I'm sitting at my desk in my jammies with pale pink & black plaid bottoms and a soft pink top. I love soft fabric against my skin. This color of pink makes me feel very feminine and soft, too. That's how I'm feeling these days - soft and feminine - receptive. I am very sensual - aware and feeling at a sensory level and how that colors my perspective. Part of my gift to me is loving myself in ways that are very different from "rewarding" myself. My sensual nature encourages the expressions of this self love in many forms.
I abused my body for most of my life - taking it for granted, ignoring its pleas to stop what I was doing - to be kind and gentle to this physical gift that houses my emotions, intellect, and spirit. I worshiped the intellect, sometimes nurtured the spiritual and beat the h-- out of my poor body - often referring to my body as "the body" as if it were somehow separate from me. I hated my body - it wasn't perfect!
For as long as I can remember, I've compared my body to the "perfection" pounded into my head by a multitude of messages. I succumbed to the standards interpreted by the media, my family, my friends, and most of all, my inner perfectionist. I tried many ways to learn to love my body and accept myself on a deeper level than simply being defined by my body. It all felt like a lie. As I looked in the mirror and smiled and said, "I love my body!", inside I was screaming "That's a lie! I hate my body!" I punished myself by eating more and heaping on the abusive habits and the pounds.
I was miserable and turned to my relief valve: magical thinking. Yes, I got into my head where I felt strong and reasoned my way into the kind of thinking that kept me in the misery loop at full speed. I thought up plans to "fix" me. I read about others who had overcome their hatred of their bodies by going on the latest diet. I was working harder to AVOID taking action than the action itself would have taken. Why? Because I wasn't ready to do what it takes to get what I wanted. I was looking for a silver bullet, the painless pill, the magic way to lose weight without having to do anything. I wanted a cure that didn't include the only thing that works: eating less and moving more.
Looking back on my journey, it's clear to me that I wasn't ready until I was ready. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, it's simply profound. Two years ago, I was ready. I didn't know I was ready, but I was led to a program that has offered what works for me: structure, accountability, balance, healthy foods, avoiding trigger foods like flour and sugar, and letting the Universe guide me. I didn't want any of these things, but was desperate enough to be open to giving it a try.
So, after losing 60+ pounds, I'm in a healthy, normal size body that I have maintained for about 18 months. Did losing the weight cure my magical thinking? Well, it did end my fantasies of losing weight and eating healthy - that's real now. Did it free me from my obsession with my body? Kind of. I'm much more accepting now, but realize that deep down inside, I imagined that when (if!) I ever reached this weight, somehow a much slimmer 20 year old would be reflected in my mirror! If that's not magical thinking, I don't know what is. What a shock to see my fat, imperfect body become the thinner, imperfect body of a woman in her early 60's! Who is this stranger? I was completely dismayed to watch my body shrink like a deflated balloon leaving behind sags and wrinkles that had never been part of my vision of me in a thinner body! (OK, I know I've used several !!! in a row, but this is powerful stuff for me!!)
Anyway, now I love myself, including a special kind of love for my body. I love feeling healthy, more maneuverable, more flexible. I like that I take up less space. I like buying cute clothes in single digit sizes. I like being able to find stylish smaller clothes at a thrift shop for a couple of bucks. I like that my clothes fit on hangers instead of falling off one side because of how large they are. I like the admiring looks I get, (not from young men as in my 20 year old vision), but from older men, close to my age. I like feeling good about me - and as far as I'm concerned, I've almost completely let go of the perfectionism about my body. I'm more accepting and willing to do things that show my appreciation for this very important part of me. I take sensual pleasure in moving through my life aware on all three levels: body/mind/spirit. I now understand that our bodies are genuine gifts - they're the package that holds the other two gifts: mind and spirit. I like my package gift wrapped and beautiful in honor of what it contains.