It has taken me 29 years to figure this out.
I have struggled with body image since the young age of 10.
This last year was a pivotal one for me—I dove into my psyche and made many life changes to improve my mental health after years of not having the proper knowledge or tools to do so. Quite frankly, I was also tired and focused on my kids only.
Some of the changes I made were accepting what social media was doing to my happiness and removing it, embracing minimalism, quitting drinking, learning to stop caring about what others think, and finally going back to my passion of writing after feeling quite lost as a stay-at-home Mom for so long.
My purpose is always to be a mother, but my passion is writing.
But loving my body was by far the biggest change I made and the hardest as well. I truly believe that until we can find happiness and fulfilment in our lives, deciding what lights a fire within us, we will focus on the things that do not truly matter; like our pant’s size.
That sounds really basic and obvious. But if we are enjoying our lives through eating the food we love and moving our bodies in a way that we enjoy, we will find that we begin to love and appreciate our bodies and stop scrutinizing them.
If we are not moving our bodies or nourishing them in ways that feel good, we will not be happy. For example, I was doing intermittent fasting for months, and, sure, my stomach was flatter than ever, and I was the size I wanted to be; however, this came at the price of my mental health, and I was not actually happy, despite looking the way society would praise me for.
I missed out on late-night snacks with my husband, popcorn during movie nights with my kids, epic junk food feasts with my family at the cottage during late-night card games, all so I could maintain a body that was not maintainable. I was starved.
The same can be said for exercise. At one time, I was doing an hour of cardio daily, along with yoga and crunches, and if I missed any of them, even on vacation, I was anxious and miserable.
I was not nourishing my body or moving my body in ways I enjoyed, and although my body looked how I wanted it, it came at a price that was too high.
My inspiration for my change in thinking came from a post on Instagram, ironically. Of course, I cannot locate it at the moment, but it was along the lines of, the perfect body is one in which you are feeding it and moving it in ways that bring you joy.
Read that again—it is inspiring for all of us who have tried strict exercise regimes or deprivation diets that we hated. Life is about balance, and it is about being happy, at peace, and accepting things that we cannot change. We can only alter our natural shape so much without compromising our health.
Since altering my mindset on health and changing my lifestyle, I feel better than ever, and my pants still fit, guys! I eat what I love, which is mainly healthy, because it is what makes me feel good, but I don’t impose any rules on myself; if I want to eat the cupcake, I do.
With exercise, I go way easier on myself. I urge all of us to think about what we love to do physically and just do more of that. I love yoga, so on some days, I only do that. If I feel like getting sweaty, I hop on my elliptical. If I just want to walk my dogs, that is all I do.
Bottom line here is: do what makes you feel good, and I promise you will see your body in a new light, appreciating and loving it for all it can do.
If we are sitting around eating junk and never moving, we will surely feel unhealthy and not love our bodies—that is just common sense. Our bodies are meant to move, and we will feel much better doing so.
At the risk of sounding cliché, remember that no one will speak about our bodies in our eulogies—they will speak of our spirits. Do not take your only home—your body and mind—on this planet for granted.
If you found any of this information inspiring or think someone in your life could benefit from this thinking, please share the love. I want to help people who are suffering as I did.