Your body is an amazing treasure. You deserve to live a life that allows you to take amazing care of it.
Photo by Elina Khachaturyan.
I used to push my body pretty hard. I've been an athlete my whole life, so from early childhood onward I developed a relationship with my body that was based on pushing it to new limits. I was always trying to change it in some way and get it to do things that supported my athletic achievements.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to excel as an athlete. But for me, the major component that was missing during those years was foundational love for my body, a commitment to self care practices that allowed me to care for my body as well as train hard to achieve my athletic goals.
I didn't prioritize taking care of my body in other ways, or listening to what my body was trying to tell me. I wanted to prove I was an elite athlete, so even when I exhibited signs of fatigue or injury I trained myself to keep going. This habit became magnified once I joined the military. It was considered a sign of weakness to take a rest day, or to seek treatment for injuries and illnesses, or even to want to get a full night's sleep.
Since having two major back surgeries in my early twenties, I've had to reframe my relationship with my body. For me, moving my body is no longer about pushing hard and trying to force my body to change. Instead, I think of exercise as a way that I show my body love. I couple regular movement with self care through things like lots of sleep, plenty of water, massages, bubble baths, leisurely walks, and other things that allow me to take excellent care of my body. And when I'm feeling run down, or sick, or like I might be injured, I take time off to recover and seek the necessary treatment.
This ensures that I'm feeling happy, healthy, and able to maintain a commitment to regular movement for the rest of my life. Treating your body to great self care isn't something you do instead of moving your body, or a sign of weakness. It's something that enables you to achieve your athletic goals while also maintaining a healthy, balanced approach to moving your body for the long run!
Today, take a moment to appreciate the body that you have. And instead of approaching exercise as self mutilation, view it as a form of self care that you practice by showing your body love through movement, along with all of the other ways that you treat your body to some TLC.
Because after all, your body is your most valued possession. It's the only thing you carry with you for your entire lifetime, so make sure you're treating it like the treasure that it is!
Get out there and treat yourself.
Check out the #healthyatanysize community to find support and connect with other women who are working on this, too!