- Sara Mann
In the past week alone I have been called out more then once for talking negatively about my body. The truth is, I do talk REALLY bad about my body. I say things ranging from its gross to referring to it as “fat,” or talking about how out of shape I am or how my belly looks or if I have a double chin or how I use to be pretty. Just lots of negative stuff. It’s really not good.
One of the things my therapist (and I’m sure most E.D. recovery therapists) tried to get me to do is appreciate my body. I remember in the beginning of my recovery when I started gaining weight, all I could do was concentrate on my weight and how much I now hated my larger recovering body. My therapist would give me homework to go home and write down ten things that I’m grateful for about my body. I thought this was a joke and treated it as such. I would say things like, “The color of my eyes is nice,” and “I guess I’m grateful I can hear.” I was a real smart-a$$ to say the least. I just couldn’t find anything about my body that I was grateful for. My eating disorder only allowed me to hate it because it wasn’t deathly thin.
Negative body talk is something that just seems to be second nature to me. Throughout my eating disorder and even when I had the “perfect” body, I still talked badly about about my it. Now that it’s the heaviest it’s ever been, the negative body talk has stepped up to a whole new level.
This topic (negative body talk) has also been on my mind since the Victoria Secret Fashion show just happened. Just to be clear, there wasn’t a chance in hell that this recovering gal was going to watch that show, BUT, I know a lot of people did because the minute I got on my social media the next day it was clear by the posts full of insecurity, outrage, comparison, praise etc that once again I was reminded of the pressures to be thin and to hate our bodies unless our butt cheeks are firm enough to walk down a runway in a thong. Weeeelllll, since my butt is far from thong runway walking ready, I figured I might need to take seriously what my therapist suggested many moons ago and actually remember the amazing things that my body does and all of the things I’m grateful for about it.
I also got a kick in the pants and a major perspective change when I listened to a few episodes of one of my favorite podcasts, “Terrible, Thanks For Asking,” while I was painting. The three episodes I listened to were about a woman who had all of her skin burned off in a fire, another who could not speak without a severe stutter which lead her to try and end her own life and another who had such a traumatic experience that I don’t even want to mention it here. It got me thinking, “Sara, are you SERIOUSLY whining about being a little fat?” Really?
It also reminded me that dang, three years ago I almost DIED from anorexia. Literally. I could have dropped dead at any moment because of my heart and the severity of my starvation and exercise, yet here I am whining about being thicker. Shame on me! Maybe it’s high time I start being a little more grateful for the body I have and the things it can do!
So, a few years late, but with a lot more sincerity, I’ve decided to complete my therapists assignment and share a list of a few things that I’m grateful for when it comes to this body.
This body helped renovate a kitchen and put up the entire backsplash. BOOM. It looks amazing too!
This body stripped two layers of wallpaper, cleaned, primed, got on ladders and on my hand and knees to paint and redo a foyer and a huge living room. OH YA!!
This body went on a missions trip to Guatemala, swollen and in pain to serve my church, God and others.
In this body I’ve led multiple bible studies with young teenage girls, helping them to know their worth!
This body hiked up mountains to see amazing views with my husband and sweet dog Millie!
I’ve made delicious meals and pies for family and friends with this body.
I’ve taken long walks.
I can see the beauty of the snow outside when the sun shines on it.
I can play with my dog with this body!
My hands can cross-stitch beautiful Christmas stockings for my family members.
I can give people warm hugs and kisses with this body!
This body put on a week of fun for my nieces and nephews.
This body got in the water this summer and swam with family and friends while enjoying a tasty beverage!
This body has marched and raised money for NEDA.
I can speak truth into people lives with this body and praise God in this body.
This body can run, even at a freaking glacial pace.
This body is so smart it gets me everywhere I need to go.
I can sing and dance around in my living room in this body.
I can take beautiful photos for families in this body.
I can read awesome books and watch fabulous netflix shows in this body.
This body, thankfully, can still enjoy a nice glass of wine!
I can still have style and be feminine in this body.
This body can play piano and church, bsf or anywhere there are some ivories.
I can hang out with my sisters and go to fun concerts in this body.
This body can stand think well and stand up for what’s right.
Heck, this body can go sled riding, ice skating or whatever the heck else it feels like doing this month.
The truth is, my body right now, is freaking amazing. It might not be what Victoria Secret wants to see strutting down its runway, but last time I checked, that list above is a heck of a lot cooler to me and checks off a lot more of my values then looking hot in a thong. Reminding myself of all the awesome things my body does and CAN do, really helped me to step back and realize I need to be kinder to my body and how I speak about it. It is SO much more then a little fat. It’s alive, and doing really cool things.
This week I’m going to continue to concentrate on all the amazing things that my body is allowing me to do and try to concentrate a little less on the size of it as it’s doing them. I encourage you to take a minute and list all the amazing things your body is doing too!
- Sara -