This is the Body I Have

It’s so easy to engage in body criticism, body shame, and body sadness.  Social scientific research, media reports, and everyday experience suggest that many of us engage in daily mental accusations against our own bodies.  This is  understandable, and as someone with a history of eating disorder, it’s certainly something I can relate to.  But, from a pragmatic perspective or a yogic perspective, such self-negation doesn’t do much that is good for us.  We can use constructive analysis of the body to help us focus our health efforts, but non-constructive negative self-talk only clutters our minds with more vrtti, places our focus on the physical over the emotional or spiritual, emphasizes the division between self and other, etc.  Yet, coming up with some positive things to say about and to the self isn’t always easy.  In this post, I present to you some examples of honest but positive affirmations related to the body that can become a part of the ongoing self-talk we all engage in.  Not every affirmation works for every person, as we all have different bodies, but we can all find positive things to say about the body.

My body is so miraculous.  It’s a cybernetic (self-correcting) system in action!

24 hours a day, I breathe and I don’t even have to think about how to make that happen.  That’s amazing.

I love that I can experience the taste of sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy food on my tongue.  Yay for my tastebuds!

I’m so grateful that I can get from place to place with my own two feet (or one foot or hands – whatever you use for locomotion).

This body I’m in allows me to hug, touch, kiss, hold hands with those that I care for and that’s a fabulous thing.

It’s so wonderful to be able to see, and hear all of the beauty in this world.

I’m so pleased for a digestive system that allows me to enjoy food that sustains me.  My gut rocks!

My eyes (lips, toes, knees) are so pretty.

Oranges, violets, and vanilla (or chocolate, roses, and beer?) smell so fabulous to me.  I love having a nose.

It feels amazing to run my toes or fingers through sand and water. I’m so happy for fingers and toes!

When I stretch, I feel like I’m opening myself up to the world.  That is so nice!

My skin is such a pretty shade.

I’m grateful for this body that allows me to interact online with others who love the things I do.

My body is one hundred percent unique!

Some of this may be a little too corny for you, but it’s really no more corny than the time we spend thinking “My butt is too big,” “I can’t do a backbend like Jill,”  “I wish I could run a marathon,”  “Why isn’t my hair curly?”  Why do we say things like this to ourselves when we would never ever think they are ok to say to someone else?  Treat yourself as lovingly as you would a child in your care.  What would you be willing to say to him/her about his/her body?

Tell yourself 3 good things about your body right now.  Do it again tomorrow and the day after.  Eventually, maybe you’ll believe it even if you don’t right now.  Eventually, maybe it will crowd out some of the negative self talk.



Would You Please Stop Interrupting?

A month or so ago, I had a bout of IBS.  After a few days of trying to just tough it out, eating the usual fruits and veggies – even though I wanted crackers and bananas more, I did some research about what I should be eating to calm the system down.  Interestingly, I found that the items I had felt like eating (crackers, bread, bananas, applesauce) were exactly what I needed to eat to get my system back on track.  Having been authorized by Google, I accepted that diet for a few weeks and now feel much better.

Last week, my body seemed to need a rest day from yoga, and I was not happy about it.  But, after arguing with myself, I took it.  And the next day my yoga practice went really well – I felt strong and good and the back pain I was having started to dissapate.

Toward the end of last week, a friend was worrying with me about why she wanted to eat so much (and mostly carbs) during the week before menstruation.  We did a little research and concluded that, between the drop in estrogen and the drop in serotonin that  seems to occur at that time, it makes utter sense to consume more complex carbs.

Then, yesterday (Sunday), I found myself totally exhausted at 10 a.m.  I was so tired my eyes were burning and I had to go lay down for an hour.  As usual, I was scolding myself about it, when it occurred to me that a similar thing had happened the previous Sunday, but I blamed it on going out Saturday night.  And, when I thought about it, the Sunday before had been the same way, and so on.  After pondering for a while, it finally struck me that I have been taking my weekly large dose of methotrexate on Saturday evening.  And what is a major side effect of MTX?  Fatigue.  Ohhh.

So, what’s the moral here?  I think it’s that sometimes, or often, our bodies know what they need and they try to tell us.  We just don’t always listen.  Toddlers get it.  They will sometimes go a day or three eating next to nothing.  And then suddenly eat 6 bananas in an afternoon.  And maybe the next day they only want green beans and chicken.  It drives parents insane.  We think our little dears are going to starve, but they don’t.  If we make healthy food available and let them make selections, they do pretty well.  They haven’t learned how to shut down that body voice yet.

Maybe we should take a page from the book of toddlers.  Eat when we are hungry (though we may have to think about what we are hungry for, because as adults we have hunger all mixed up with other things), nap when we are tired, smile when we are happy, cry when we are sad.  We probably shouldn’t bite anyone, but other than that it sounds not so bad.

What is your body trying to tell you?