Your Body – A love/hate relationship

Posted Mar 13 2012, 11:52 am in , , , , , , , , , ,

A show of hands please – How many of you LOVE your body? I mean, really love it. Every little thing about it. All the good stuff, the bad stuff, the jiggly bits, the muscly bits, ALL of it. Come on, raise your hands up high.

Obviously, I can’t see into your computer. (that would be weird) BUT I’m willing to bet that there weren’t a whole lotta hands up in the air. The reality for many of us is that we may love or really like some parts of our bodies, but hate other parts. For women in particular, body love, complete body love, is hard. VERY hard. There’s a million reasons for body image issues, and I’m not going to get into them right now. I think for each of us, we have a pretty good idea where they come from. But I do want to talk about trying to love our bodies, even when we don’t like all of the parts.

I had a moment this summer. One of those moments where you have to stop and think, “Holy shit. What am I thinking?” This past July I completed my very first Olympic Triathlon. It was a huge goal for me. One that I wouldn’t have ever considered even attempting just a few short years ago. I shared the experience with my bestie Deb, and for both of us, it was absolutely a day of pride and celebration.

Later that night however as we were relaxing and resting on the deck, we flicked through the pictures taken during the event. For both of us, our mood changed. Sure, we were still proud and excited, but now it was tampered with how we felt we looked in the photos. The strong powerful athlete I felt like while I was swimming, biking and running, well, that’s not what I saw in the pictures.

My mom, hearing us bitch and moan, stopped and said, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. You two just did something amazing. You should be proud of your bodies, not criticizing them.”

She was right. REALLY right.

Did what she said that day change how I felt about myself when I looked in the mirror? No, not totally. But it got me thinking. And I’ve been thinking ever since.

My body is not perfect. FAR from it. But I’m finally coming to a place where I love it. I still don’t like some parts of it, but as a whole, I am finally starting to love my body. Because really, I’ve put my body through a lot in recent years, and not only does it perform, it excels. Sometimes they’re little accomplishments, sometimes they’re huge, but the one thing I know for sure is that MY body accomplished them.

Carry, grow and nurture two babies? MY body did that!

Push through two and a half hours of swimming, running and biking in the mountains? MY body did that!

Hikes through mountains and rainforest with my kids? MY body does that!

Did a handstand at Crossfit? Oh, ya..MY body did that!

Spends the day skiing with my family? MY body can do that!

When I stop to think about all the things, athletic or not, that my body can do…it’s amazing. Am I size four? Uh, no. Do I look like the ‘typical’ triathlete or runner? Nope. Are there things I don’t like and want to change about my body? Absolutely.

BUT…if I dwell on all the things I don’t like or the parts that I want to wave a magic wand over, I’ll drive myself crazy. And, I’ll miss out on all the kick ass stuff my body can do right NOW.

It’s not always easy, but why shouldn’t we love our bodies now? RIGHT now! Not in two months after we diet. Not when we can finally fit into that dress we’ve been eying. NOW.

It’s hard, I get it. I struggle with it. It’s a work in progress for sure. One I work at everyday. But that’s all you can do really…keep working on it and maybe one day, if I ask the same question, “How many of you LOVE your body?” There will be more hands in the air.

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So, come on, share. It’s good for you, I promise. Tell me and the world (or whoever reading) what you LOVE your body for.

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41 Comments

Comments

41 responses to “Your Body – A love/hate relationship”

  1. Amber West says:

    This is a hard one for me. I’ve wrestled with being happy with my body for some time, even when I was younger and had NO reason to be upset with how I looked. As a matter of fact, part of the “funk” I’ve been in recently is dealing with self-image issues.

    So, I will try.

    I love my body for being the safe, wonderful place that kept my little man healthy for the 9+ months before he came into the world. I love it for providing him with nourishment for the last few years. I love that, while I am not a size 2 (or 4,6,8…) the time I’ve spent focusing on him rather than focusing on myself is time that will have a profound effect on him for the rest of his life.

    Phew. How’s that? 🙂

    (Lovely post, Elena. And WOW, you have much to be proud of.)

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Thanks, Amber!
      Isn’t it funny (not ha ha) how when we’re younger, and there really is NO reason to be upset with our body, we are?! Sad, really.
      I get it. Body issues are SO hard. Your little man is absolutely a really, REALLY amazing reason to love your body! And I’m sure there are many more you aren’t sharing. Hug yourself. Love yourself.
      It’s not easy, but maybe if we support each other in it, it might help. Even a little.
      Thank you for sharing. <3

  2. Love this. Love that bookmark-like picture reminding us to love our bodies. Wonderful post.

    Let’s see…

    I love that my body carried and nourished four babies. I’ve embraced my peaches and cream completion. Jean shopping aside, I’ve generally liked the shape of my body even though it is carrying more weight than I’m happy with at the moment and I’m working on that. That Man finds me sexy so I’m good 😀

  3. Jeff says:

    I experienced some mild abuse as a child and have since realized my body image issues for much of my life had a lot to do with that. I do love my body, but I still recognize that side of me that could stand to be just a leeeetle bit better.

    Eating organic foods and focusing on my spiritual life really helps. It develops the whole person, body, mind, and soul, so that whatever results from those efforts seem all-the-more good for me.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Jeff,
      Thank you for sharing. Tough stuff for sure, but you’re right…focusing on the whole person is essential. 🙂

  4. I love my body for staying healthy and letting me play tennis, golf and ski no matter how old I get. Fingers crossed it remains that way!

  5. Cassia says:

    Elena, you make an excellent point. I may hate my middle and jiggly parts, but my body puts up with the torture I put it through on the treadmill each week and even makes me feel better about the sore places later.

    I also love that while I had issues during my pregnancy, I did deliver two very healthy girls at 38 weeks (while other mothers of twins were having their twins before term all around me).

    There is much to be grateful for.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Cassia,
      You’re right…SO much to be grateful for. Twin babies…I get it…HUGE! And 38 weeks. I’m impressed. I ‘may’ have begged my doctor at 36 weeks…
      It’s true, we don’t love all our parts, but as long as we work on loving the whole…we’re onto something.
      Thanks for sharing!

  6. Stacy Green says:

    What a great post. I know I will never be entirely happy with my body, but I’m much healthier now that I’ve lost weight. The size thing is and always will be a work in progress, but what’s going on inside is the most important, and that’s why I try to exercise.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Hi Stacy!
      It is absolutely the inside that matters! I think sometimes we forget that by focusing negativity onto our outside, our inside suffers. Exercise is good for the soul, probably more so than the body!
      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. Trish Loye Elliott says:

    Great post, E! It’s so true. We all have body issues but you’re so right that we need to focus on the good stuff and try to love our entire body. I love that I’m tall most of all and it used the be one of the things I hated the most.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      T, I LOVE that you’re tall. I used to think I was tall and now that I’m surrounded by all you lovely blond (word)bitches…I have height issues. Kidding.
      But good for you for embracing the thing you hated most! Awesome!

  8. Um… I’m hawt. What are you even talking about? 😉

    We all have our areas of concern, but after posting my piece about the anorexic girl who at age 16 and 86 pounds is STILL not content and now wants to be 75 pounds… I really was just happy that in my head I’m okay with me.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      It’s true, Renee…you’re hawt. Obviously. 🙂

      Tough piece. Tough subject. And thank goodness to be happy in your head. Absolutely a powerful reminder.

  9. I love, love, love this post. After years and years of tearing down myself in front of the mirror, I’m finally coming to a place that I can accept and ADORE my body for all it’s done for me. It’s healthy. Strong. Full of energy. And not everybody can say that.

    Elena, you are such a lovely person.

    Big hugs,
    Myn

    • Elena Aitken says:

      AH, Myndi. Thank you!

      I LOVE that you’re coming to that place. Ugh, make no mistake, I’m still working on it. there are days I don’t love a bloody thing about myself. BUT then I have to stop and remember all the awesomeness. It’s not easy. Yay you for having a strong, healthy body you can adore!
      THAT is power!
      <3

  10. Fahhhbulous post Elena! It’s so true how often we struggle with loving our bodies when we could be in AWE of everything our bodies do and accomplish. It’s really amazing when you think about it. We should revel in our own power and physical ability instead of always looking to our flaws or imperfections. Thank you for the WONDERFUL reminder!!!

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Thank you, Nat!
      It’s absolutely a work in progress for all of us. But it’s one I really believe we should all work at!
      Thanks for stopping by darlin’

  11. What a great way of thinking about it. No, I don’t love all the parts of my body, but I do love it for what it does for me. I’ve never been very good at balance when it comes to my weight, but this helps me put it in perspective that it’s not about the number. it’s more about being healthy and able to do the things you enjoy.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Marcy,
      I really had to work hard to find a way to finally accept and love my body (or deeply like). I’ve also never been good when it comes to balance with my weight. But it IS more than a number. Much MUCH more!
      Thanks for commenting!

  12. Donna Newton says:

    My body is far from perfect but boy, it could be so much worse. Still, it gives me something to moan about 🙂

    • Elena Aitken says:

      That it does, Donna. sadly, I think our bodies are always a ready made thing to moan about. BUT…gotta change that attitude. Moan about the weather instead. That’s an easy one in Alberta anyway. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Joanne says:

    I LOVE everything you said and couldn’t agree more with all of it! It made me think a little of my own life and how I view myself. I am always struggling to loose just five more pounds and try a new workout! This weekend though my 8yr old daughter got a new pair of runners, actual runners the tie up sporty kind and was super excited. She then proceeded to tell me that these runners will make her fast like me…how sweet, right? Not really as her next breath says and then I can loose some wieght! I agree with you Elena we need to be proud of what we have accomplished. For me I am a mother of an amazing yet trying daughter and twin boys. Completed a 200km bike ride twice, a few sprint triathlons and some 10km races. This year I will try to love my body more for who I am and how strong I have become, accomplish my first half marathon and show my daughter you are beautiful no matter what!

    • Elena Aitken says:

      YAY, Joanne! Thank you for reading and commenting!
      It’s amazing when you hear something like that come out of your child’s mouth…makes you think for sure. I’m with ya on that one!

      And…HELLO! SO much for you to love your body for. SO much! It’s an amazing thing. I’ve seen you in action. 🙂

  14. Marianne says:

    I am going through this same exact thing. I’m wondering why the inches aren’t just melting since I’ve been exercising like no one’s business, not even paying attention that I actually feel better…

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Oh yes…inches melting are another story completely. And I feel your pain there. BUT…I try to focus on the sense of accomplishment that I feel after a long run, or a tough xfit class or…and of course how I feel.
      I figure if I’m feeling good and enjoying what I’m doing, the rest will come. Because the best things we can do for our body is fill it with healthy fuel, exercise AND love it! Sounds hocky I know, BUT like the quote says, you can’t take care of something you don’t love.
      I’m SO excited that you signed up for a triathlon! You will feel amazing after accomplishing that!

  15. I love what your mom said to you. Sometimes I look in the mirror when I’m naked and think things…and if I ever heard Vivian say/think these things about her body, I’d freak out and reassure her how beautiful and strong she is, which is how my mom raised me. Still, it’s hard sometimes. I’ve been power walking every day for 3 weeks and the one thing I do at the end of each walk is take out my earbuds and give thanks for a healthy body. It’s making a difference. Great post.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      My mom is a very wise lady.
      I hear you about the mirror. I’d freak if I heard Syd say some of the things I’ve said to myself It’s hard. BUT we gotta set the example, right?! Good for you for walking. SO good for the spirit.

  16. You are right, Elena. We give our bodies a bad rap. Everyday, those of us who can walk and talk, smell, and listen rise to the challenges of the day and our bodies do that for us. It’s far too easy to look at what isn’t instead of offering thanksgiving for what is.

    My favorite part of this post is your mother’s comment. We don’t usually see ourselves as clearly as others do and for a mom to speak powerful truths to her daughter is an exceptional thing. She’s pretty incredible. She’s gifted you with this greatness too, you know:)

    http://www.alident.org/2012/03/adjusting-my-vision/

  17. This post makes me cry in a good way. Our bodies are amazing and remarkable things, aren’t they? I need to love my body more and forgive myself if I don’t look like a supermodel, which I really don’t want to anyway, but you know what I mean. I’ve got some extra pounds, but dang! This body can rock it out. I need to remember that more often.

    You did a triathlon? You are AMAZING!

  18. I freaking LOVE this post!!! Well done Elena!! I shall endeavor to love ALL of my body!!

  19. Congratulations on doing a triathlon!!!!

    As to body image, I couldn’t agree with you more. When I see the photos from my 5Ks or tennis games, I’m always taken aback because the woman running or serving doesn’t look anything like the person I feel myself to be in that moment.

    This is a lovely reminder and one that I need to take to heart. Thanks, Elena!

  20. […] I read a post like Elena Aitken’s Your Body ~ A Love/Hate Relationship and I’m reminded how good life is. Share […]

  21. Fantastic post! I love what my body does for me and allows me to do. I’m amazed at its ability to heal and carry me…and get all mushy/teary when I think of what it’s been through with me. It must love me more than I used to love it, or I wouldn’t have made it this far.

    Loving ourselves before we attempt to change our weight often allows healthy changes to happen naturally. I’ve seen it time and again. (Did I mention… Fantastic post?!? ;))

  22. Kudos to Mom. She’s a wise woman.

  23. Marcia says:

    ‘You can’t look after something you hate’. Exactly right. My body is in almost the worse shape it’s ever been in (yes it has been worse) and I’ve spent 30 years hating it. But what I love now is the positive way it’s responding to my efforts to care for it properly.

    Excellent post, Elena! You’re setting a great example for every woman!

  24. Subhan Zein says:

    I think I have to start loving my chubby tummy, otherwise I won’t be getting my six pack, back! 🙂

    Subhan Zein

  25. […] few weeks ago I wrote about how I’m finally coming to accept my body despite the fact that it isn’t ‘perfect’. I still have a long way to go on this […]

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