As many of you saw in my last post about diet culture, I've recently been inspired by a #BodyPositivity movement that came to my attention through Instagram. This movement is all about loving our bodies just as they are, in whatever shape they are in. It's about ditching the pervasive diet culture and body shaming, and seeing the beauty in every body...especially our own.
This Body Positivity movement is connected to another movement called #HealthatEverySize. Which focuses on being healthy and doing the best for your body regardless of what size you are. Not worrying about what the scale says or whether of not you have washboard abs and a thigh gap, and instead focusing on eating foods that make your body feel good and doing movement that promotes good mental and physical health AND feels good...without caring at all about losing weight. There's also a movement for #IntuitiveEating*, which is about getting back in touch with our bodies, really listening to them and feeding them what they want rather than restricting or feeding them what our stress wants or what diet culture tells us to eat.
For me, this has meant riding a stationary bike for 30-40 minutes most everyday, because I know the movement is good for both my mind and body, and because I LIKE IT. I can read or watch author YouTube videos while I do it! I can close my eyes and daydream--which I don't do enough of lately. It also means stretching every night in whatever way feels good to my body. It's no longer a yoga class, per se, but it includes a lot of yoga poses. (I'm dying to add a rower to the mix...here's hoping I get one for mother's day! ...hint. hint.)
For me, this has also meant trying to learn to listen to what my body wants. When I really listen, I find that I'm not always hungry at the designated mealtimes, yet I've almost always eaten at them. Now I'm trying to eat only when I feel hungry, regardless of the time. It also means checking in with my body to see what it really wants to eat. More often than not, of late, that includes carbs like bread or pasta, and fruit; though it also may mean soup. I give it what it wants.
And, I've decided, this means BELLY LOVE.
My current belly is the crux of my movement into Body Positivity. I've never had a small waist, but for most of my life I had a relatively flat stomach. Not. Any. More. I now have some thick rolls chillaxing on my midsection. They are soft and squishy and totally pinchable. And they are big enough now that I can no longer even suck them in, really. I can't stand a certain way in pictures to hide them unless I'm completely blocked by another person. I can't camouflage them under a sweater.
THEY. ARE. THERE. Like it or not.
So that's the decision before me: To like them. Or not.
Could I eat less and exercise more and whittle them down a bit? Probably. But here's the question I keep asking myself: Why? Is that what I really want to do with my one wild and precious life? Workout? Diet? Worry about how I look? Will I wish, on my death bed, that I had been skinnier? That I'd had a flatter stomach?
I kinda doubt it.
So, I choose to like them, those belly rolls.
And this is my new practice, starting today: Every day I will say nice things to myself about my appearance. Every day I will focus some of that love specifically onto my belly. I will tell it how much I love it and I will thank it. I will rub it lovingly with yummy lotion after I shower and I will dress it in lovely clothes. I will try my best not to hide it or deny it. And I will feed it what it wants.
It's an experiment in challenging diet culture and body shaming and self flagellation. It's in experiment in self-love and body positivity.
I'll let you know how it goes. Feel free to join me in this experiment and report back.
Until next time, love your self...love your belly.
* Check out these hashtags on Instagram for more information and inspiration on your own journey to loving the body you live in!