I wish I was as fat as I thought I was 20 years ago.
I posted that thought on a Facebook thread
this morning. It was a post in which one of my friends confessed that she had been ill and unable to go to the gym, which made her feel bad about her weight and herself. She then asked if anyone else wanted to confess some “f-ed up” thoughts. (h/t Roz the Diva) So, I shared a thought I’ve had several times this winter, as I struggle to adjust to the changes my body is going through while having to cut way back on my exercise regimen because of injuries that have kept me from my normal schedule of pole dance training. It’s tough.
Apparently, I’m not alone. I’ve paraphrased some of the thoughts shared on the thread:
I was happy about the thought of illness-induced weight loss.
I was so upset when I didn’t lose any weight after a bout of food poisoning.
Sometimes, I “forget” to eat in the hope that I will lose weight.
And my thought: I wish I was as fat as I thought I was 20 years ago.
When I confessed this, I was astounded at how many people could relate. (I also learned a new word, which I’m totally dropping in conversation.) While it feels good to know I’m not alone, it also makes me feel sad that there are so many of us that feel this way about our bodies. This image affects so many regardless of weight, shape or size. Skinny, average, overweight, obese – it doesn’t matter. And it’s not limited to women – ever heard the term man-o-rexia? The struggle is real.
Fast forward to lunchtime, when I attended a restorative yoga class. Restorative yoga is about practicing self-care and holding poses designed to release the tension and stress we carry in our bodies. It’s a wonderful complement to exercise and helps balance the stresses of daily life. At the end of class, the instructor recounted her experience of teaching yoga to a group of stroke patients. They weren’t worried about how their bodies looked; their requests were more functional, such as:
I want to be able to close my hand all the way.
I want to stop urinating on myself.
I left that yoga class appreciating the simple things my body can do that I take for granted. Like getting out of bed in the morning without help. Taking a three mile walk and being able to “leg it out” when trying to cross a typical Houston street. Going to yoga. Being able to do a forward split. And being able to do all of this and be one of the few people in my peer group who isn’t taking medications for health issues.
Maybe the next time my negative thoughts threaten to derail me, I’ll focus on all the wonderful things my body can do. And, while I’m working toward my goals, I’ll appreciate my body for where it is – and what it looks like – at this very moment.
Because there’s a chance that I’ll look back 20 years from now and wish I still looked this good.