and i said to my body. softly. ‘i want to be your friend.’ it took a long breath. and replied ‘i have been waiting my whole life for this.’ ~Nayyirah Waheed
For how long have I not been a friend to my body? Criticizing her, hating her, wishing she was something else. A chubby child and somewhat taller than average girl. A reader, a thinker, not an athlete. I learned early on that my body was not “right,” and the path to happiness was raw vegetables, rice cakes, and hours at the gym (a path I rarely followed).
When I started college, the “freshman 15” was closer to 30 and there started my relationship with dieting, a 20+ year dysfunctional relationship. Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, counting calories, hours at the gym, I even ran for a few years. At one point, my personal trainer had me on a 1000 calorie diet, which I stayed on for all of two days.
If you’ve never dieted or worried about your weight, here’s what dieting feels like: being hungry all the time, always being obsessed with your next meal, and hating yourself every time you eat chocolate. Sounds like fun, right?
With each diet, I was sure I had the magic formula and I would lose the weight and keep it off. And every time, I gained the weight back.
Until finally, I had enough. Enough punishing my body. Enough hating myself. Enough criticism. Enough restrictions.
Enough of other people, people who do not live in my body, telling me what not to eat.
“and I said to my body softly, ‘I want to be your friend.'”
For every person who has lost weight and gained it back, there is either a physiological, emotional, and/or energetic reason for the extra weight. And for each person, the reason is unique. Any diet that focuses only on behavior modification without addressing those reasons will most likely not work in the long run, which is why the diet industry is multi-million dollar industry.
Not to mention the adverse affect of GMOs (genetically modified organism) and huge increase of sugar in our diets. Sugar, by the way, is highly addictive, and it’s hidden in a LOT of foods – start reading labels and you’ll see.
I could get on my soap box about what society and the media have done to our self-confidence and body image, but I’ll leave that for another day and get back to my story.
When I decided to befriend my body, to love her the way she is, I knew I had a journey of emotional healing ahead of me. All of the energy I had been putting into counting calories, I put into meditation, energy work, journaling, getting to know myself.
I started listening to the wisdom of my body, I asked her what kind of nutrients she wanted to keep going. The more I listened, the more she spoke. She does not feel well on wheat gluten or dairy, which is not easy. Despite the popularity of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, she needs animal protein to stay healthy. Every day, every meal, she has different needs for what kind and how much food will make her work at optimal level.
The human body is meant to move, so I found better ways than spending hours on a treadmill. This body loves to walk and to dance, so we do more of that.
Our relationship – my body, mind, and spirit – is evolving. Sometimes the mind or spirit decide on a pizza and ice cream. My body has a reaction and I apologize and we move on.
I have not yet magically started shedding pounds, but I’ve stopped worrying about it so much. I’ve accepted that this is one of the lessons I’ve come to earth to learn. We’ve come a long way to a more loving relationship.
We’re friends, my body and I.