Hating your body into submission?

Best to stop that now. It does NOT work!

Some of us spent way too many of our adolescent years, and perhaps 20’s and beyond hating our bodies. It is not hard to understand why this occurred:

Check out every media publication in the world (practically) that shows women should be thin, beautiful, coiffed, manicured. AND: all of this should occur with the least amount of perceptible effort possible.

Seriously?!?

Body shaming is an epic tradition, especially for western cultures. It is a sad and pathetic tradition and we need to end it now. Why?

body shame
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For one: it does not serve anyone (except advertisers and people trying to sell you something). Taking care of our bodies properly requires that we love ourselves, and have compassion for ourselves. They are doing the best they can to keep us alive, including storing fat for the lean times. Our ancestors did not always have food to eat on a daily basis, which is why humans (and many other creatures) are adept at storing extra calories in the form of fat.

When you think about it, we have the evolution process to thank for the fact that, if we were short of food, we would be able to survive a remarkably long time just tapping our fat stores. But do we ever give thanks for this handy little phenomenon? Not likely. In the modern world, food is around us. Evolution has not caught up with that reality.

For years as a runner, I used extra mileage to sometimes “punish” myself for bad behavior, i.e. eating chocolate or having some kind of treat forbidden by my diet. I love running but this approach really was not healthy for me, and led to chronic injuries. I was always running from something, and usually it was from feeling any painful feelings, just sitting with the sensations in my body and observing them.

It was not until I started practicing meditation and yoga more regularly and learning to sit with those feelings of discomfort sometimes. Rather than “escaping myself” I learned to come back to myself and to feel compassion and forgiveness for myself. Our bodies do the best they can for us, and meanwhile, they only want us to take care of them.

We can drink plenty of water and get plenty of fresh air. We can eat plenty of healthy vegetables, along with healthy fats and proteins to keep our brains and bodies in balance. We can avoid sugar and flour, highly processed powdered substances that create unnatural insulin releases into the body. We can get plenty of sleep. We can work out to improve endurance and strength, but know resting is equally important to build healthy tissue.

When we love our bodies, we treat them with care and respect. When we take the time to be grateful for what they do for us every day, we tend to pay closer attention, and to ask them what they need, instead of mindlessly shoving down what the advertisers are peddling.

If you hate your body and think this will help you lose weight, I implore you to reconsider. Loving your precious body, the instrument you were granted to live in while on this earth is the way you can best serve it.

Treating your body with kindness and respect is the best way to get more energy, vitality and health. Give it a try. It might surprise you by rewarding you with a more natural weight without the struggle.

 

5 thoughts on “Hating your body into submission?

  1. What a lovely reflection on our relationship with our bodies! I could not agree more with your sentiments. I’m discovering the benefits of meditation at the moment and I really like what you say about sitting with uncomfortable emotions and approaching them with compassion and forgiveness. It has been a life-changing realisation for me that running away from my emotions doesn’t get me anywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post, thank you – you write with such passion, it’s so great to read. I wholeheartedly support everything you’ve said here, especially the idea that rather than trying to “escape” ourselves, we can come back to ourselves with compassion and forgiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Girl, our minds are on the same page on so many things, it’s incredible to me. I’ve been driving this idea in a lot of stuff I’ve written lately–the idea of working with and for our bodies rather than forcing them into submission. I’ve wanted to address it not just because I see this attitude among eating disordered people (my kin), but also among runners. I know we all recognize the mental game when it comes to our fitness–but it seems so many of us look at that mental challenge as telling our bodies to shut up and get with the program. It’s taken me a long time to develop the relationship I have with my body now, and obviously it’s a work in progress. But I think that’s just what it is–a relationship–one where I want to love my body and take care of it. Because holy shit–it has taken care of me!
    Also love your paragraph up there that starts with “we can drink plenty of water”. It pretty much encapsulates exactly how i try to live/eat/move and take care of myself. Like I said–on the same page! x

    Liked by 2 people

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