I am still trying to figure out if this is a horrible idea.
No. I know it is a horrible idea.
Hey internet! Here’s a bunch of pictures of me with few clothes on at various weights. Yay!
I’m hoping you can look past this narcissistic collection of photos and lend me a moment of your web-browsing time.
I have spent a lot of years in the health and fitness industry. And I, like you, have seen all of the before and after pictures from all the various work out regimes, healthy supplements, fad diets…etc. I’ve probably also done like, Every. Single. One. (Hence the elaborate collection of photos.)
Before I go on, please let me express how important I think it is to maintain care for your body. We get ONE of these squishy, fleshy, muscly things. I agree with the importance of prioritizing care by nourishing your body with a diverse diet, and regular movement. And I truly understand how some people’s lives have been authentically lifted by their relationship with fitness and healthy eating. But I think we lost some details along the way…
I feel we’ve come to understand that there actually is a before and an after… like our bodies and our lives are some sort of linear train track. Forward or backward.
I have a habit of observing (scrutinizing in unreasonably great detail) people, culture, society, habits… and the thing that I’ve noticed, more than anything, are patterns.
Everything seems to have some sort of natural cycle. Routine. (Work, school, relationships, politics, war, religion, the calendar year, the Olympics…)
And yet, we expect our bodies to perform on this linear plane (and cuss it out when it doesn’t comply). We flaunt the success of our before and after story, and hide our perceived failures and/or regression. Heaven forbid you gain some weight. Or lose touch with your six pack. Obviously it means we are dismal failures and doomed to a life of obesity.
You think I’m exaggerating, but it’s this line of thinking that actually does ‘doom’ people to a life of struggling with their weight. Because the failure is felt so deeply, that its quite impossible to fathom the idea of letting themselves (ourselves) down over and over. Therefore, it’s best not to try again. It’s deeply unfortunate, and makes me sad.
Our bodies are not linear. Nor should they be, they are simply bending to the will of nature. Our bodies, have their own rhythm. Their own patterns. Seasons.
And embracing this concept means accepting there is actually no such thing as failure.
This discovery SHOCKED me.
So wait. If I gain ten pounds at some point, you mean… it doesn’t mean I’ll never lose that weight again? If I eat gelato for breakfast (god bless you Italy, for having gelato cafés open at this hour), there’s no need to hide in my basement for 3 weeks shaming myself?
Wait. Even more wild… you are actually allowed to love your body. Even in the (I hesitated to call it this) “off season”.
What a radical concept:
To simply love our bodies all the time. As opposed to when they appear exactly the way society has trained us to believe is solely acceptable.
Ahhhh. I can feel the pressure relieving itself.
And then it opens things up to be –
Wait for it…
I am having waffles dripping in chocolate, and drinking copious amounts of wine, because: ‘tis the season! And soon enough, the time will come for the leaves of steamed spinach to fall on my plate, and #yogaeverydamnday. (Or whatever your appropriate hashtag may be.)
Our bodies have seasons. They will appear differently at different times in our life, through different experiences; and you are allowed to love it through all of it. Because even if we want a linear experience, it doesn’t exist. There is no point of arrival. No destination. No point of completion. (Like, seriously. Unless you’re dead.)
Injury happens, grief happens, life happens – Italian pizza and Polish sheep cheese happens.
(Editors note: that last “happens” autocorrected to “happiness” and I found that to be a delightful and accurate, serendipitous error.)
We don’t need to hide. We are not lesser or inadequate…. we are simply a part of our natural world. In constant motion.
Again, not to be misunderstood. I love you go-getters that strive to be a more evolved version of yourselves everyday. I am simply driving home the idea that there is room for rest, change, shifting, and even the kind of extra sumthin’sumthin’ that inspires the great works of Sir Mix-A-Lot.
So, I dare you; To have a transcendent moment with your pizza. To deeply enjoy your life, and your body. To feel the incomparable rush of a mountain summit; seek out movement and let it bring you actual joy. To stare your belly rolls in the face and be all like: “Yeah! I f***ing love cheese!”
I know, I sound like another inspirational fitspo blogger. (Ugh.) But I’m hoping that this hits harder, and reaches the eyes and the spirit of someone like me.
Someone tired of being under their own constant scrutiny and judgement; battling constant shame that’s only periodically broken by an unmaintainable figure based on incessant calorie/macro/micro nutrient dissecting.
Someone that has accidentally misunderstood the seasons of their own body as something to hide, and be dreadfully ashamed of. A way of thinking that landed me a decade-long eating disorder, and a crippling dysmorphic relationship with my body.
There is no summit to our life-mountain. (As previously mentioned, until we’re like, dead and stuff.) So, in effort to save our sanity (and our relationship with dairy) we must absolutely find a way to embrace the ebs and flow.
And love our body. Through all seasons.
A lover of pizza, gelato, spinach, and yoga