It’s pretty much universally acknowledged that how you feel about your physical self goes a long ways toward how you feel about your total self. While I truly believe that it is so important that you love and embrace your own unique looks and shape, like many people, I have struggled accepting my body type. I’m extremely tall for a female (hitting at just under 6 feet) and definitely have some curves – curves that have been enhanced by the pounds that have crept on over the past 6 months.
I want to love my body. While I live a generally healthy lifestyle (most of the time), I know that there are some changes that I need to make in order to improve my overall health, fitness, and appearance. But frankly, sometimes it seems so…overwhelming. And long. And a whole lot easier to just eat the chocolate that is before me.
Recently, I’ve had a thought (mantra?) that I keep repeating to myself:
I love my body as it is today.
I make choices every day to improve it’s health and beauty.
It has been helpful in changing my outlook and accepting that I can’t wait to love my body when it is the perfect weight or shape – I need to love it today. And part of that love is treating it with respect – which includes the general health rules of getting enough sleep, eating right, drinking lots of water, and exercising.
Sometimes, however, you need to do a little more.
Recently, on the advise of a few different books I was reading, I went through my closet and took out all the clothes that made me feel fat or ugly. They didn’t fit correctly or weren’t right for my body type. Some of them my sister (having a different body type) wanted and the rest I gave to my local thrift store. The idea behind the closet clearance was that by no longer having any of these clothes that made me physically self-conscious (and it didn’t matter if they actually made me look bad or if it was in my mind), I would be able to dress my body confidently every day, assured that I was looking my best, which would give me that additional confidence boost in my appearance and, subsequently, in myself.
Then this morning happened. Having returned from my weekend at my sisters – and the piles of food that we consumed while the family was all together – I woke up this morning not feeling my physical best. After going to the gym (which helped), I was racing to get dressed for work and out the door on time. I threw on some of my clothes and headed to the bathroom to do my hair and make-up.
I did not like what I saw.
While these clothes had passed the closet clearing test, this morning they were doing me no favors. I tried to reason with myself that it didn’t matter – it mattered more that I wasn’t late. But my appearance depressed me. And it made me do a depressing hair style. Which only made me feel worse.
As I was convincing myself to just let it go, I suddenly realized that, actually, it did matter. A lot, in fact. Looking at myself in the mirror, it was amazing how my feelings effected my physicality. I was constantly pulling at my clothes, my shoulders were slumped, and there was no sparkle in my eyes. If I left the house dressed like this and – more importantly – feeling like this, I was sure to have a rotten day. It didn’t matter if I actually looked fine, I would spend the day feeling self-conscious, uncomfortable, and judged. Which is not how I wanted my day to go.
So I changed. It’s such a simple action, really. But it impacted my mood, my confidence, and (I truly believe) my day. Above all, it taught myself that my feelings and self-esteem were important enough to take an extra 5 minutes and fix what I felt was wrong. The change in clothes led to a quick restyling of the hair and a concentrated effort on my make-up. At work (and I did make it on time), instead of being self-conscious, I felt comfortable in my own skin. I even got a few compliments on my appearance. While the journey to the body I want may be long, today I made the choice that let me love my body as it is right now. And it made all the difference.