Being Kind: 8 things I love about my body

8 things I love about myself | sweetandsavorylife.com

Lately I’ve really been taking seriously the art of loving myself. In my most recent health update, I almost didn’t go to bootcamp this morning., I realized the following:

*I am not being as kind to myself as I should be.

*Little choices make a big difference, if you let them all add up.

*My perception of my body (and how I have thought it should look for a long time) is way off-kilter. I am learning to understand the importance of loving the body I have today – not the body I might have in three months or the body I had three years ago – the body I have right now.

Pretty big revelations, if you ask me. As always, there is more churning around in my mind when it comes to the topics of fitness and the mind/body balance, but overall I’m enjoying my current mental state. It’s forgiving, accountable, and loving. Though some days are much easier than others, I am learning on the “easy” days that I’m happier because I’ve consecutively made positive choices for myself (and in turn, am loving myself). Little things like drinking lots of water, going for an afternoon walk, slicing an apple… results in me feeling very present in my life. It’s a very euphoric kind of feeling that I do my best to hold onto.

Also, I weighed myself last Friday and I have lost 6.6 pounds, down to 159.4. I am noticing small changes in the mirror as well as my energy levels – things are clicking and I am very proud of myself. Honestly, that feels better than the number on the scale. My friend, Do, who I’ve mentioned here before, left me an eye-opening comment the other day. She said, “Weight gain is never permanent to me; same goes for weight loss. Neither are permanent!” This statement is so true. There is never a point where I’ll be “done” with being healthy. It’s a life-long commitment.

I will lose weight.

I will gain weight.

I will lose weight again.

I will gain weight again.

I will get older and my body will change.

And what matters most is what I choose to do right now.

Choices made frequently become habit – what kind of habits am I aiming to form? Healthy ones. Healthy chioces that will become habit, so that when I gain weight (hello, motherhood) I will be able to lose it. So that when I get a more strenuous job (hello, stressful 50 hour workweeks) I will still be motivated to exercise. These things are important to me and deserve attention because my body deserves to be tended to, nourished and taken care of. It’s the only one I’ve got, and we have a lot of years ahead of us.

As usual, what set out to be a simple list turned out to be wordier update than I anticipated. But it’s so good to type my thoughts out – therapeutic, even. So, like I was saying when I began this post, I am actively practicing the art of being kind to myself. Lately I’ve been contemplating the physical attributes about my body that I really do love, and have always loved, and thought I’d challenge you to do the same. Even if you try to think one positive thing about yourself and the negativity vultures immediately swoop in, I encourage you to ignore them for a few minutes today and make your own list of what you love about your body. And then hang it on your bathroom mirror. Or your fridge. Or just fold it up and put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself.

I dare you.

Here’s my list: 8 things I love about my body.

1. My calves. They are huge, and as a girl I have never been deterred by this. I still love to wear heels when the mood (or occasion) strikes and every now and then I flex the muscles just to feel how hard they are. It makes me feel strong.

2. The freckles that decorate my shoulders. I am very fair skinned and still have freckles on my cheeks and shoulders. In the summer, they become more prominent and I love them. They make me feel like a kid.

3. My feet in general. They might be the daintiest thing on my body (although I wear a size 9).

4. My hair. Even the grey ones.

5. My lips. Very full.

6. My forearms. Weird, I know.

7. My boobs. This is definitely a personal thing (meaning I don’t expect anyone to understand or appreciate my lady lumps like I do). I have never, ever, wanted them to be any different than they are.

and last, but not least…

8. My schnozz! Frames the face, as they say.

Now you go.

What do you love about your body? What makes you unique? (Newsflash–you are.) Chew on it. See what you reveal to yourself.

-Sarah

I AM ENOUGH: The first steps on my health journey

Update: Read Part Two Here! (02.21.13)

So. I just watched a really inspiring video about embracing vulnerability, and am compelled to share some thoughts with you on the matter. I think there are all kinds of vulnerability out there, but the one that I seem to be shying away from recently is the topic of my weight and evolving self-image.

In the video, Dr. Brene Brown talks about how, as a society, we are very accustomed to numbing vulnerability, as well as shame and a host of what I like to call the emotions that just make you feel like shit. Here’s the thing though: your brain can’t selectively numb emotions. You brain is pretty much an equal opportunity numb-er, if that’s the route you’re taking. Numbing vulnerability also means you’re numbing joy… and all the other good feelings. By doing that, you’re also halting any personal growth that could take place.

We all know that moments of weakness, vulnerability and uncertainty… are infinitely important for growth. So, when you choose to feel those hard feelings, truly experience the internal struggle of it all, you are growing. It’s good, though it does not feel like that in the beginning. I think we can all attest to a difficult time in the past that we feel has shaped our future in a positive way–even if that positive reason wasn’t truly understood until much later.

I am so much more vulnerable these days than I have ever been before. I have weathered many seasons where I was constantly in “protection mode.” And I didn’t allow myself to be vulnerable to anyone. I thought that I was preserving myself, and I guess in a way I was, but when I look back at those days now all I see is a girl sitting all alone in a prison she built with her own two hands. I am glad protection mode isn’t my default anymore. I’m proud of myself that I can be vulnerable, but not feel weak. I am happy that I can feel the hard emotions as well as the easy, happy emotions. Sure, some days I do feel like an ocean of emotion, but I’m still learning how to navigate the waters.

The real reason for this post: my weight gain. Since graduating high school in 2006, I have roughly gained 30 pounds. It’s been gradual, but over the past year I’ve felt like it’s really spiked. Some days my confidence is high. Some days it is not, and I feel uncomfortable in my skin. I am not a fan of those days. That being said, I have been at a crossroads for quite some time–experiencing a swirl of emotions about it all. I can’t keep gaining, on average, five pounds a year.

Right now I weigh 165 pounds. At 5’3″, that is not an ideal weight to be at. Numbers are very triggering for me–they always have been. If I’m being truly honest with you, I’m not excited to hit “Publish” on this post, knowing that these numbers will be out there for others to read. My knee jerk reactions are… Who will read this? Who will judge me? What will they think?

But, here’s the thing. In my heart of hearts, I know that by skirting the truth and not being wholeheartedly authentic, I am not being vulnerable. And by not being vulnerable, I could be numbing emotions of shame, guilt and… ceasing any opportunity for growth before I even get started on this journey to a healthier Sarah. That’s the last thing I want to do.

So. Here I am. I am 165 pounds and I accept myself the way I am–in this very moment, at this very weight. If I am not okay with myself right now, I will not magically be okay with myself tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. I cannot shed my excess weight overnight, nor do I truly want to. It will be hard. There will be sacrifice.

It will be worth it.

I am proud of myself. I have already taken steps to be a healthier Sarah, and have plans to take more. I went to the gym today for a consultation and did 30 minutes worth of cardio. I was embarrassed to step on the scale and have a perfect stranger measure my waist, but embraced the process. I am signed up for three months worth of bootcamp classes, and I attend my first one next Tuesday. I will make a healthy shopping lists. Buy more ingredients for The Fresh 20 recipes in my inbox. Prepare meals for the week if I need to. I will drink lots of water.

I will go on this journey.

And I hope you’ll go on it with me. In Dr. Brown’s lecture, she talked about how those who live wholeheartedly feel as if vulnerability is a part of life–that it can get you from one place to another–and that’s how I feel right now. My vulnerability about my self image is a vessel in itself. I believe that if I honor my emotions and truly strap myself in the front seat of this roller coaster, I will experience more thrills along the way than pitfalls. At the end of the day, I will always choose to experience the raw emotion than no emotion at all. That is the only way that change will take place.

My goals for the upcoming week:

  • allow my body to rest (6+ hours of sleep a night)
  • got to the gym 3-5 times
  • no carbonated beverages
  • to be more mindful of how I spend my idle time (I’d like to start meditating daily, even if only for 10 minutes)
  • to know when I lay my head down at night that I am happy with every decision I made that day (it’s not about a number on a scale)
And, I really want to continue to share my experiences with you. I will hold myself accountable to touch base on the topic of health/wellness/motivation at least once a week.

Vulnerably yours.

-Sarah

Update: Read Part Two Here! (02.21.13)