Do you hate yourself because you aren’t thin? Don’t let all of the weight loss commercials, fitness models, and gym sales throw you into a state of shame. Instead of falling into the body hatred that January encourages, please take a moment to hear me. You are valuable, worthy of love, and have powerful ideas no matter the size of your body.
Your body shape has nothing to do with the person living inside.
When you are born you are given a vehicle for the time you exist on this earth. Some of us are given a body like a minivan, others sedans, and a lucky few are given sports cars. The body of the vehicle you are driving has no impact on the value of the driver. The vehicle has absolutely no bearing on the individual controlling it.
Sometimes life requires that you trade in one vehicle for another. After leasing your body to a baby for nine months, many of us trade in a sports car body for a minivan. Do not be ashamed of your minivan! It has a very specific purpose. A minivan moves down the highway the same as the sports car. It doesn’t go as fast, but it is practical, reliable and has space for all the little bodies it carries. As long as your body is working properly, it’s perfect at doing its job. In fact, while trying to slim down my body while breastfeeding, I stopped producing milk for my baby. My body wasn’t working properly when I put value in the shape of my vehicle rather than it’s function.
You are valuable regardless of the way you look.
Friends and family love you just the way you are. They won’t love you more if you lose weight. They love you RIGHT NOW. When your mother comes around the corner with her well-known curves, your heart is happy. You don’t care about the shape of her body. You are content that she is with you regardless of the package she arrived in! When your baby skins their knee and comes running into your arms for comfort, do you think they care how much you weigh? They don’t. It is the last thing on their minds.
Do you know what will make your family and friends proud? They will be happy seeing you meet and exceed your goals. Your family will be happy for you that you feel good in your skin. They will be happy that you are happy. You can do those things right now without being at your “goal” weight. Don’t wait to love your body. Don’t wait to celebrate it. It is wondrous.
Accept and love your body for the amazing thing that it is.
On your deathbed, you will remember dancing with your children, the taste of your mom’s soup, the joy of walking in the woods, and the amazing feeling of swimming in the ocean. You will not want to relive any of the time you spent standing in front of a mirror agonizing about extra bits of flesh. When sickness or age pin you to a bed, you will legitimately wish to “get your body back.” Your body is here, working hard for you. Don’t punish it. It doesn’t deserve your hatred or your shame.
Be thankful for your body and how beautifully it carries you through this life.
Find an activity that you love, something that makes your heart pump, and do it because you want to do it. Don’t stay sedentary. If you let your vehicle sit in the garage and don’t drive it, it will stop working. Being ashamed and fearful will keep you away from all of the lovely things this world has to offer.
You don’t need a gym membership or a workout program. I love walking beside the ocean, feeling the wind on my face when riding a bike and playing with my kids in the pool. If you want a little more exercise, join Habitat for Humanity and build houses, go to community clean-up days, volunteer at your local animal shelter to walk homeless pets, do mission work with your church, or start a garden. Some people find friends and build community through classes at the gym or as a part of run clubs. Use your vehicle for good things: things that bring value to the driver. In the act of loving your body, you will take better care of it.
Stop spending your life obsessed with being a different size.
How do you get your body back? Easy. Your body didn’t go anywhere. It’s right here. There’s nothing to “get back.” Don’t treat it like the enemy. Your body doesn’t need to be perfect to be amazing.
Use those arms to hug the babies that you grew, use those feet to walk over to a friend’s house, and use your heart to drive you to a life worth living.
Hold your head high and celebrate the beautiful things you can do in this world that will make it a better place no matter the number on the scale or the size of your body.