Body love. Body acceptance. Loving your body. I have taken workshops in these areas, however sometimes, it’s easier said than done. There, I said it. It’s HARD! I have come a long way, though. After suffering an eating disorder for 23 years of my 38 years, I have slowly and surely finally accepted my body. Sure, there are still parts that I could work on, but I have come to realise they are my body. They are not flaws. We all have very different bodies. And thank goodness for that! Imagine how boring it would be if we all looked the same. That’s what makes us all unique. For 23 years, I measured, attacked, weighed, punished and hated my body. I don’t usually use the word, ‘hate’, but I can use it for this. I would cross streets and try to avoid seeing my reflection in the reflection of shop fronts. I would weigh myself up to 25 times a day. I would measure meals, severely limit my dietary intake, then binge. It was a dangerous cycle and one which had dire consequences on my health and wellbeing. My mental state suffered, too. I would purge sometimes up to 18 times a day to the point where not a morsel of food was in my body. I felt tired, irritable, sad, unloved and completely lost. I even felt scared. How was I going to get back to the Jo I knew years ago? I would work on my health and I would go into remission for months at a time, however, something would set it off. The last time I spiraled out of control again, it was a lamington. That damn lamington that at the time was so delicious, but set me off on my downward spiral again for 3 months. However, getting older and wiser means I can see the signs and talk myself through them. To know better and to accept myself – and my ‘flaws’ I thought I had. I found comfort and refuge in exercise. I loved it and it made me feel fabulous. Not in an obsessive way, but in an “I-feel-better-when-I-do” sort of way. Inside and out. When I eat a dietary intake of good, wholesome foods, I feel my most health, my most spiritual and I have the most amount if vitality. So, when I fell pregnant with our third baby earlier this year, I didn’t feel like hitting the gym every second day. I was eating a few treats. But, I let myself have a bit of a break. But, with that came the body changes. I was at my fittest and happiest with my body when I fell pregnant. I was full of energy. I didn’t crave sweets or salty foods, just a balanced, nutritious diet. But, I’m here to say, I have had a few months off. And I’ve loved it! But what about the change in body. Did it affect me? Did it upset me? Did it worry me? In a word – yes! Yes, it did. Where there were muscles, there is now not a lot of tone. Where there were stomach muscles, there was first flab and now a baby bump. So, how has this affected me?
First of all, I want to say that I am SO thrilled to be pregnant and see my body change. I am well aware I am blessed to have this baby. And we only have about 3 weeks to go! But I would be lying of the change in body didn’t affect me somewhat. Having your young girls tell you that you have a bigger bottom and huge boobies didn’t help! Ah, the honestly of children! But, I am looking after my body and not pounding the pavement and hitting the gym every second day. I went through a phase of feeling a little like a ‘fraud’, as here I was trying to inspire women in workshops to love and accept and nurture their bodies, and yet here I was struggling a little with the body changing. Today, I am a lot more relaxed as I’ve had a few more months to fully embrace the body changes, and I know it’s for a fantastic reason! So, how did I cope with the ‘down days’ when all I could see was my cellulite and non-existent muscle tone? I stopped the energy, that’s how! But what does that mean? What we think, we become. So, if I kept being negative toward myself, I would be in a negative frame of mind and it would manifest into other areas. Bad food choices, which lead to feeling fatigued, which lead to more sugary foods, which lead to me feeling irritable, which lead to me being short with my family, which lead me to feeling down on myself, which lead to more bad food choices. See the cycle?
Whenever I saw my reflection, or I would feel down about my changing body, I would stop the energy. I would say affirmations over in my head. Instead of looking at my legs and wishing they were more toned, I would say in my mind, “I love my legs! They walk the dog, play with the girls. I’m so lucky to have these legs!” I would meditate. I would write down positive statements about my body. I would praise my body and compliment it. And, the most important part, I made sure I meant it. It took a while, but I got there.
Energy flows where energy goes. So, I discovered that when my energy was positive and I centered my energy into being positive and loving, it made all the difference! We are all made of energy. So, turning that energy into a positive is so powerful xx