I wrote a post the other day about shedding the fifteen pounds I gained since the Covid pandemic began. While it was an attempt to be humorous, by chiding myself and personifying the weight as a mooching houseguest who’d overstayed their welcome, I realize that this post had inadvertently reinforced society’s bias against women who carry extra weight.
And so I want to clarify — it is not about my weight.
My dissatisfaction with those extra pounds is not about the number on the scale, my squishy middle, or pants. (Well, it’s kind of about pants… I just want to fit into the ones I already have so I don’t have to buy new ones!)
It’s about my relationship with my body.
It’s about reclaiming the respectful connection I once had with my physical meat-sack. A relationship that I had let fall to the wayside as I nursed my anxiety and depression with comfort food during these recent times.
After I quite drinking a little over three years ago, I began to rediscover a self-love that I hadn’t known in decades. (Read Me and My Body: A Tumultuous Love Affair) Removing alcohol was merely the first step towards a healthier relationship with my body.
I began eating only foods that felt right; foods that were nourishing. Meals and snacks became like an offering of gratitude to this body that carried me along even while enduring so much self-inflicted abuse for so long.
I exercised regularly, treating myself to a new bike and good shoes. I found yoga, a practice that introduced me to my SELF— through breath, intentional movement, and tuning in to the delicate sensations within my body. I had some powerful experiences with reiki and breathwork, and I could feel the wounded energy from my years and years of drinking move through and out of my body.
This loving relationship I was fostering between my mind, body and soul was a huge part of what kept me steady on my path of recovery from addiction.
And then… Covid happened.
Like so many of us, all the fear, anxiety and isolation of this past year has really been challenging for me, both mentally and physically. My routine was rocked when the gym and yoga studio shut down. Once my kids were home full-time, finding time to even go for a solo walk became very challenging. (If you’ve ever tried to walk around the block with a distractible four-year-old, you would know that the pace is rather slow.)
And with all the pressing stressors of this past year, I turned to food for comfort. I was baking cookies on the regular. Always finding an excuse for a ‘treat’ just to boost my endorphins for a few minutes. Now, considering that my previous solace was found in the consumption of multiple bottles of wine, this was definitely an improvement. But, still… I wasn’t doing myself (or my sugar-addicted kids for that matter) any favors by constantly loading the grocery cart with Oreos, ice cream and donut holes.
As the months went on, my recently acquired mind-body connection began to fade. I forgot what it was like to break a sweat (other than hauling my bags of processed carbs from the car to the pantry). My back and shoulders began to chronically ache. I regularly felt groggy upon waking up and needed a nap by 1pm.
I have decided that it’s time to rebuild that loving, healthy connection with my body again. I liked feeling healthy and whole. I need that feeling back.
And, though I joke about losing those 15 pounds, what rediscovering health really means to me has nothing to do with a number on the scale. It’s about a return to homeostasis – the state of balance.
Whether you are rail-thin, thick, muscular, or soft and curvy, our bodies have a natural and comfortable state of being. We are all unique, and a healthy body looks different on everyone. (Read my post ‘Bellyfat’) If we can get into honest relationship with our bodies and actually ‘listen’ to what they need, we will move towards that comfortable place of balance.
To find my homeostasis, I need to feed myself whole and natural foods, that are heavily plant-based. I will honor when my body tells me I’m hungry…and when I’m not. I will refrain from dulling my emotions with calories I don’t actually need or want.
I will also move in ways that shift my energy and make me happy. I love yoga, hiking, riding my bike, and walking through the neighborhood with my dog. I’m going to fit in a lot more of that stuff. (Read my post: Overcoming Inertia) I don’t love group fitness classes or lifting weights, so I’m not going to force myself to do those activities. (Again, we’re all unique, and the ways we choose to move our bodies are vastly different! Shout out to all the runners and cross-fitters! Go for it, you crazies!)
So, let’s love ourselves in the beautiful bodies we are in! Look at a scale if it helps you to calibrate yourself, but more importantly, tune in to your body’s messages and act accordingly. What is it telling you to do more of or less of? How do you know when you are in balance?
©Vixen Lea 2021