We all have our own stories about our body size: the love and the hate. There’s very rarely apathy. I’m no different. There’s some body hate- more often than I want to admit- and there’s the small periods of love. I’m better at telling the stories of hate because I’ve hated my body since my classmates dubbed me “bulldozer” in Grade 6. My love for my body came much later in my life and for much shorter periods of time. I’m sure you can relate. No matter our size, height or curves, usually it’s never enough.
About 4 years ago I made a decision to love my body. I actually decided that I had had enough of hating my body. I loved myself, for the most part, but I did not love my body, I never had and I wanted to change that. I hired a personal trainer and I lost 50 pounds over 6 months. I went from a size 18 to a 12. I ran a mile for the first time in my life about a month and a half in and then I ran a 10k in the summer. I was a runner. I didn’t think my body was capable of that. It was the best days of my love for my body. I had never felt so energetic, confident, proud and powerful. I felt like I held this secret no matter where I went- the secret of how strong I was. I started each morning with 300 push-ups, 300 sit-ups, 300 squats and 300 burpees. It took me an hour to do all that and then after work I would meet my trainer at the gym for another 1 hour workout where he would kick my butt with the rower, stairs, any number of CrossFit exercises or just literally a full hour of straight burpees. I get tired now after just 1 burpee, let alone 402. It was torture, but I loooooved it. I couldn’t get enough, and without changing much about my diet aside from cutting out soda, chips, candy and fast food, I had dropped to 179 pounds- my lowest weight since high school.
My most recent love affair with my body came last year when I got pregnant. I spent 9 months in awe of my incredible body that was making a little human from scratch. My body grew a whole organ- my placenta- just to feed the little human through the 9 months spent growing inside me. My body pieced together lungs, a heart, her brain and then tied it all together with bones and skin. And to put the cherry on top, my body brought her out of the place it created her, through me and out into my arms. I ended that adventure with 25 pounds more than when I began it, but it is by far the most impressive thing my body has ever done.
My guess is that more than a few of you have been thinking about your body recently- it is the new year after all, the season of resolutions. I’ve certainly been reflecting on my tortured relationship to my body. It’s been 12 weeks since giving birth to Azazel- truly the most incredible thing the human body can do- and I feel sorry for myself more often than amazed at my body. I’m pitying myself for the 25 pounds I put on while growing my daughter and the 25 pounds I put on before that while finishing my social work degree and the 20 pounds before that that I put on while dating Ben. I hate to be cliche but I feel fat and ugly. I hate using those words. I don’t EVER want Azazel to hear her Mum call herself fat or ugly. I don’t want her to feel that her appearance has anything to do with her worth. For most of my teenage and adult years, my appearance was directly related to my worth- the worse I felt I looked, the worse I treated myself. I learned by losing those 50 pounds that actually how I LOOK has nothing to do with my worth, it’s how I THINK about my body that makes me feel positive or negative towards it.
January 1st, I decided to join a program to help me fall back in love with my body- Bikini Body Mommy. It’s helping me change my eating and provides short exercise videos that allow me to actually accomplish the workouts. I’m on Day 4 and I am already thinking differently about my body and re-evaluating how I define my worth. How I think and feel about my body are only a small piece of how I define my worth. I am also intelligent, educated and a critical thinker. I am a spiritual person and value the role of Creator in my ethics as a social worker, my emotional life and my personal relationships. I am empathic, compassionate, accepting, loyal and funny. And my body is beautiful, strong, powerful and resilient.