A Lifestylye Blog

Monday, October 2, 2017

Body Positivity: 3 Steps I'm Learning on Self Love



The inner athlete in me has been through a journey of many seasons of fitness and relationship building with my own body. Some may already know the background if you've read my transformation story. With each turn of season from high school champion scholar athlete to shifting out of organized sports in college to becoming a working professional and now a working mama, my body has been through many shapes, mental capacities and fitness regimens based on the capabilities each stage of life provided. Some have been extreme (single, college student running marathons obsessed with body image) to slow and steady (pregnant with all day sickness and no energy, barely able to walk some days- still obsessed with body image). As the seasons of life turn, we grow and we adapt and we get to step into another phase that will challenge the core of who we really are. We get to decide if what we say we believe is truly what we believe. 

As much as we know at an intellectual level that we are more than what our bodies look like, it is an ever-pressing challenge that requires intentional discipline and regular mindfulness to actually live that out and believe that we are truly more than what our bodies look like. 

#guardyourselftalk



There will be times in our life when our idea of what our body "should" look like will not align with the reality of what it actually looks like. I've consciously been on this journey to self love since high school. Puberty, as many others can relate to, hits and our eyes are open to a whole new world of feelings, emotions, self-awareness, hormones, etc. I've been that awkward overweight, can-barely-walk-I'm-so-out-of-shape young girl. But pregnancy. Pregnancy. The changes I experienced during pregnancy turned my world Up. Side. Down. There's something about having a baby that just rocks your world and confronts you face to face and gets you to question who you really are, how confident you are about yourself and what you're going to do about it.

On a very practical level, where do we begin when searching for that inner strength to push us into self-confidence that goes beyond the exterior and binds so that our mind and spirit are in alignment with loving our body for what it is, where it is and for what it can do?



1) Body Positivity Step #1- Our bodies are powerful. The way they look sure can mean a lot; we're primitive beings, let's be honest about that. But they are powerful for what they can do! They help us walk, they house our bones and organs, they're incredibly smart, they keep our heart beating, they keep us alive and breathing by pumping in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. They digest our food and turn it into fuel. They create beautiful art, compose and perform soulful music and our brains solve complex problems and build amazing things. They spread compassion, love and happiness through a hug, a smile or a thoughtful gesture. My body grew and gave birth to a child! Theses are things I need to declare and remind myself daily. Multiple times a day on some days

2)  Body Positivity Step #2- Knowing that our bodies are powerful, find something you are proud of your body for doing. For me, I experienced devastating knee injuries that have pretty much retired me from the running community. I was honestly depressed about it for quite some time. I didn't know what to do with myself. This running injury actually highlighted some disordered eating and exercise patterns that I was exhibiting and allowed me to deal with them upfront: In the kitchen. Late at night- 2am. Bingeing on my roommate's chocolate birthday cake. In that season I learned that my body deserved better than the crazy binge eat, running cycles I was putting it through and I learned to be proud of my body for what it could still do even though long distance running was no longer an option. I learned to appreciate a slower pace. Really a more reasonable, sustainable and enjoyable way of approaching exercise. I learned how to craft an exercise regimen out of roadbiking and trying new strength training exercises. Our bodies thrive on new challenges. I experienced confidence building in defying the barriers of my knee injury.

As a mother, my biggest pride and joy and sense of accomplishment comes from the amazing baby it grew and continues to feed to this day. I am proud of how strong my body is. My first day back at the gym was sobering. I could barely do one single push-up. Looking back, I am amazed at how adaptable the body is. My confidence comes from my appreciation of what my body does for me. Today. That comes first. The results come after which leads into the next step.

3) Body Positivity Step #3- Respect your body. Talk nicely to it when you look at it. Love it. Appreciate every roll, dimple and blemish. Treat it like you would your best friend. Our bodies need to be treated well. We only get one. They need and deserve quality fuel and our muscles, our heart and our mind deserve and thrive when they are subjected to healthy movement and activity. However, I have lived through the differences between respecting my body after achieving a certain weight goal or look versus respecting my body for what it is today. Results from the former don't last long. Results from the latter last a lifetime; because, then what I do for and with my body becomes a way of life. Regardless of where I am in life, I don't stop, I just adapt. My exercise is more enjoyable. I look forward to it. I find my strength and confidence in the journey. I am not punishing myself. It becomes a treat to participate in a workout. When I am waiting to respect my body after I achieve my weight/body goals, my motivation is wavering and not on solid ground.

In the day and age of instagram models, photo-editing apps so easily at our disposal and the comparison it all insinuates, it's unreal how cruel we can be to ourselves without even knowing it most of the time. It becomes a mindless thought pattern. And it subconsciously affects the way we view and judge others too. I'm learning to be nicer to myself in every stage my health, my life and my body goes through. I want to be the nicest person I've ever met. Will you join me in kindness, pride, and respect for ourselves and the amazing power that lies within our body?





Photo and Video Credit: Zach Boyd (my husband)
Film Editing: me!
Film Location: Ethos Strength and Performance- Sacramento, CA
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28 comments

  1. #3 is what I struggle with SO much and I know I need to do a better job with it. LOVE this post and I love how body positivity is slowly becoming more and more popular!

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    1. You are definitely not alone! And yes, thankfully more and more are embracing this! Thank you for reading :)
      xxx,
      Mary

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  2. You go girl!! You are a total inspiration!

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    1. Thank you so much and thank you for reading!
      xxx,
      Mary

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  3. Love that these are real, achievable tips! I'm about to head back to the gym after being sick for weeks and I need to remember that I won't be able to do some things that I used to, but that I'll adapt. Thanks!

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    1. Way to go on being gracious to yourself as you return to the gym. I hope you continue to feel better and better and enjoy what you can when you return :) Thank you for reading!
      xxx,
      Mary

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  4. Wow these are amazing tips + I love how real and achievable you make them seem!

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    1. That was my hope exactly - real and achievable. Thank you so much for reading!
      xxx,
      Mary

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  5. Such good ideas! Love this post : )

    http://www.sometimesaturday.com

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  6. You really are gorgeous, seriously. But I know that's not what it's all about. I want to treat my body like it's capable- because it is. I have some chronic pain that makes it really hard for me to get in shape and healthy, but I am still capable and my body wants to be strong, if I would train it to be that way!

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    1. Aw, thank you so much, Kristin <3 I can only imagine the perseverance it takes when experiencing chronic pain. I love your positive outlook. Your body is strong! Thank you so much for reading :)
      xxx,
      Mary

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  7. Such an amazing post! I need to keep all of this in mind whenever I get down on myself.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading! You're not alone- I'm sure we all have those times when we're down on ourselves and need something to hold on to.
      xxx,
      Mary

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  8. I love the piece about respecting our bodies & talking to ourselves nicely! It's so important!
    -Nicholle
    www.nichollesophia.com

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    1. Yes! Respect! Thank you so much for reading!
      xxx,
      Mary

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  9. I love this post! Self love is so important.

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    1. So important. Thank you so much for reading!
      xxx,
      Mary

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  10. Thank you Mary! I really needed this today.. ❤️

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Danielle! <3 I need this everyday!
      hugs,
      Mary

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  11. This is such an amazing post! I have been thinking a lot about #3 lately. I recently started to do yoga, where my instructors talk a lot about #3 through the lens of not pushing ourselves past our thresholds just to be able to say we've done a pose. If something doesn't feel right-- don't do it. Our bodies are our best friends and we need to care for them as such! Great post.

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    1. So good! Yes! I love that additional thought on not pushing our bodies for the wrong reasons. Honoring our bodies and embracing healthy approaches to challenging it. Thanks so much for reading, Nicole!

      xxx,
      Mary

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  12. These are awesome!!! I love love love that last one about respecting our bodies!

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    1. Thanks so much for reading, Anna!

      xxx,
      Mary

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  13. I think that step 3 is what causes so many of us to 'relapse' back to step 1. It can be so hard to truly accept and appreciate each stretch mark, dimple, scar. What helps me is to remind myself that being a person is hard. Getting out of the bed some days is hard. But our body never lets us down, it is there for us to (literally) propel us forward, to get out of bed.

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    1. So true, Kristine! And so good- allowing ourselves the grace and permission to acknowledge that it is hard when it is hard. So good. Thanks so much for reading!

      xxx,
      Mary

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  14. This post couldn't have come at a better time! I've been feeling bad about myself and body and you just reminded me that I need to show it some love.

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  15. I love this post so much! Trying to accept yourself is one of the hardest things and you make such amazing points.

    xo // www.thematerialgirl.co

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