars at the chiro, fixing it so I could run again. More money is spent at the gym each month. I make sure to give my body the sleep it needs and I soak it in long, hot baths.
To me, loving your body is about finding a balance between the things that is good for it and the things that is bad for it. Be consistent with the good things, and do the bad things in moderation. The good will take care of the bad.
This body of mine is the only body I will be given in my lifetime, and it needs to be taken care of. But just like anything else that works hard in this life, it needs to be rewarded in order to keep going. I thought about all this as I walked to the train station the other evening, thought about it as I stopped at a convenience store and bought a box of chocolate covered raisins. Thought about why I was buying the raisins, and thought about how I wasn’t trying to talk myself out of it, or that I wasn’t trying to convince myself that it wasn’t that bad because technically it was part fruit. All those thoughts ran through my mind in the 30 seconds it took me to find the box and hand the guy my dollar and some change, and then the final thought was that I was buying the chocolate covered raisins simply because I wanted them. My body works hard for me, it’s been through pain and misery and will be through even worse pain and misery. It’s never failed me and I don’t anticipate that it will, at least not for a very long time. It deserves to be rewarded now and again, and yep, sometimes that reward is a box of chocolate.