In a world where we are obsessed with how our body looks, bombarded with images of half-naked models that are encouraging us to "Shed 5 pounds in 7 days" or "Eat Your Way Slim," it is no wonder we have a hard time not only loving our bodies, but even just ACCEPTING our bodies is a challenge.
Notice all of these messages are superficial. Is being thin really equated with being healthy? As times are changing, I believe many more are learning it is not.
I would be curious to know how descriptions would change if they listed health concerns for models rather than their clothing size.
From height 5'10" weighing 115 lbs and wearing size XS to
Cholesterol 240, thyroid condition, and infertile/amenorrhea
One thing that really changed my perspective about my body was this simple fact.
YOUR BODY ALWAYS WANTS TO BE HEALTHY.
For years, I fought my body.
I was angry I couldn’t have a normal period.
I was angry I had headaches.
I was angry I carried extra body fat around my midsection.
I was angry I was bloated every time I ate.
I was angry I couldn’t sleep at night.
I was angry I had high cholesterol.
…and sadly the list could go on.
I felt like my body was working AGAINST me in every way possible...
But all of these "struggles" were my body’s way of communicating with me.
I couldn’t have a normal period because my body was prioritizing. My body wanted to keep ME alive and well before it would allow me reproduce and have a baby (ladies, that’s what a period is! It is not just an inconvenience every month, it is your body’s PRIMARY way of telling you whether it is healthy.) Survival > Reproduction.
I had headaches from lack of hydration and added stress I constantly put on myself.
I carried fat around my midsection because my cortisol was out of control.
I was bloated because I never sat down to really enjoy my food and as a result contracted this lovely parasite and a defenseless digestive system.
I couldn’t sleep at night because my adrenals were fatigued and blood sugar irregularities disrupted any normal sleeping pattern.
I had high cholesterol because I had so much inflammation in my body from eating foods that irritated my system.
Every system in the body works together…you assault one long enough, you will assault them all.
Remember the term homeostasis from middle school science? Okay, if you don't, here is the definition:
“Any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival. If homeostasis is successful, life continues; if unsuccessful, disaster or death ensues.” (1)
So the fact that you are alive and reading this means your body is working hard to maintain homeostasis right now ;)
But going back to the point I opened with…in this culture, we are influenced to pick apart all of the things we don’t like about our bodies and how they are not “doing” what we want. But what about the fact that our bodies are doing EXACTLY what they need to do to stay alive with what they are given!?
We can’t treat our bodies terribly and expect everything to run smoothly. We can’t feed our bodies processed food, pasta, cookies, frankenfood, sodas, and alcohol and wonder why we have health problems. We can’t demand to stay up 18 hours a day, go to a stressful job, run to a stressful workout, barely eat and then say, “Ugh, I’m so tired and cranky all of the time. I don’t understand why" or "I can't lose weight. I'll just eat less and workout more."
I think we all need a little perspective. A little PAUSE, WAIT, TIME-OUT to look at what we do to our bodies objectively.
If I took a screenshot of your day and described it to you from my point of view, what would it sound like? Would I say that you went to sleep at a decent time and woke up refreshed? You chose a breakfast that was going to give you sustaining energy instead of a sugar crash? You went to a workout that you were smiling and enjoying...and felt better as you left instead of worse?
What does it look like?
If you find something in your day that doesn’t sound healthy, Good news! You have the power to CHANGE it!
Give yourself and your body a break. Allow it to thrive in homeostasis WITHOUT fighting 10000 other stressors to get there.
If you learn anything from this post, I want you to learn that your body wants you to be healthy. It wants to do as little work as possible to maintain homeostasis. It wants you to have energy and thrive. It wants you to be happy.
The diet industry does not.
There is enough negative out there…don’t fight the good stuff!