......Love the one you're with!
Ever heard that song? It's by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Some of the lyrics are:
"Don't be angry, don't be sad
Don't sit crying over good times you've had
Well there's a girl sitting right next to you
And she's just waiting for something to do...
...And if you can't be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you're with"
Why, you may ask, am I sharing this with you? What does this have to do with health and fitness. A lot my friends, an awful lot.
The other day I spent an hour sorting through my clothes to eliminate some of them (as I like to do in January), and I had a epiphany. Some of my jeans I wore last May didn't fit me....whomp whomp. I am about 10 lbs heavier than I was then, and I thought, "Geez.....I remember not being entirely happy with my body then....what a waste!". Seriously, I kept going through my clothes all the while thinking about how instead of enjoying the body I had worked so hard on I was still finding flaws. Now, here I am, 10 lbs heavier and thinking, "well, I better love this body now because who knows what I might have in 1, 5, 10, or 50 years!" Right?!?
I have spent a lot of my life not appreciating how I was in the moment. I remember hating my "front butt" when I was 11 years old! 11 YEARS OLD!!! P.S., a "Front butt" is that lower belly pooch.
Here I am now, 32, responsibility coming outta my ears, a body that needs extra work to keep in shape 'cause it's getting older, and I'm thinking "why was I wasting my 11 year old time feeling self conscious about a lower belly pooch?!". Poor 11 year old me!!
I heard someone say recently that only loving your body when it's perfect is like only loving your kids when they're well behaved. Moulding a child into a decent human being takes time and effort, and there will be some moments when you're staring at your (seemingly) possessed child and thinking "I've failed!".....but you still love them anyway!
Don't have kids? Ok, let's change the comparison to dogs! You love your dog, even when you come home from a long day and it's pooped in your favourite shoes.....right?
Make your own comparison from something you seem to love and forgive quite unconditionally and apply it here!
So, why not our bodies? Why not love what we've got while we've got it, no matter how it looks, or how it's "behaving"? This body, this temple we've got to live in can stay the same, get worse, or get better, but can't we love it all along the way?
I started this Health & Fitness portion of my website because I wanted to share my tips and tricks, workouts and food philosophy, but what I keep coming back to is encouragement! I swear, this is not really intentional! I sit down to write about one thing, and out comes something else! I think my heart, my body and soul are trying to work something out!
How many of us woman (and men too) feel discouraged after looking through "motivational fitness photos"? All those freakin' ripped people, super nice tans, I'm sure they are rich too for goodness sake! There is a time and a place for that (heck, I shared my own "before" & "after" photos!), but more than just seeing other people who are in shape, I think we need real people, loving themselves, loving others, no matter what the body! I want to have a "before" and "after" of my attitude toward my body!
Change your mind about yourself, decide right now to love yourself! Start a transformation right there in your head! Don't forget to take a "before" snapshot of your critical and unforgiving mind! You'll want a comparison for later! : )
Me telling you to love your body isn't a new idea....I'm sure you've already read it somewhere, or seen it on a Billboard or commercial. But I am not just telling you, I AM TELLING ME!!!
I am with you in this struggle, in this adventure, in this crazy human body!
So, here's the real challenge. Not just loving your body (which is easy to say), but to realign your values of beauty. We are told to love our bodies, but our hearts and minds say, "why would you, look at it! It's awful!"
Something I tell my kids a lot, and I think we can all agree on this point, is that what we are in our hearts is what makes us beautiful, and that is something we can all work on, regardless of our body type.
Remember how I disliked my body at 11, and I disliked it last year at it's fittest and thinest, so the problem isn't with my body, it's with my heart & mind. It's what we value as beauty, it's what we consider worthwhile.
I love the image above (you can sub in "man" if you're a man reading this!), but I love the challenge.
Proverbs 31:30&31 says,"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honour her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate" (emphasis mine)
Now, whether or not you are a Christian, believe in God, or read the Bible, you have to admit that is a gosh-darned good proverb!!! Don't be thrown off by the "fear" bit, that fear doesn't mean what we think (afraid, terrified), but rather to respect, or to reverence. This fear acknowledges God’s good intentions, and makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge (1), which is a beautiful quality. What you look like will fade and change, and get old! You can't help that! But what you do, who you are, those things can last and can become your legacy of beauty.
If we don't start by looking inward at what our hearts and minds are doing, and whether or not they are beautiful, we'll never be able to look in a mirror and say, "I love you".
Take a good look at yourself. Are you a great singer, dancer, piano player, guitar player? Recorder player!?! Do you love passionately, hug hard, laugh easily, think deeply? Can you make a killer grilled cheese or a fantastic pot of soup? Do you help people in need, or offer a shoulder to cry on? Are you loud? Quiet? Both!?! Do you see beauty in others? Do you see that beauty can be, and IS, more than just what we look like?
Who you are is not how you look and your beauty is not in how you look. Who you are is someone individual, and your beauty resides in that special and distinct place.
Love yourself for yourself. You are the only mind like you, the only emotion like you, the only you there is. All of it, inside and out is you, so love it. Love the one you're with because it's you!
It's Me, Amy-Lyn!
Welcome to my