Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Love My Body Project

Today is the first day of July. It's summer and super hot outside. Summer and super hot means swimsuit weather! And shorts. And tank tops. It means wearing as little clothing as socially acceptable to keep from dying of heat stroke.

This is great news for people who love their bodies and are comfortable in their own skin. It's not so great for the rest of us.

From a young age, I've been very self-conscious about my shape, weight and body image. I've always wanted to be skinny. When I was a teen, it wasn't too hard to stay thin, though my bone structure was never one that allowed me to be below a size 8. In college, I gained 'the freshman fifteen', but I was still pretty thin, and if I ever wanted to lose a few pounds, I just... did. I practically thought about it, and it was gone.

Then, as we post-teenage ladies know, time goes on, metabolism slows, and for some of us, we start having babies. Our hips widen, our bodies cling to extra fat reserves for possible future pregnancies, and if we've been pregnant, our skin stretches and our breasts fill with milk then sag (whether we breastfeed or not). Those photos of us in bikinis at sixteen laughing by the pool seem like photos from another life. Photos of us in bikinis now are hard to recognize, because we've put our hands out in front of the camera while screaming, 'NO!'. That is, if we were even in a bikini at all. More likely, we've moved on to tankinis or one-pieces with skirts, a coverup and a towel.

In the last year, I've gained weight, and I've been miserable about it. My mental health hasn't been optimal to begin with, and this obsession with my weight has made it even worse. I spend a majority of the day thinking, either directly or indirectly, about my weight, my figure, my shape and how others perceive me. To an unhealthy extent, I obsess about how I look.

Since February, I've been visiting the gym regularly. I go because it gives me something to do and because I like how it makes me feel. I also hoped it would help me lose a few pounds. Instead, I've only gained. Perhaps it's muscle, perhaps not, but the numbers on the scale haunt me anyway. I've tried counting calories and other half-hearted diet changes, but I always fail. I did keto in January for a month, but having house-guests quickly made that incredibly difficult to maintain. I have felt defeated, depressed and anxious about my body.

As the heat builds, and I look longingly at the shorts in my drawer, I reach for the thin cotton trousers instead to hide the body I don't want anyone to see, the body I'm ashamed of, the body I hate.

A couple of days ago I watched this video on Upworthy, where 'Plus Size' model Robyn Lawley says 'I love my body the way it is.'

I thought, 'Wow. I'd love to be able to say that about myself.'

I decided it was time to embrace the body I live in. I could use to lose a few pounds, yes, and I'd be healthier for it. I decided to go back on keto with Scott and to up my time at the gym. But my motivation is a little different this time.

Instead of being motivated to get down to a certain weight or a certain clothes size, my motivation is to love my body. However it looks. If I eat better, cut out carbs, workout more regularly, then I will be getting healthier. I may or may not lose a lot of weight. Eventually, once I break the ingrained carb addiction, I'll start allowing myself a treat now and again - after all, I only get to live once, and I don't want to live my whole life continually obsessing about food and weight! I want to enjoy food as I always have, while also enjoying the way I look and feel in my own skin (and fat stores). I know I'll never be 'skinny'. My natural weight may just be higher than I wish it were. But my goal now is to be healthier, not necessarily much skinnier, and to learn to love my body. While I'd like to fit more comfortably in my clothes (they have definitely gotten tighter over the last year), I'd also like to be able to honestly say 'I love my body'.

I like how this model commented that the more you actually say 'I love my body' the more it works. It gave me the idea to start a Love My Body Project (which I'm sure has already been done officially elsewhere, so it's not like I'm trying to start a 'thing'). I've decided that each day for the whole month of July, I will stand in front of my mirror and compliment myself. I will find something about the way I look (and not just in my face, but from my whole body) and compliment myself on it. And I will look in the mirror and say, 'I love my body' and try to mean it.

Today, I noticed that when I'm sitting with my knees up and my feet on the ottoman, my legs look smooth and sexy. I told myself how nice my legs look when they are in that position.

It's not much. I certainly don't like them when they are flat and mashed out against the chair (but who does?). It's just a start. Today I love my legs when they are in that position.

Today, I stand in front of the mirror and say, 'I love my body.' It's summer, and I'm going to wear shorts and I'm going to love my body.

(And now I need to put away all the laundry on the couch...)


  1. well done! When i stopped telling myself iwas trying tolose weight, i felt better. I aim to be healthier so i can go out and "play" (should be in italics!). It means that when i want tosnack, i rememeber its ok to eat inbetween my meals, but to eat slower til i feel full rather than scoff and feel ill after. Also i tend to go for fruit and veg rather tahn cakes and crisps. i read Jason Vales book and a lot of what he said makes sence. Still to take the plunge and only drink juie for a few days, which is really silly cause when yuounger and skinnier i used to 'detox' regularly and it was easy. Its all in the mind.

    1. Thanks Debbie. :) It IS all the mind. Unfortunately, our minds are ridiculously powerful. :)

  2. Sorry for all the typos. I'm actually embarrassed!

    The Mind is soo powerful that we forget we control it. We just need to Step Up and take that control.


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