For as long as I can remember, I have looked in the mirror and thought, “I need to lose weight”. My earliest memory of this occurred when I was just eight years old. I remember putting on my swimsuit, looking in the mirror at my round belly, and thinking that I was fat. Looking back on it though, I see that my belly was completely normal and that all children have the same round belly that I thought was completely unacceptable!
Even when I was extremely underweight for my 5’9 frame at 115lbs, I would look in the mirror and see fat. I can honestly say that I was no happier at my “supermodel” weight than I am now, 40lbs heavier. In fact, I was ten times more miserable.
I attribute my delusionary state of mind to the culture that I’ve grown up in. I started reading fashion magazines at a very young age, and watched my mom attend weekly Weight Watcher’s meetings that she didn’t really need to go to. I don’t blame my mom though – she was under the same cultural spell that I have been under for over 30 years!
I see now that I’ve spent my entire life simmering in the unconscious message that “your body is unlovable and unacceptable unless you look like the models in magazines”. Gee, what a convenient and conniving way to sell stuff!
It wasn’t until I started practicing yoga that I realized that healthy, beautiful, lovable people come in all shapes and sizes, and that our bodies are actually meant to be different. What a startling realization! But even with that knowledge, I continue to observe my mind like a hawk, knowing how easy it is to fall back into habitual thought patterns.
For example – it’s January, the time of the year when everyone is resolving to lose weight and get fit. And although I rarely set New Year’s Resolutions, it does cross my mind every January that “this is going to be the year I whittle myself down into fitness model proportions”.
I’m happy to say that for the first time ever, I observed my thought and saw it as pointless. Instead I decided to think, “this is going to be the year that I see the beauty in my body, and offer it radical, nurturing, unconditional LOVE”.
Our bodies are pretty miraculous when you think about it. They’re doing a trillion things all at once – digesting food, blinking, beating the heart, fighting viruses, breathing air in and out, growing babies, etc. No matter what you look like or how much you weigh, your body truly is an expression of Divine beauty, wisdom, and intelligence.
The interesting thing is that when you see the Divine beauty in your body, you will automatically begin to nurture it and treat it with more care, which usually includes moving it around, feeding it well, and getting enough sleep. It’s an effective way to allow your body to find a healthy state all on it’s own.
As I enter week 3 of my radical self-love revolution, I’m feeling healthier and happier in mind, body, and spirit than I ever have before. It’s a thrill for me to wake up each day and tell my cells how much I love and appreciate them.
And when I look in the mirror and see my round belly, I purposefully think to myself, “How cute”. I hope that after reading this article, you will look in the mirror and do the same.