Ask yourself. Am I doing this because I love my body, or am I doing this because I hate my body?
I met a friend for breakfast a couple weeks ago and we had a discussion on looking at yourself in the mirror and what body checking entailed. Is it a bad thing to look in the mirror?
Here’s what I’ve decided. It’s not the mirror that is evil, it’s how we use it.
A mirror can be a tool used to body check, which can increase your negative self talk and encourage you to control and manipulate your body to a place it’s not supposed to be. On the other hand, a mirror can be something you look in and think, “you look epic today and you’re gonna get so much done.”
There are many tools in your life that can turn into a thing that increase negative self talk and encourage you to manipulate your body. Things that could actually be harmful could be going to the gym, eating vegetables, looking in the mirror and many others.
None of these things are negative on their own. It’s not any particular food or going to the gym that is bad for you, it’s the intention behind the behavior.
Do you eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day because you know fruits and veggies feel good in your body or do you eat 5 servings a day because it’a rigid rule you’ve become obsessed with following?
Do you go on a walk outside because it feels awesome to move your body? Or do you go to that 5am spinning class because you have to be thin or else?
So next time you are about to do something related to food or exercise, stop and ask yourself, am I doing this because I love my body or because I hate my body?
If it’s because you hate your body and are trying to control and manipulate it, it may be time to choose not to engage in that activity. Instead give yourself a break from the rigid exercise or rigid meals.
For me, exercise was the thing I used to control and manipulate my body. About a year ago I took a solid few months off exercise. I was seeing a neurologist for lower back pain and tingling sensations in my arms and legs, which I’ve attributed to overexercise, because when I took a break from exercise the back pain got 90% better after a year or so of rest and more gentle movement.
After giving my body a break from exercise, the best thing happened. Last Spring when I had just got back into doing some organized movement/activity, I was in a weight training type of class and started crying because I saw fat on my body (specifically where my arm meets my upper chest). But I wasn’t crying because fat was there. I was crying because I had no desire to change it. I wasn’t like full on bawling in the class, but there was a glistening tear in my eye and I was like, “thank, God.” For the first time in my entire life I wasn’t at the gym to change the fat on my body. I was at the gym to simply move my body. Not to manipulate my body into a place it wasn’t supposed to be.
I have fat on my body and I am healthy. Those two things can exist at the same time.
I think it’s time for everyone to look inward and ask yourself, “Am I pursuing health, or am I pursuing an appearance?”
If you have a difficult relationship with food and your body, I hope you will look into my online course and see if it is something that resonates with you.