I wrote my 2 week intermittent fasting report card a couple of days ago, because I want to keep a record of progress reports that involve facts and figures. But it wasn’t the blog I really wanted to write.
Every time I find myself naked in front of the bathroom mirror as I prepare for a shower or dry myself afterwards, I can’t help but cast my eyes over my body and appraise every visible inch. It happens automatically and it happens at breakneck speed. In a second I have sized myself up. It’s not all negative, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbow unicorn poop, “my body is a temple” kind of talk either. The voice in my head goes something like this:
“Ooh, is that a little more definition around my shoulders? Hmm, still chunky in the arms. I do like my skin colour… god my hair is so dry! Really thick though…”
It goes on.
It pains me.
A huge reason I resisted facing the issue of my slow steady weight gain has been the fear of falling into a pit of obsession and fixation on my body image and what I eat. I have been there before, I have grown up exposed to it, I reject it wholeheartedly and don’t want it in my life. Prioritising my health though, requires me to make changes to my regular diet and lifestyle. And this inevitably results in heightened awareness of all these things I don’t want to think about.
So I’m being very mindful of my thoughts, just observing and paying attention. As my mind went about its usual appraisal the other day, casually criticising parts of my body, I sighed inwardly. Wouldn’t it be nice, I mused, if I could just love and accept myself as I am?
Then I realised something. I do.
I am not my body.
My body is the car my soul’s been given to drive around in this lifetime. It’s no more ‘me’ than my trusty Toyota is…
For instance, I like lots of things about my Toyota. It’s no Porsche, but it’s mine and I appreciate it. There are a few things I’d like to change though. Like the big ding in the back where someone swiped me while I was parked and buggered off. I’d love to fix that one day, make her a little prettier again. But she still goes good and gets the job done. To take the metaphor further, I enjoy her that much more when she’s clean inside and out, sparkling in the sun, running smoothly on a full tank, and recently serviced (get your filthy minds out of the gutter). This is not very different to the way I feel about my body. (Seriously).
My body is just a vessel.
Finally, I am starting to feel some peace knowing that I actually do love and accept myself, my soul, the essence of my being, for who I am. This doesn’t mean I am not terribly hard on myself at times, but I am basically happy with who I am and how I live my life. I try to live from a place of kindness and compassion. I want to spread positivity, empathy and self awareness. That has nothing to do with how my body looks or the car I drive.
So I decided I do not need to go into an existential spin every time I appraise my body. It’s okay. As I lose fat and become happier with my packaging, who I am doesn’t change. Sprucing up the wrapping doesn’t change the gift inside. It doesn’t make me a better person, just as the opposite is also true. I am not a less worthy human being because my car is a little dirty and beaten up at the moment. It just means my mind has been elsewhere for a while and hasn’t been able to make it a priority. And that is more than okay.
That’s the blog I wanted to write. Thank you for joining me.