On how not blaming my body has changed the way I experience summer life and influences my eats lately: the difference it makes.
You know how summer’s supposed to be carefree? All the lake days and oversized sunglasses (not judging, I’m a proud owner) and light that lasts till 9:00 pm? I know I’m not alone in this, but the past many summers I’ve spent stressed over I can’t figure out what. Irritable without my schedule and routine. Anxious over food and my body. Guilty because I think I should be doing more. Guilty for feeling guilty because, what the heck, it’s summer and I’m supposed to be having fun.
Stressed, irritable, anxious, guilty, restless? Those things don’t make for a prime environment to grow a healthy relationship with food and your body.
As far as food and your body go, summer can be a hard time in and of itself. You’re traveling and can’t make all your meals. Mealtimes vary. You’re inundated with beach body messages. Get fit this summer messages. It’s sweltering out and the only thing you want is a double scoop ice cream cone (mint chocolate chip for liiiiiiiife), but you think you should eat, you know, quinoa and steamed carrots out of a Tupperware.
For me, this summer’s been different. And honestly, I’m not sure why.
But I think a big part of it is this: I’m not blaming my body.
Not only that, but not blaming my body has become automatic. Before, anytime anything went wrong, anytime I embarrassed myself in front of others (which, let me tell ya, happens a LOT), any day I just felt off, I’d blame my body. Maybe not straight out.
But you know how it goes.
You go clothes shopping and the size you think will fit doesn’t. Or the outfit looks better on the model in the picture than it does on you. And instead of saying, “This doesn’t work for me, I need a different size,” you decide maybe you should eat more kale salads and skip out on the doughnuts you always get from that bakery while you’re on vacation at the coast.
Or you mess up and decide to go for a hard run when you don’t feel like it. You take your frustration out on your body.
It used to take everything in me to stop blaming my body. It was work, and hard work at that. I had to consider the fact that it really wasn’t fair to my body to blame it for everything. Or helpful. Or nurturing. It only every made me feel worse.
Through lots of things–positive affirmations, deep conversations, journaling–I’ve been working to cultivate body kindness. This morning, when I put a pair of shorts I haven’t worn since last summer, they were too small. I didn’t panic. Didn’t think, “Oh no, I need to fix this!” I acknowledged my body has changed, folded the shorts, and put them in my give-away pile.
I haven’t been letting body blame dictate what I eat, either. Lavender shortbread? Yes please. (But sorry, no picture!)
It doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes I fall back on the body blame game. But for the most part, not blaming my body has become automatic. Body kindness has taken its place.
I think that’s a big reason why this summer has felt different. I don’t feel restless in my body. I feel comfortable in it. Comfortable in my own skin.
And I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that. And how much I want that for everyone around me.
What are ways we can spread the message of body kindness? Have you ever struggled with the body blame game? Or summertime stress?
Linking up for Thinking out Loud!