On Monday, I asked: “What would it take–not just to love our bodies–but to actually like them too?” And I promised to share one way that I have begun a cease-fire with the battles I have waged with my body.
In the past eight months, I have begun to “wage peace,” by asking a simple question:
What can my body do?
It all began when my husband–who is a lot more athletic than I am–wanted us to begin exercising regularly. I agreed, knowing that exercise can make you feel good and better about yourself. But then, when we started, all these thoughts came flooding in: “How many calories did I burn?” “How often will I have to work out to lose weight?” “Maybe I can be thinner for my sister’s wedding?”
These thoughts started to become consuming, I was at war once again. And when I am at war, I start praying. As I prayed, some better questions emerged:
“Why does exercise always become about losing weight?”
“What does it look like to take care of my body without obsessing over it?–Without trying to make it into something it’s not?”
“What does it look like to Celebrate What is?”
In the past, when I tried exercising, I always gave up because it was about becoming something I am not–rather than celebrating and taking care of what I am. This time however, it has been different. My focus has shifted.
When I am at the gym it’s not “How many calories can I burn?” or “How fast can I run?” (which still isn’t fast) It is “What can I do today?” and “Can I do more than I have before?”
This practice of shifting my focus onto what I can do, has not only helped me with exercise, it has also shifted how I see my body in all areas of my life.
I have two legs that can get me where I need to go.
I have two hands that can bake bread to feed people.
I have two arms that embrace those that need a hug.
I have a body that is healthy, which means I can enjoy new experiences.
When I focus on what my body is and what it can do, all of a sudden it is my friend again. My reflection in the mirror is no longer my enemy. The battle has ceased.
Does this mean the war is over? –that I am successful at this every day? No. But it does mean that by Celebrating What Is, there are more battles that I have won.
What do you have to celebrate?