When recently packing for our trip down to Florida, I tried on some of my clothes from last summer and noticed how they fit differently aka my body was carrying more weight than it had been the last time I wore them. In the past, this would have thrown me into a shame spiral that had me obsessing over everything I ate and feelings of deep self-loathing.
However, this is what I did this time around instead…
I looked in the mirror and said out loud, “ok, you’ve put on some weight. I don’t love that, but I still love you” I stood and looked at my body exactly as it is and took some deep breaths and placed my hands on myself. Then I smiled and felt a moment of great relief that it could be as simple as that. I continued with my packing, choosing the clothes that felt good on my body and put away the ones that were snug without any longing to see them again and moved on with my day. I didn't vow to "do better" or "be better". I didn't immediately jump into a crazy workout regimen or restricted eating diet. Instead I allowed for that simple moment of consciousness to be enough. Because I am not my body.
I know this may sound basic for anyone who may not struggle with intense feelings around their body, but this is a huge win for any of us who do. The ability to openly accept and acknowledge our bodies, not as good or bad when we go up or down on the scale, but as the ever evolving and fluctuating organisms that they are. To openly voice to ourselves honest reality and our feelings about it, separate from our feelings of self: “I don’t love that, but I still love you” has been a major game changer for me personally.
I wrote recently that I don’t really believe in “body positivity” but more in body neutrality or acceptance because the truth is, when we force ourselves to feel a specific way, even perceived positive ways, we are often negating the reality of what is. Body positivity would have me replace the truth of "I don't love that" with a more "positive" statement even though it may not be true. A kind of "fake it till you make it" mindset. As someone who teaches mindfulness and meditation, I believe that our strongest power for healing lives in what is, rather than some false forced perception or narrative of where we would rather be. It doesn’t mean that I don’t always think my body is beautiful. That’s the big misconception because beauty itself is neither positive or negative, it just is. There is beauty in all of our different forms and it does not need to be defined as only an experience with what we have deemed “positive”. Body positivity implies that in order to find it, we must continue to maintain a one sided conversation with ourselves, often manipulating our own minds into the submission of “positive”. As they say, you absolutely can have too much of a good thing and eventually that positivity becomes toxic. It’s the same kind of suppression that has told women for centuries to put a smile on their face and hide their innermost feelings because no one needs to see that, including ourselves. It's BS.
And to be clear, body acceptance does not mean anti-weightloss or anti-fit, the same way that it doesn’t mean anti-fat. I am not anti anything when it comes to the body because that is the entire point. All of the boxing off we have done through commercialism and social media around what makes a body good or not is causing a severe confusion when the time comes to really look at ourselves in the mirror and stand with what actually is. We think there is some kind of measurement that will give us the answer to whether or not we are doing it “right” or “being good”. Instead of that, try what is real. Allow yourself to stand confidently in the truth of what is for a moment and repeat these words: “I may not love that, but I still love you”, if that is in fact your truth. Or perhaps it is “I love it, and I love you”. I have had many of those moments too. It's ok to have an opinion on your body, but we don't need to be consumed by that opinion. Because YOU are not your body’s aesthetic. YOU are much more than that. And frankly, your body is much more than that. And you need not shame yourself into the submission of a complete and total overhaul, nor do you need to lie your way into positivity. What is, is enough because it’s what IS in this moment. You are enough. Only when we learn to trust that, can we truly find freedom within ourselves and the kind of radical self-love that doesn’t rely on what size you are.
I don’t love that I have gained some weight mostly because I don't feel as fluid as I do when I am carrying a bit less of myself. AND I still deeply and profoundly love myself today, right now as is. I will go put into action the things that I know support that love. I will move my body a bit more each day and more consciously consume my food without the side of guilt or shame, simply because I know what my body needs right now. I won’t obsess over any of it because I do not wish to spend that kind of mental energy when I have so many bigger and more important things to do. Because I am not my body. It is a part of me. And only a part of me.
Interested in learning how I am able to create such confident and loving boundaries with myself? Join me this Sunday for a Creating Boundaries workshop. I will give you the secret right off the bat: creating boundaries is not about others, it's about ourselves. And it's not about limitations, it's about expansion. And it extends into all areas of our life: relationships, money, self-love and worth, parenting and so on...
ALSO...here is what happens when we create boundaries...
Through honest and loving observation, I know it's time to commit to moving a bit more beyond just the classes I teach. I don't need to shame or guilt myself into it. I don't need to force anything at all. As I have shared before and through the creation of eMOTION, my history is to use movement as punishment. Thankfully I have learned from my own history and so instead, I'm committing to only do what brings me joy AND gets me moving and sweating with just some more consistency. This may be a long walk in nature while listening to a podcast, a bike ride with my daughter or my favorite thing in the whole wide world: DANCING!!!
HUGE shoutout to Mike Peele of Hip Hop Fit, my latest go-to!! My favorite thing about his channel: He features humans of ALL shapes, sizes and colors and is all about the JOY!!
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.