I used to have a very negative relationship with my body. My entire world centered around what I looked like, how much I weighed, how much I had eaten. I was always weighing myself, measuring my food, obsessively calculating how many calories I’d consumed over and over again. Despite my fixation with food and body, I was neither healthy nor happy.  I was deep in a war with my body, failing to see this was a war that I could inherently never win.

You cannot win a war with your body because your body is part of who you are. It is the vehicle that allows you to live your life- get to work, eat, sleep, connect with the people you love. Your body is home to your spirit, your soul. Your body is a physical manifestation of an energy, a life-force much greater than anything.

For a long time I put a lot of energy into escaping my body. I was simultaneously concerned with every flaw and concerned my body was my only value. I had so much pressure and expectation directed towards my body that inevitably I would end up running from all of it by drinking until I didn’t care anymore about calories and scales and thigh gaps.  This cycle continued for a long time until I became friends with a someone who was dealing with eating disorder and substance abuse issues much worse than my own.

When I saw what was happening with her and became involved in the situation as her friend trying to help, I had an out of self experience.  It hurt me so much to see her in this place. I knew I couldn’t control what she did, but I could control how I treated myself. So I relearned how to think about my food and my body. I turned my focus to the nutrition of my food and the physiological benefits of exercise. I filled my mind with positive voices and healthy perspectives on body image. I read and educated myself and practiced the new ideas I was learning about. And now I am healthier and happier than I ever was when I was obsessed with everything that touched my lips.

The point of this whole story is that health, weight loss, your “dream body” all of this, all of it starts and ends in the mind. There is no point to having a great body if you don’t appreciate and love it. If you are convinced you are too fat or too skinny or ugly or unworthy and constantly tell yourself this, then this is how you will feel - no matter what you actually look like.

Even more, negative thoughts carry negative energy which seeps into the body. Stress & unhappiness cause hormones to be released that make it harder to lose weight, cause acne etc.  Feeling bad about yourself makes you less likely to make positive choices. More and more studies come out about the harmful health effects of stress and anxiety. It seems like an internal defense mechanism to me- you just can’t hate yourself into the person you want to be. It’s a difficult to learn how to stay positive, but it is by far the most important thing you can do for your health. The connections between the mind and body are infinite and it’s up to us to use them to our advantage, not our destruction.

The positive of this connection is that you can create a body you love just by changing your attitude to one of gratitude. It can be hard to do this because we are given many messages about how we are supposed to look. Although society is fucked up, it doesn’t really matter because it is still up to you to take ownership of yourself and your beliefs about yourself- and you are that much more empowered by believing in your whole self in a culture that is often dangerously shallow.  You can let go of body shaming - when these thoughts come up, remind yourself you are enough. Remind yourself you are infinitely expansive, far beyond your physical self. You are not a body, you are free.

The greatest gift of this is that now that I have healed my relationship with my body, I have energy to grow and love and share positivity with others in a way I never could have before. When we accept ourselves as we are, we free up so much space for good things to come into our lives.

I am not a body, I am free.