Compassion For Your Body

fun house mirror

We all have bad body days when the reflection we see in the mirror is distorted from reality

The reflection in the mirror looked good. I pivoted, stuck out a hip, and smiled. “Dang, woman, you’re doing alright,” I thought. My work was starting to pay off; some curves were less curvy and some definition was coming through. I was pleased.

But how easy could it have been to go the other way? The negative tape we all have in our heads of all our perceived faults. Things no one would ever notice that we can turn into a major event. A bad hair day has nothing on an “I feel so fat” day.

Compassion For Our Bodies

If you’re reading this, I know you’re trying to live a more healthful lifestyle. We get on the wagon, we do well for a while, we falter, we recommit and try again. It’s an ongoing cycle and it’s all around us too. Friends lose a dress size or two and then inch back up … it’s always there.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could rip that wiring out of our brains for good?

Some say it can be done, that you can do a lot of hard work to “find yourself” and “accept yourself as you are.” I’ve read a lot about it and I love the concept, but I’m not sure my hard-wired, over-educated, type-A personality brain could ever do that. I almost rely on that negative voice sometimes. I know it will eventually kick me in the rump hard enough to get me back on the wagon. What if it wasn’t there and I just turned into a potato chip-munching couch potato headed for a heart attack?

Or what if … what if … the positive reinforced the positive? What if I felt better about myself and I kept eating those veggies and only occasionally tasted a dessert? What if my run left me feeling so amazing that I couldn’t wait to get out there and run again … with no “million reasons” why I have better things to do than run? Wouldn’t that be pretty darned cool?

The Mini-List for Body Compassion

Blog posts are always great for lists. Here’s a list of five things to do that will make you feel better about your body:

All of these contribute to positive self-esteem and will improve how you feel about your body. But that’s just scratching the surface. Our relationship with our bodies is so personal. Those negative messages in our head were put there by the circumstances of our lives. A myriad of moments create our history: a negative parent, a bad moment with a boyfriend, family dinners where your plate better be clean, cooking as a way to share love. You have your own. I guess all I can really say is be kind to yourself.

Here’s what I find myself doing … the negative thoughts will start, almost subconscious. I barely realize they’re there. Then I notice them and have to shake it off. I’ve started taking the negative to the extreme so it becomes silly. A laugh always seems to shut out the stinkin’ thinkin’. Here’s what I mean:

Lisa, seriously, your butt. What are you doing? Nothing but veggies for you today.

This turns into … Yep, the biggest butt around. Bigger than JLo’s butt, waaaay bigger.  Bigger than a Kardashian. Bigger than Momma’s butt on “The Carol Burnett Show,” bigger than the whole state of New Jersey … That butt’s so big you should be making money off of it on a reality show or something … At this point I start giggling and remind myself I’m doing all the right things and let it go.

How about you? What do you do when you’re having a bad body day? I think it happens to the best of us. I’d love to hear your stories.

Cheers,

Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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4 Responses to Compassion For Your Body

  1. Tammy August 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    For the last year and a half I have been nursing a knee injury that has made me give up competitive ballroom dance and makes it difficult to do any form of exercise other than walking. Not having the constant threat of having to wear a tiny Latin gown and no real cardio outlet means I’m larger than I have been in years.

    My worst body days are when I try on older pieces of clothes only to discover lumps and bumps and zippers that won’t close. It’s not like I have the budget to go by all new. Normally what I do on those days is go on a really long walk, preferably one with hills. I always amaze myself with what my body can do. It makes it easier to take.

    It also helps that my mental image of myself is of me with a dancer’s body. If my reality isn’t jiving with my mental picture, many a time I can convince my brain not to believe my lying eyes. Denial can be a great thing!

  2. Lisa Johnson August 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Tammy I prefer to think of it not as denial but positive imagery :-) Thanks for sharing your story here, some really great thoughts and I hope you get to go dancing soon. I’ve always wanted to do ballroom dancing and latin dancing and wear those awesome outfits!

  3. Oceanside Pediatric Dentist August 20, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Thank you Tammy for this great post. Yes, self compassion is indeed important in order to stay healthy. what are your exercise tips to lose weight easily without losing motivation and consistency?

  4. Lisa Johnson August 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Hi Oceanside, I think you need to focus first and foremost on your diet, then look at what type of movement appeals to you, from yoga to HIIT Training there are a million ways to move your body ~ LJ

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