Making Peace With My Body

By January 23, 2011 8 Comments

Hi there everyone- It’s Lara again. Today I did something that I have wanted to do for 9 months now. I finally did it, and even though it sounds like a simple task I had to get to the right place mentally to be able to accomplish it. What did I do? I took some photos of myself, in a sports bra and tight shorts, no less! I wish that I had done this last May when I first started bootcamp, because it would be neat to have a photo of me in the same clothing to compare against. But I was so ashamed of my body that I couldn’t bear the thought of taking a photo of myself as a “before” photo, certainly not in tight clothes that would really show the shape of my body. But today I did it! And taking another leap of faith here in the courage department… posting a photo online of myself with my midsection exposed! Ack! I would have never had done that a year ago! And though I find my before photo a bit embarrassing, here it is.

I’m really proud that my face has thinned down some. I still have a bit of a double chin, but my neck looks much leaner and my face doesn’t look as wide as it did before. Progress!!! I am thrilled to be able to compare these photos and see a difference. And, I’ve  lost 3 inches off my abdomen since I started bootcamp. What’s interesting is that I really didn’t lose a ton of weight- this is another good reason why you really can’t rely on the scale alone. Take a guess at how much the difference in my weight is between the 2 photos. What do you think- 15 pounds? 20 maybe? Nope. Only 7 pounds. This is what happens when you exchange fat for muscle!

I was thinking about something when I was getting ready to take these photos today. I finally felt comfortable with myself- it was very liberating. I am certainly not as slim as I want to be, but that doesn’t matter because I know I’ll get there one day. When I made the decision to take a photo wearing minimal clothing, I got this great feeling of being comfortable with who I am. This may not sound like much, but for me it is a big deal. I have spent YEARS feeling ashamed of my body and of who I am. Taking these photos was a sort of a affirmation of my “self”. It says, “This is me, this is what I look like at this point in time. Even though I’m not perfect, I am ok with how I look.”

If you think about it, you have to really be able to forgive yourself for your imperfections. Then once you forgive yourself, you are setting yourself free. I really can’t explain how good this feels to be at peace with your body and what it looks like. And I’m sure that once you can be at peace with yourself, then your body actually has your permission to change. I can’t imagine that your body is going to cooperate with your efforts if you are fighting against it. How can your body do what you expect if you hate it? You’re spending all your energy on hating your body instead of doing healthy things to help your body.  Some people talk about a mind-body connection and I have to believe there is some truth to it.

Looking back at when I started bootcamp, even though I didn’t like how I looked, I think I had to have a certain amount of confidence in myself to be able to show up for the first workout. And over the last few months I have slowly gained steam, every time I get a small victory it just makes me feel better which makes continuing to work out and eat right worthwhile. The confidence builds, and here I am today, finally able to feel “ok” with what my body looks like. Not that I think I’m finished, or that I’m going to stop now. It’s just that when I feel good inside and out, then my optimism helps me want to keep going. I’m sure I’ll still have good days and bad, but it’s very encouraging for me to see the progress I’ve made. I’m especially excited to take another photo in the future- I can’t wait for the “After” photo when I can finally be showing off “Michelle Obama” arms and washboard abs!  🙂

I’d like to challenge you to think about your own body image. Do you feel comfortable with your body? Or do you despise it? If you hate how you look, I think it’s time to re-visit the quote, “Your body is your temple”. Think about all the things you do every day that wouldn’t be possible without your arms, your legs, your mind, and all the other complex systems. You can’t truly live your life without your body- so it’s time to start respecting it by giving it what it needs- nutritious foods and exercise. Even if you have a fairly good body image, it doesn’t hurt to re-evaluate things once in awhile.

Here’s hoping that my body image discoveries that I have made today can inspire you to feel at peace with your own body!