It’s both a shame and a blessing that it took you twenty-five years to learn to love and honor the body you were given. As a depressed, lonely thirteen-year old outcast, you learned how to mask the disgust of not being thin enough, not being tall enough, not being able to fit into those overpriced Abercrombie & Fitch jeans the “cool” girls turned heads in.
Instead you starved yourself and stayed up for hours doing abdominal work outs from Seventeen magazine that promised you a hot date to the next school dance and a large group of friends. When that didn’t work, you dyed your hair bright pink, slapped black lipstick on your perfectly innocent lips, and covered your young body in oversized band tee shirts to mask the rejection.
As a teenager, you joined the track team and began to lose the baby fat. Then you joined a gym and for the first time ever you were skinny. It wasn’t uncommon to eat under one thousand calories a day or to spend up to three hours doing cardio.
No matter how thin you were, all you could see looking back at you in the mirror were your imperfections. Echoes of your peers taunting you for your appearance rang in your ears as you pushed yourself to do just one more hour on the elliptical. You let others define you with their compliments, backhanded or genuine. You let others physically and emotionally destroy your body.
Then one day, many years later, you had your first child. A daughter. A beautiful, healthy baby with leg rolls for days and cheeks everybody lined up to pinch. She gave you a whole new perspective on how you needed to treat yourself, because it finally dawned upon you that time doesn’t slow down for anyone and before you could blink she’d be soaking in every thought that escaped your scattered mind.
You had two choices. Continue to self-destruct and criticize everything about your appearance, or to love yourself and all your “flaws” in hopes of teaching your daughter the same thing. You made the decision to practice self-love.
Part of that self-love includes working out for about thirty minutes to one hour four days a week because of how great the endorphins feel, as well as eating healthy for the most part but also having a basket of chicken wings and fries and enjoying every bite with no guilt.
Could your belly be flatter? Heck yes. But that would mean you’d have to deprive yourself of those chicken wings and fries which you’ve really grown to love. You’d have to deprive yourself of pleasure and you now refuse to do that. Instead, you chose to honor your body, flaws and all.
After all, it is the shell that holds your beautiful soul every single day. There’s nothing not to love about that.