THE FIRST STEP TO A HAPPY LIFE IS TO RESPECT YOUR BODY.
We all have our own personal reasons, logical or not, why we want to lose weight. I’m sure everyone wishes they could alter their body in some way or another. As for me, I dream of a healthier body, just like all of you who are reading this article. Step by step, why don’t we examine the path that led us to wanting a healthier version of ourselves?
The first step: it all starts at home. We start thinking we have the metabolism of a horse and start devouring meal after meal. We sneak in those little snacks every now and then, not thinking of the adverse benefits. You may think that climbing one flight of stairs cancels out that chocolate bar. You may go on a jogging fit once in a while, but you reward yourself with a can of soda and pizza soon after, thinking that you earned it. You go through a family crisis, or a breakup, or an illness and you suddenly think it’s your God-given right to rifle through the refrigerator and devour everything in sight. When the going gets tough, you do what you do best: eat.
You know that moment when you get out of the shower and you stand in front of the mirror and take off your towel? That moment where you just stare at every love handle, every stretch mark, and every flab on your body? It’s not pretty. The thoughts can get pretty dark and depressing. You inhale a couple of times trying to pull your abdomen in and see yourself from a thinner perspective and then you exhale, disappointed that your gut hasn’t evaporated yet. Or maybe you notice that there’s a very noticeable jiggle in your arms when you reach up to put on deodorant. And then you might notice your thighs, and the way they jiggle too.
You start to put on underwear and thank the powers that your thighs still fit through those holes. You wrestle with a pair of jeans that, you swear on every relative’s grave, had just fit you perfectly last week. You pull and twist and squeeze through those jeans until you can button them up. Then you choose the loosest shirt you have in a shade as dark as possible.
You start cooking your breakfast and, thinking that it is after all the most important meal of the day, you prepare something heavy. So you fry some eggs. And, of course, that’s not enough, so you fry some bacon too. Then whip up a batch of instant pancakes swimming in butter and corn syrup. You make yourself a cup of coffee loaded with cream and sugar. Starting to see the picture?
But the real awakening should come from the events that happen when you start your day. When you walk up a short incline, like a low hill or a flight of stairs, and your heart starts pounding, your legs are heavy, and your breath comes rapidly. You spend most of your time at work sitting in front of the computer or the television, snacking your way through most of the day. When you come home from work, you eat your dinner and go straight to bed making the promise to do better tomorrow.
You get invited to a wedding or a party and you try every crash diet possible just to get ready for the day. You squeeze through corsets and slimming body stockings just to fit in a dress, all the while fighting every urge to just wear your sweat pants. And when you get there, you stand in a corner judging everyone and anyone who seemed to have slipped in a body-hugging number without the need to be greased down. You drive down the highway and you get bombarded with these images of scantily-clad beautiful women with glowing skin and firm bodies. You start wishing you could have more money so that you can afford to be thin.
I went through those moments just like most of you did. What I once thought was innocent and harmless was actually weighing me down, no pun intended. I eat because I’m hungry. I eat because I’m upset. I eat because it’s the only part of my life I have control over. I eat because it makes me happy. Never mind what I eat. I just eat. And I eat over and over again. It was not a pretty sight when I finally realized what excess food, laziness, procrastination, and excuses were doing to my lifestyle. How food was like a drug, granting me momentary happiness then making me hate myself after.
Some remnants of that past life still remain to this day. I still tend to my overly large shirts thinking that is the only size that will fit me. I get so self-conscious on the beach that I tend to cover up everything. I still get intrigued with slimming capsules and fat burning potions and detox diets that make you lose 10 pounds in 3 days. But the day when I learned to respect my body was the day I started loving myself, for all its imperfections and perfections, its capabilities and limitations, and especially its resilience. I regained control over my life. And you can too.
Start simple: respect your body. That is the first step you will have to master if you want anything good to follow. Once you learn to respect your body, those fatty and sugary foods will not seem as tempting. Once you learn to respect your body, you will find yourself with the motivation and desire to actually exercise! Once you learn to respect your body you will find that peace, relaxation, and meditation are just around the corner! To those who are unpleased with their body: I’ve been in your shoes. It’s time to slow down, take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and most importantly, respect your body. I found dramatic results in both my physical and mental state, and I know you will too.
Thank you Kelli for an inspiring article. Personally, I do not believe in diets, but I do believe in changing lifestyle and eating habits. I also believe in eating in moderation and moving and stretching my body.
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