Body positive: musings

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I consider myself lucky in that I’ve never had to experience a true struggle with weight. Throughout my life I’ve always maintained what would clinically be described as a “healthy weight” (whatever that means). That being said…I’ve always had insecurities about my body, basically since puberty. My body started changing then, and it continues to evolve as I get older. Now that I’m in my 30s, there are some more noticeable changes. Namely that I keep getting curvier…and curvier. I am guilty of making “I’m fat!” lamentations on a way-too-frequent basis, with my boyfriend as my sole witness (I’m working on it). Most of my friends are bigger than me to various degrees, so it seems in poor taste to whine about my body insecurities when their concerns carry more weight (literally). And for the record, my boyfriend makes it very clear he’s still into my body, even though it’s not the same body I had when we fell in love (and neither is his).

But I do struggle. Most women do, even those of us who aren’t “overweight.” As we age, our metabolism slows down. If we aren’t meticulous with our diet and fitness regime, we tend to thicken out in various places. For me, it’s my lower stomach, hips, and thighs—my tummy being my biggest insecurity. At 5’2”, I’m very petite, so pounds tend to show up more visibly on me than they do on women with taller frames.

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I’ve “outgrown” most of my size 4 clothes and am now selecting a size 6, and trading most of my “smalls” for “mediums.” After being a size 4 for many years, it can be difficult to accept that my body is changing…growing…filling out. Rather than depress myself by trying to squeeze into my 4s, I bought myself clothes that actually fit. Wouldn’t a vigorous exercise regime and strict low-carb diet slim me back down to my twentysomething body? I suppose so, if I had the discipline to follow through. I try to eat healthy, and I try to work out/stay active. But I’m not a “fitness person” or a “clean eating person.” I have tried to be, and I’m just…not. I hate workout clothes, I hate sweating. I walk as much as I can. I like quinoa and salads. I have to be real with myself, and a strict fitness lifestyle will never be sustainable for me in the long-term. Every time I roll out my yoga mat for a quick 10 or 20 minute toning workout is a huge victory. And it is—something is always better than nothing.

Yesterday I treated myself to a new nightie from Target—soft, stretchy modal trimmed with lace. Comfy but sexy. But as I sat on my futon watching the latest season of House of Cards, my hands wandered down to my lower belly and began pinching the fat deposits on my lower abdomen. I was disgusted and angry with myself. How could I let this happen? I just wanted this “disgusting fat” off of me! Then I stopped, and went on Pinterest, searching keywords like “real women bodies” and “body positive.” I was inspired then and there to create my own Body Positive Pinterest board to create beautiful reminders that my body is 1) completely and utterly normal 2) healthy and 3) doesn’t need to be “perfect” to be loved TODAY. We all know how underrepresented “real women” are in today’s social media culture. But there are a growing number of women who inspire me and embrace “imperfections” like fat rolls and cellulite, and companies like Aerie that are being more inclusive with their models. We still have a long way to go, culturally, when it comes to body acceptance.

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I realized something else last night: I have been self-shaming my body for months, maybe even years. Because I’m not at my ideal fitness level, or my ideal weight, because my body is expanding rather than shrinking, softening rather than tightening. But why wage war on my body? Why not just accept that my thirtysomething body IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT than the body I had a decade ago? If I go through pregnancy and childbirth, there are going to be more changes.

My goal is to move my body, nourish my body, and be gentle, kind, and loving toward my body. Are you with me?!

I stumbled across Fat Girl Flow and while I am not “fat,” I adore Corissa’s message, most importantly that being body positive isn’t about “health,” it’s about loving the body we have regardless. Don’t unhealthy bodies deserve just as much love as a “healthy” body?

On my body positive reading list: Body Kindness: Transform Your Health From the Inside Out—And Never Say Diet Again by Rebecca Scritchfield, and Planking for Pizza: A Body Positive Guide to a Confident, Healthy, Happy You by Jessica Pack (@plankingforpizza on Instagram).

comparing is toxic behavior

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In light of recent events – my boyfriend getting a teaching job and me being extremely bitter/jealous/resentful of his success due to my dead-end job and being at the very beginning of my education – I’ve found myself gravitating towards “positive” blogs. I used to be much more spiritual, much more aligned with love and light, and my intentions were better. I don’t know what happened, but I’ve definitely lost that spark. I hate who I’ve become. I feel completely inadequate and ashamed of my choices and where they’ve lead me. I compare my lack of success to my boyfriend’s success and it eats me alive.

It’s unrealistic, obviously, to expect to be an exact even match with your romantic partner. It is difficult, I’m finding, when you find yourself with a fellow creative person with similar interests, passions and goals. It feels competitive, but it shouldn’t. I’m not sure I want to teach, per se. I just want to have a career that is more tailored to my the things that I love (just like everyone else in the world).

I stumbled across this post by Rosie Hanke, and it really resonated with me, so I thought I would share:

“You don’t need anything more in your life to be someone great….”

Have you ever looked at the lives of people around you and then came back to yourself with a yucky feeling inside questioning why you don’t have what they have or how you could be at such a different place in life than them? *raises hand* I have. It’s part jealousy – part insecurity.

I have looked at my friends’ lives and compared my own life to theirs only seeing the positives in their own and the negatives in mine. I saw how far ahead some of them were in their schooling, in their careers (yes, careers, not just jobs), and life in general. I thought how did I mess everything up so much to end up where I am? ..So far from where I thought I should be and where society said I should be. I was mad at myself and comparing myself to others success only made things worse.

Are you comparing yourself to someone else or someone else’s accomplishments? If so, Stop! When we do things like that we are only hurting ourselves. I came to realize that looking at my life in such a way that could only make me wish I had more to prove of myself was pretty ridiculous. It doesn’t matter where I am in life or what I have accomplished at this point in time- None of those things make me more or less loveable and the same goes for you.

You don’t need anything more in your life to be someone great, or to be more valued, or to have a better looking life— You are already worth so much more than you can imagine. Where you’re at in life does not define your worth.

It can be so easy to fall into a place of self-hate when you compare yourself to others; don’t do that to yourself. When you stop comparing, you open up your world and yourself to a newfound freedom that gives you the magic and the beauty to just be yourself!

Love yourself where you are, for who you are.

Do you ever get stuck in comparing yourself to others? How do you deal with it? Please share in the comments! xo

meditation Monday: be your own bestie

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Sometimes someone else says it better than I could. From a post @ The Daily Love by Agapi Stassinopolous.

There are two things that perpetuate a lot of hurt in our lives: judgments and expectations. We expect that people are going to act a certain way. Usually, this looks like we expect people to act in exactly the way we want them to. When people inevitably fail to act the way we want them to or the way we think they should, we experience hurt. This is when we have an opportunity to shift our perspectives. We can realize that people are going to behave and act according to their own rules, and commit to just love and support ourselves regardless. Let’s be our own best friends! If, on some rare occasion, others act in a way that fulfills our expectations, then hurray for us! If they don’t, then so be it. If we give ourselves the latitude to realize that each person we encounter has a whole other movie going on inside of their heads and their own script they are following, we can accept that we have no clue about what their reality is like, what is present and important at that time for them, and not make assumptions about their motives. We are the authors and the stars of our own movie – not anyone else’s.

Beautiful.