Happy belated Valentine’s Day

Even though I missed having this published by February 14th, I still wanted to publish it. Better late than never, right? Plus, I have a great excuse, I spent the last 5 days in paradise with my one and only main squeeze 🙂 Nothing like a trip to a tropical island in the middle of February to bring up those old demons of self loathing in a bathing suit! That being said, I figure it’s a perfect time to write about self love and how having it can help you return to your natural healthy shape. Sometimes we teach what we need to learn!

The theme of self love and compassion keeps popping up every where I turn and when I notice a theme popping up over and over again in my life, it usually means the Universe is trying to tell me something.

The first thing that happened was that I decided that books were beginning to take over my house.  As I started pulling books off of shelves I realized that every book was a big fat SHOULD, silently screaming at me. I should be the best parent on the block, I should have the perfect beach body in 10 days, I should organize my house, I should be using Twitter to build my business, I should read every book that the staff at Barnes and Noble recommends – you get the idea. Don’t get me wrong, I do read a lot, but these were books that I hadn’t read, books that I didn’t even particularly want to read. These were books that I thought I should read. Big difference. With close to 100 books purged from shelves, boxed up and dropped off to be donated to my local library, I took an exhausted sigh of relief and felt like I lost 5 pounds.

While I was doing all that book purging, I did come across a gem that I had started to read awhile ago and never finished. “The Courage to be Yourself” by Sue Patton Thoele. She confirms that only when you become aware of your inner feelings and acknowledge them by telling others and then finally accepting them can you begin to make progress towards change. I may not like my extra weight, but I have to accept it. If I put all my energy in to resisting my current size and ultimately feeling like a failure, then I don’t have energy left over to actually do something about it.

Last month I attended a webinar titled, “The Compassionate Practitioner”.  The topic was having compassion for ourselves so that we may have more compassion for our patients. She spoke about pushing versus pulling and gave the analogy of pushing on a desk and using all of your energy to move the desk. For me and for many others, the desk represents our extra weight. I realized that I had been pushing so hard on the “desk” I didn’t have much energy left over to be nice to myself or to even go to the gym. Hmmm, she might be on to something – energy can only move in one direction so if you are pushing then you are incapable of reaching down to pull yourself up. Maybe I should will choose to focus less on my extra weight and how much I hate that post c-section x 3 bulge, and myself for having it and more on giving myself some love. I could spend five minutes researching a healthy recipe, reminding myself of everything I have to be grateful for (like those amazing 3 kiddos), or meditating instead of spending five minutes beating myself up.

I watched the powerful film, Embrace, earlier in the Fall. It was one of the most thought provoking films I have ever watched and I wish that every woman over the age of 13 would watch it. It’s a film that takes Taryn Brumfitt, (you may remember her from her famous before and after photos that went viral) around the globe as she explores women’s universal feelings of self-loathing. What many of us common folk never realize is that the super models and Miss Universes of the world hate their bodies too. That’s right, folks! Having a body that many women would literally die for is not a shield to self loathing. If these women hate their bodies too than… what the heck?

What I gained from the film is the recognition that if we remain laser focused on the size and shape of our bodies than we don’t have room for larger issues in our lives and the world around us. We stay small when we focus on our body rather than our health or wellness. What could you be if you didn’t spend time thinking about your body, hating your body or attempting to force your body into a smaller size? What could you accomplish? You would be a superstar! I have no doubt in my mind!

So, on this Wednesday, the day after Valentine’s Day what are the “shoulds” in your life? Spend some time this week and begin to hear when that dreadful word, “should”, pops up in your thoughts. When you hear it, whose voice is saying it? Society? Your mother? Your spouse? If your body is currently a bigger size than you would like, spend some time thinking about what your body may be trying to tell you – no judgement, just noticing. Better yet, spend the time writing yourself a fan letter reminding yourself what a total badass you are and all the things you have to be grateful for. Then if you feel you must and you are goal driven, write some new goals that list health, wellness, pleasure and self compassion as priorities. Talk about a transformation!

If you are comfortable sharing, please share your thoughts! 

Spread the word. Share this post!

Hi! I'm Heather: a body positivity, Health at Every Size dietitian. When I'm not blogging about wellness, I'm spending time with my fabulous family. Sometimes, they wear me out, so then it's time to bake, read, knit, tie myself into a yoga pose, or continue to work my first novel... stay tuned.