Love Yourself, Be Yourself

20 Oct

Today is National Love Your Body Day. When I first heard that this morning, I knew I had to write about it. There’s a lot of hyped up, silly “this, that, and the other thing” days – but National Love Your Body Day really resonates with me.


I have to wonder though, what does Love Your Body mean? 


Love your body for what it physically looks like?


Love your body for what it can do for you?


Love your body for what’s on the inside?


It’s a vague “holiday”, isn’t it? Vague as it is, it’s important to me, even though every day should be Love Your Body Day.


Once upon a time, I let myself go. I stopped going to the gym. I smoked. I drank too much.  A lot was happening in my life, and it wasn’t a good time for me. I lost me.


Then my weight started to creep up.  Slowly, but steadily.  And with everything happening in my life, I almost didn’t realize it. It took my mother doing Weight Watchers and getting thinner than me for me to go “Holy shit, I need to do something.” 


Then I struggled until May 2010 with figuring out and learning what I could do to regain myself.  But it wasn’t just my physical self. It was my mental self, physical self, inside health self. 


So I started running.  Slowly but surely. And I started eating healthier. Again, slowly but surely.  And of course, I quit smoking, but that happened before all of this.


And then, slowly but surely, I started to regain myself. So, back to what I asked before, what does Love Your Body mean? 


Love your body for what it physically looks like?


I did not always love my physical body.  I’d pick everything apart – my thighs are too big, I have a gut, look at all that cellulite. I’d dress in empire waist shirts to hide my stomach, I’d always wear heels because I thought my legs looked too stumpy in flats. And now, my body may not be perfect, but I love it. The cellulite is gone. My arms don’t jiggle when I blow dry my hair. I like how I look in a bikini. I walk with my head held high and confident. I am not a supermodel, nor do I aspire to be.  I am not a size 0 and I’m not 6 feet tall. But today I am happy in my own skin. 


Love your body for what it can do for you?


My office has one flight of stairs that I have to climb often to bring stuff to my boss. If I ran up those stairs a few years ago, I’d reach the top panting, knees in pain, feeling old and out of shape. I used to ride dirtbikes, and by the end of the day I would be so worn out that I’d fall asleep in my camp chair while everyone else was having a few beers chatting and enjoying the night. Today my body has carried me across 18 finish lines and over 1200 miles. Today my body will sweat and shake through 90 minutes of P90X Yoga, but I will survive each.and.every.minute and feel great about it when I’m done. I am strong and powerful and I do not take for granted my daily ability to do these things.


Love your body for what’s on the inside?


This can be taken in so many different directions. On the inside as in my health.  I am healthy. My heart and lungs are strong, I fill my body with nutritious food, vitamins, and supplements to make sure I’m getting all of the nutrients I need on a daily basis.


But more important than my health – on the inside of my body, is me. The real, genuine me.  That is the part of me I love the most.  I love my friends and family, I love cooking and baking, I love animals. I love running, blogging, and fitness.  I have finally found myself, and I love what I have found.


Do I have moments of weakness where I think I’m not able, not strong enough, not good enough, I can’t fit into those jeans in the junior’s department because my hips are too wide and my thighs are too big? Yes of course, but I have gotten very good at smashing these thoughts almost as soon as they enter my brain, because I am BETTER than that. 


I hope I have inspired others with this post to reach out to yourself, find you, be you, and most importantly, love you physically and on the inside.

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