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It Took Me 40 Years, But I Love My Body!

“But meanwhile, the catharses and epiphanies just keep on erupting. You’re growing more soulful and less subject to people’s delusions by the minute. Your rather unconventional attempts at healing are working – maybe not as rapidly as you’d like, but still, they *are* working.” ~ From Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology horoscope for Scorpio

~ ~ ~ ~

I was about seven or eight years old the first time I remember thinking that there was something wrong with my body. I’d been to the pediatrician with my mother and when we got back, she said to my stepfather: “the doctor says she’s chunky.” I don’t remember hearing the doctor say this, but when my mother repeated it, I sensed amusement at first, but mostly I heard that something was wrong…perhaps it was fear?

It was the late 60s and, like today, I am sure the doctor had charts that indicated where a child was in terms of height and weight. And in that moment in time, I was apparently off the chart. I wonder if it was his visual assessment of me that made him say that, or was it my actual weight?

What came after that moment was 40 years of dissatisfaction with my body, focusing only on its weight (up or down) and flaws. I chose to punish my body (and myself) with food. And on a greater level, I also chose to relinquish my power.

I don’t say this to blame the doctor or my mother. There are countless other women (and men) who had similar experiences…doctors and mothers all over the world say these kinds of things. Others make different choices in response.

Is there a direct correlation between “the doctor says she’s chunky” and the choices and decisions I made afterwards? If the doctor and my mother hadn’t said those things, would my life (and body) have turned out differently? Maybe, but probably not. I think a whole slew of moments had occurred  (and would occur afterwards) that set me on the cyclical path of bingeing, emotional eating, hating my body, and then trying to lose weight via all kinds of diets, gimmicks, and even drugs (both legal and illegal). Not to mention my own unique personality and genetic makeup.

But that moment in time is symbolic.

It’s only been in the past few years that I have actively pursued loving my body as it is. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t always work. But something I have come to realize is that everything is progress even when it doesn’t feel or look like progress…even when it feels like the opposite. Sometimes it feels like progress and success can (or should) only be seen on the outside and so comes the need to “prove” something. I strive to remember that oftentimes, the greatest progress is internal.

It’s the awful/beautiful/scary/exhilarating/frustrating/oh my god journey.

I am not broken. I do not need to be fixed. I may not have a perfect body or perfect habits, but who I am at my core is whole, complete, and good. When I believe this and live this, my body comes to its natural, healthy weight. ~ me

This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival

by Jeanette Davis Las Vegas, NV

Rosie Molinary’s Body Warrior Pledge

Because I understand that my love and respect for my body are metaphors of my love and respect for my self and soul, I pledge to do the following:

To stop berating my body and to begin celebrating the vessel that I have been given. I will remember the amazing things my body has given me: the ability to experience the world with a breadth of senses, the ability to perceive and express love, the ability to comfort and soothe, and the ability to fight, provide, and care for humanity.

To understand that my body is an opportunity not a scapegoat.

To be the primary source of my confidence. I will not rely on or wait for others to define my worth.

To let envy dissipate and allow admiration to be a source of compassion by offering compliments to others.

To gently but firmly stand up for myself when someone says to me (or I say to myself) something harmful.

To change the inner-monologue in my head to one that sees possibility not problems, potential not shortcomings, blessings not imperfections.

To give my body the things that it needs to do its work well: plenty of water, ample movement, stretches, rest, and good nutrition, and to limit or eliminate the things that do not nurture my body.

To see exercise as a way to improve my internal health and strength instead of a way to fight or control my body.

To understand that my weight is not good or bad. It is just a number, and I am only good.

To love my body and my self today. I do not have to weigh ten pounds less, have longer hair, or to have my degree in my hand to have worth. I have worth just as I am, and I embrace that power.

To recognize my body’s strengths.

To no longer put off the things that I wish to experience because I am waiting to do them in a different body.

To understand that a body, just like a personality, is like a fingerprint: a wonderful embodiment of my uniqueness.

13 Comments

  • Posted October 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Nice!

    I didn’t know there was a Love Your Body day … not sure how I feel about that. I thankful for what my body can do, but I’d still prefer to have my pre-accident body back, but that’s not possible, so guess I’ll love the one I have :)

    I think I might write a post about that … thanks!

  • Posted October 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    So wonderful that you were able to get to this point in your life, Karen. I’m working hard to be there, too. It’s suprising to me how a shift in mindset can make such a huge difference. I’m seeing myself so differently when I look in the mirror. I have always had a strong, critical eye and now, I’m looking and finding thing I actually “like”. Weird. And good :)

  • Posted October 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Karen,

    Wow – good for you. It truly is a journey and I love how you are so very honest about where you are on your journey.

    I’ve become more and more convinced that especially women have been told that unless our bodies and faces and hair and clothes (etc etc) look a certain way, we are flawed. I know I’ve been striving to change my body externally since I was about eight years old. But only this year, have I ever tried to respect and listen to my body. And when I do – wow.

    And I’m grateful to you for your reminders to be mindful. I may not comment every day, but I do keep up here!

  • Posted October 20, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    There’s so many things I like about this post – the first quote, the post, your quote and the pledge – that I don’t even really know where to begin commenting. I’ll say this – even though we’re on different continents, I always consider you not only a soul-sister, but a coach. I learn so much from you!

  • Posted October 21, 2011 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Such a wonderful, inspirational post, I just had to say Bravo!

  • Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Love this Karen
    We celebrate this day at our house in HOPES my daughter gets if before I did…

  • Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I am not broken. I do not need to be fixed. I may not have a perfect body or perfect habits, but who I am at my core is whole, complete, and good. When I believe this and live this, my body comes to its natural, healthy weight. ~ me

    You should make this into a plaque and sell it!
    b

  • Posted October 23, 2011 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    I love the writing bloggers have done for the Love my Body day – this post included. Nice to have at least one day where people can rejoice in all that is good about their body and let whatever is needling them fall to the side.

    Maybe the first step is acceptance of realities. Embracing things unchangeable and chipping away at the stuff that keeps you from… soaring.

    I feel grateful for my body and strangely for the ups and down I have had with it – mentally and physically. Could I have gotten to the same place I am today without the weight? You know what – probably not. One way or another you can find gratitude in things that – on their face – seem irredeemable.

    And – thank you for the comment you left on my blog the other day about the diff between consistent and constant (I don’t think those were your exact words), but it got me to thinking and it sort of screwed my head on back the right way. I go down a path – not a good one and someone ambles along and sets me back on the path where I am supposed to be. Thank you for being a thoughtful friend.

  • Posted October 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    um… I love your quote, I might steal it and put in in my mirror too!

    I remember taking dance classes and feeling fat and very uncomfortable in my body, self-conscious. I don’t know if someone said something about my weight, but this time is very symbolic for me, and never really left me.

    I am now learning that I am not broken either, that the more I love what I do, what I am, the more I accept myself, and love my body and treat it with love!

  • Posted October 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    “Sometimes it feels like progress and success can (or should) only be seen on the outside and so comes the need to “prove” something. I strive to remember that oftentimes, the greatest progress is internal.”

    I need to remember this. Excellent post.

  • Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Oh, Karen, the whole post was exquisite and powerful but that last line? The I am not broken, I do not need to be fixed piece? WOW. wow. wow. Thank you for sharing!

    On a totally different note, are you a Scorpio? I am, too! When’s your birthday?

  • Posted October 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Amazing post Karen… total lump in the throat stuff :) And I love the photo, that gorgeous smile hasn’t changed a bit! And a fellow Scorpio! Ziiiing!

  • Posted October 27, 2011 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Good post. Your line about the greatest progress is inside really resonates with me–I have been working to lose weight, but I’m gaining confidence and a better sense of who I am in the process, and that’s just as valuable to me.

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