It’s that time of year again. The excitement is starting to ease up, the parties are coming to an end and we are seeing the effects that a little holiday over indulgence has had on our bodies. It’s the time of year when articles, blog posts and tweets start flying around about fad diets, cleanses, tight pants and promises of more exercise.
I am oversaturated with weight loss articles. I am tired of never ending lists of forbidden foods. I am bored with seeing half naked super skinny women EVERYWHERE.
I should probably be straightforward and say that I write this with a bowl of Candy Cane Ice cream balancing on my lap and to be perfectly honest I could stand to lose a few pounds. I’m not in perfect shape. I could firm up a little. To that I say…meh.
Recently, I had a physical and my near perfect results made me ponder the importance of a healthy body and how so many of us, including myself, take that for granted. I grieve for the time that I have lost fighting my body in attempt to maintain an image that society has pushed on me, trying to force me to believe that I must look a certain way in order to be beautiful, accepted, good enough.
By the time my grandmother was my age her body had already dipped its toe in the lake of betrayal. It had already begun to turn on her, to eat at her slowly from the inside. That which many use to define their womanhood had begun the slow process of killing her. My grandmother began her battle with breast cancer at a very early age and although she put up one hell of a fight, even winning a few rounds, she lost the war.
I have a strong, perfectly healthy body.
My body has allowed me to skate, swim and ski.
My body has danced ballet and tapped its way across a stage.
My body has played baseball, soccer and basketball.
My body has conceived and grown two children, without a struggle.
My body survived 30 hours in total of labour and pushed two beautiful little babies into the world.
My body can carry a five year old through a mall when he’s just too tired to walk anymore.
My body can dance for hours playing Just Dance while my kids giggle hysterically at the sight.
My body wakes me up every morning and puts me to sleep every night, easily without a struggle.
My body has not betrayed me, why would I betray it?
Having a healthy, functioning body is not just a given and it may not last forever. At any moment my body could stop working, it could get sick, it could break down or give out.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a healthy functioning body.
Mr. C’s body does not work the way it should and has to rely on medication to keep him alive.
Mr. T entered this world with a body that didn’t function as it should and he almost lost his life because of it.
My grandfather’s heart gave out in his early 60’s robbing him of the prime of his life.
My grandmother spent the better part of her life fighting a disease that would not give up until it took her body.
Why on earth should I waste a moment of my life worrying about the fact that my body is 10 pounds (ok maybe 20) heavier than it should be? Why should I care that my middle is a little softer than I would like or that my breasts are not as high up as they once were?
Nothing has ever made my body feel both vulnerable and strong at the very same time as pregnancy and child birth. My body is capable, solid and beautiful.
I apologize to my body for the abuse I have subjected it to throughout the years. I am sorry for the times I starved it of food just so that I could look a certain way, even after the fainting spell warnings. I’m sorry for the cigarettes I smoked and for all of the sugar I’ve consumed. I’m sorry for the metaphorical beating I have put it through and I thank my body for still staying strong.
When you start seeing all the cabbage soup recipes, ads for diet pills and tips on how to get through a cleanse, I challenge you all to ignore it. Stop this infatuation we have as a society with weight. Stop teaching our children about diets before they should even know what a scale is. Instead let’s teach our kids how to be healthy, how to take care of their bodies to ensure they remain strong. Let’s put the focus back on making our bodies tough instead of trying to achieve a thigh gap (which is an actual thing girls are trying to achieve!!).
Many women spend so much time criticizing their bodies for everything that it’s not. Try taking a moment to thank your body for all that it is.