Embrace, the movie has been released in lots of cinemas around the country. I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, but it is a subject close to my own heart. Since hitting the road, I have for the first time been much more aware of the real issues behind my body image woes….and I have been hitting them head on.
From the time I was a teen, I have been overweight. We made regular trips to the USA to visit family, and the cheap fast food over there was not my friend. When I was upset, I learnt food could be my friend and my comfort, and I would turn to it, often. I loved nothing more than to grab a bag of chips, some chocolate, and eat in my bed reading a book. It was my treat, I deserved it after a hard week. Right?? I wouldn’t even notice how much I was eating- it was anything but mindful. Food filled a hole, it made me feel happy. But the way I looked brought on shame, burning embarrassing, public shame. Which would drive me deeper into using food as a tool to cope. Often food was all that was on my mind, the next meal, the next fix. It was my drug. Self medication at it’s finest.
This continued on into my 20’s. I seemed to be constantly pregnant or breastfeeding, another excuse to “eat for two” but really it was a chance for me to hang on to my unhealthy habits. I had given up on ever being one of “those” skinny people. I tried every diet under the sun- I remember SlimFast, Body For Life, Dr Phil’s Healthy Eating, Weight Watchers, Low Carb and so many more. Up and down, up and down I would go- but I never got down to where I should be for my height, and I never felt good- in fact I was starving all the time. Binge, starve, repeat.
Finally in my later 20’s I stumbled across Cindi O’Meara and read her book, Changing Habits, Changing Lives. I started swapping out processed foods for whole ones. I did an Elimination diet (a few times) based on a program she had going. This was too extreme for me and actually gave birth to some very bad eating habits and obsessions, but I still did benefit, and got to my lowest ever recorded weight ( I am sure I was lighter when I was born but it was the lightest I remember being). I discovered a low carb healthy fat, and in the last 6 months have started cycling in some carbs with a program called AltShift. I love it, it is effortless and I feel great doing it. It is a lifestyle for me. All up, I now tend to hover around 26-28kg from my heaviest range, but I still find myself thinking thoughts like “I’m too flabby”, “My loose skin is gross”, “I wish I have never gained the weight way back then, it would be easier now….” etc etc.
I am going to attack these thoughts head on. They are ungrateful to God for the body he has given me, and the journey I have been through. I refuse to be thankless to Him for this amazing, functional and energetic body I have been blessed with. I refuse to compare any longer. I will not look at other women and covet their body. Their story, their journey is not mine. I will not define my value in my looks. My body does everything I need it to. It is wonderful. It has nurtured and birthed 4 beautiful children. It gets me around from day to day, it is strong. I use it to serve others. I refuse to let the media (which confronts us constantly) determine my definition of beautiful. I am beautifully and wonderfully made, in the image of the Creator himself. And He “don’t make no junk”. My husband loves me, just the way I am. And I am so much more than this vehicle I carry my soul in.
I have learned the value of health. Holistic, all around, from every angle, complete health. Without this journey, I would not have my business with Essential Oils. I was in no way the “crunchy mama” I am now, 15 years ago. I am in love with natural health, and our family is better for it. I do not take it for granted, because it has not always been this way. But slowly I am seeing my body as a wonderful blessing to help me “do” this life to the fullest, rather than seeing it as an ornament. I will love and accept myself, even at my bigger weight. I will no longer think back and loathe the bigger version of me. I was no less worthy of love and acceptance then, than I am now. I will lose the fear that if I gain any weight, I will be less worthy.
So who is with me? Who is sick and tired of the thoughts that run through their head on a day to day basis? If you spoke to a friend the way you speak to yourself, would you be friends? If that is a big no, then join me in working on being thankful, grateful for this blessing of a body in all of it’s glory. Eating for nutrition and energy instead of size. Being an example to our children of what an amazing body can do. Especially the girls in our life. Giving the boys in our life an example of a real, healthy female body. Doing this life, to the fullest. Using this body to be a blessing to others. Enjoying life giving, energising food. Catching each thought, and replacing it with a better one. No more internal put-downs! You were made for so much more. xx