< Parker and I about to go on a walk. I love the way he is looking at me here>
You guys know I have been really focused on living a healthy and mindful life for a few months now, and through this journey I noticed a sneaky old habit creep back in. I originally wanted to change my lifestyle so I could have more energy and support my body during times of anxiety and stress. Then I started to compare myself to all the bloggers I follow and how perfect they seem to be. You know the ones who go to soul cycle every morning at 6am, don’t consume any sugar, and have 6 pack abs like, all the time. I kept feeling like I wasn’t measuring up, my body didn’t look healthy or fit enough, and my lifestyle just wasn’t “healthy enough” according to everyone else’s terms. I began to think maybe I was eating too much fruit, because hey, it has a lot of sugar or why is the number on the scale not changing?
I had to write a blog post about this and share these feelings with you, because I see this around me everyday, and lately it feels like its a bad record on repeat. I hear beautiful friends talk about needing to lose a few extra pounds and I think they are crazy. I have seen some people at the gym who are so terrifyingly skinny that I have to force myself not to stare and wonder how they got that way. I then look in the mirror sometimes and think “if I could just lose a few pounds”, but instead of thinking I am crazy the way I think my friends are, I agree with myself and think “you probably should have worked out more”.
I am known for being very hard on myself, and always holding myself to the highest of expectations. I like to say I am a recovering perfectionist, which sounds funny, but truly is something I need to work on everyday.
On the flip side of this, I have also seen some other life-changing images that I cannot shake. I have seen amputated limbs due to uncontrolled diabetes, huge fistulas in arms for dialysis, removed breasts from past cancer diagnosis, and even a partially removed skull flap, leaving a large indent in a woman’s head as she walked the hospital floors, unable to remember 15 minute increments of her life.
I am not saying this to scare you into loving your body. Absolutely not. But I want to share with you the lesson I have learned over the past few weeks. I think we often have an extremely skewed view of what we look like, and we put so much pressure on ourselves to look like everyone else, be thinner, or taller, or just a little prettier. My perspective has really changed when I started to view my body as a powerhouse, a source for fuel, a grower of tiny humans, a learner of an impossible amount of information, the thing that carries me through a 12 hour shift. It is so scary to think that our bodies are so sensitive that if one electrolyte is out of balance, if our blood pressure gets too high, or if we don’t give it the nutrients it needs, we can kill it and shut it down one cell at a time. Once I became thankful that my blood sugar is naturally stable, that I can run and do hot yoga with the two legs I have, that I grew an actual baby (STILL not sure how that happened), I am suddenly in awe.
< A pregnant selfie of me at the gym. I think this was like the one time I went the whole pregnancy haha >
I often look at my son in his new big boy classroom, and notice how different all of the kids are. Some are skinny, some chubby, some pretty bald, others a full head of hair. My son is the only child not walking, and I am being very truthful when I say I could care less that this makes him different from the rest of his class. I know he is going to walk in his own time, that he is healthy, and just a little scared. He is both stubborn and cautious, which I love about him, and know that it will suit him well in the future when he needs to fight for what he believes in or think twice before making a bad decision. If anyone made fun of him for being different, I would put them in a Mama Bear choke hold right there, so why am I so hard on myself for being different? I have to practice loving myself before I teach my son to do the same.
If we begin to look at ourselves in this new way, where we focus on nurturing and building our beautiful powerhouses, then I hope we can practice more self-love. Wether you just gave birth or are pregnant, recovering from an eating disorder and getting used to the healthy weight you begin to put on, or are someone who feels like maybe they have been neglecting their body and not taking care of it, try and see yourself in this new lens. You can be healthy and strong and a self-loving badass. It takes work, but it is so well worth it.