Learning to Respect Your Body — The Healthy/Fit Paradox
There’s a weird paradox between the “love your body” way of thinking and the “get in shape and be healthy” mindset. I kind of feel pulled in different directions, and I’m sure I’m not alone. So, in my own bloggy tradition, I’m going to try to sort it out right here.
I’ve been following the tumblr blog Stop Hating Your Body and reading the stories of people who have been through hell — eating disorders, self harm, general body loathing, etc. — and it made me realize just how much we’ve been brainwashed to think that our bodies are something we should be ashamed of. I’m not just talking about cellulite, stretchmarks and scars, but how we might feel ashamed because our boobs are too small/too large, our feet are too big or “ugly” or some other little quirk that we think we need to hate, hide or beautify in some way. It’s crazy how we think we’ve been led to believe we have to fit inside a tiny beautiful box to be considered beautiful and sexy. Most of the time, we don’t even realize that we don’t need to feel this way about ourselves.
I read somewhere (I didn’t bookmark it, dammit!) that there was a survey conducted and most women would rather get hit by a bus than be overweight. So… being overweight is worse than death? Come again?
Just another scary example of how much we’re effected every day by the media and pretty much everything else. It’s time to start thinking another way, don’t you think?
I started asking myself some questions:
Do I dislike ____ (something about my physical appearance) because I don’t like it, or because I think other people won’t like it?
Does this physical trait cause me harm (is it making me unhealthy?) (Most of the time, the answer was no.)
What will it take to change ____? Is it even possible and is it worth it?
In general, my body is pretty healthy. I have good blood pressure, my blood iron level is always high, strong muscles and a strong heart. The only thing I would need to work on purely health wise is my lung capacity — my asthma gives me a little road block right there, but it’s possible for me to work on that and make my lungs stronger, as long as I have my inhaler and the OK from my Dr. I’m 5’2″ at 125 lbs — in the “normal” weight range on the BMI, but as you know, people at any weight can have cellulite, including me. I have stretch marks on my thighs, calves and boobs. I have a “pooch” of fat protecting my abs and my hips and butt are pretty ~out there~. If I really wanted to, I could tone up, but I don’t really care to.
Am I telling you these things because I want to join in the “I don’t like ______ about mysellfff.” pity party?
Nope! I’ve adopted the notion that these things don’t effect my health in any way shape or form.
Also, there’s actually nothing wrong with them. Who says I need to wear boy shorts instead of regular bikini bottoms to the beach to hide my cellulite? Probably someone somewhere, but their opinion doesn’t matter to me anymore.
“What people think of you is none of your business. ~ Deepak Chopra”
It really doesn’t matter! What a concept!
My opinion of the way I look is the only one that matters.
After some nudging from my cousin, I’m starting to use My Fitness Pal to make sure I get my regular physical activity and the amount of water I should be drinking. Regular exercise bores me, so I just go walking, hiking or swimming to keep my lungs and heart healthy, and I’m sure you already know what’s good about water. I’m letting go of the “I have to be skinny and smooth” state of mind. It was only making me feel bad and I realized I should just focus on staying healthy.