I used to run 60+ miles a week, do countless sit ups and pushups, and lift weights at least 3x a week, all so that I’d feel more beautiful. It ended up being fruitless labour, because no matter how close I got to, or matched, my magic number on the scale, I still never saw my own beauty.
I blamed my body.
It wasn’t responding or listening… what I saw in the mirror was never my ideal, and so it must be flawed.
I tried to control it even more.
On a good day, when my body performed, then I was OK, and maybe then I allowed myself a small sliver of approval when I looked in the mirror. On the many bad days, my body got the brunt of it. The displacement of my own self-loathing.
One of the biggest measurements of my own healing has been the letting go of needing to move my body in a certain way in order for me to feel good about myself.
Some days I walk, practice warrior poses, cycle, swim upstream, float, twirl around my living room, or just sit on my ass.
My body’s movement no longer defines how I feel about what I see in the mirror.
Letting go of needing to burn a certain number of calories, or run a certain number of miles in a certain amount of time, has created space for actually enjoying and being grateful for what I can do.
I started running more consistently this summer. A grand total of 5 miles a week most weeks. Not too long ago I wouldn’t have even bothered with those 5 miles. What’s the point if you’re not going to get at least 3 miles in at time?
Detaching my own self-worth and measurement of beauty from the performance of my body has freed me to embrace ‘everything counts’ with movement.
The fact my body can run for 2 minutes without stopping is just as important and enough as when my body can run for 2 miles straight.
It’s taken me a loooong time to embrace this and not feel ‘less than’ when I’m out of breath just walking up a hill. But then I remember, ‘I’m walking up a hill!’ My legs are carrying my weight against gravity! My heart is pumping blood to meet its own needs without me telling it to!
I mean, what more can I ask for?
My body is mine to celebrate!
Try this at home: The next time you do any physical activity that normally counts as ‘exercise’, pause and find one thing to be grateful for about your body. Say these words of gratitude over and over as you’re running, walking, cycling, swimming, dancing etc and see if you notice a difference in how you feel about your body and yourself. Let us know if you do!
PS Want to try moving your body in some new ways that cultivate connection and gratitude towards yourself? Join us in The Nourish Circle for some simple easy ways to enjoy moving around.
Lots of Love,