This is a share of a post I wrote for a new blog I have created called Fitness for Real Girls, but the conversation fits just as easily here on Spiritual Tea, as it gives us reason to stop and think about how we perceive our own bodies.
For me, one of the big ruts is that of inertia. Once I stop, it is so hard to get started again. It’s part of a routine that is probably familiar to many of you. I get sick, or hurt myself, or feel tired and achy, and I don’t exercise.
Then of course, since I work at my computer all day, I feel tired and achy and blah because I’m sitting at my desk and not exercising. And I don’t exercise so I feel blah, and I feel blah, so I don’t exercise, and on and on, you get the picture!
I realized that some of my aches and pains were most likely due to being overweight, and if I was going to sit here and feel achy, I might as well exercise and have a good reason to be achy! Interestingly, the muscle aches from biking and hiking are a different kind of pain, maybe one might even call it a good pain? Ok, yeah, that might be pushing it. But at any rate, it feels better than just feeling achy and crummy from sitting inside all day!
Around the same time I was contemplating all of this, I came across an interview on Slate.com with photographer Jen Davis. The article by David Rosenberg is entitled In Revealing Self-Portraits, Body Image Is Front and Center, and is well worth the read. Jen spent many years taking self-portraits that centered around her body image and the thoughts, emotions and fantasies that shaped it.
The interview and the photos really touched and inspired me, and led me to think about my own image. Perhaps her self image and reasoning were not necessarily positive, and many people may not agree with her process, but there was a line in the interview that struck me:
“It was kind of shocking, kind of painful to look at myself and to see myself evolving and growing and understanding a deeper sense of myself but my body not being able to change after nine years’ time. I was shocked and thought ‘why can’t I take control of my life?’ and I realized I didn’t want to wake up at 40 and be in this body—I wanted to know what it would be like to be in a different body, and that was a painful realization,” Davis explained.
I wanted to know what it would be like to be in a different body… Very simple, but somehow it struck me as very profound. Again, maybe it’s not the best philosophy in the world, but it has become something of a mantra for me. For years I have felt stuck in this rut of being overweight and feeling unhealthy, most of my motivation for exercising and losing weight was for all those same “rut” reasons; feeling bad about myself, my body and disappointed in my own inability to get out of the rut.
So, I have put a curiosity spin on it. This body is fine, it’s served its purpose, but what would it be like to be in a fit body? Even if I am not skinny by today’s marketing standards, feeling stronger and healthier would be a GOOD thing, and looking at it this way has helped me feel empowered and keep moving. While the process is slower than I might like it to be, I can feel the difference, just a little hint of what’s to come in this different body.