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Moving into a more personal area of this project. "What about your body are you grateful for?"
Frankly, most days, it sucks to live in my body. It hurts, it's tired, half the time, no matter how willing my mind and spirit are, my body just won't get on board with the program. I'm 130 pounds + overweight. I can barely do a plank, and my walking stamina is all of about 30 minutes before I'm stumbling over my own feet on a flat surface.
So today's gratitude practice is a little off-beat - I'm grateful that I can change my body.
Before you get your panties in a wad, this isn't about body shame.
It's about wanting to be healthier.
I didn't give up cheese bread, pizza, and chocolate cake to do the Keto diet to look sexier, or because I want to wear size 12 jeans again.
I didn't push myself out into the rain to start walking again, to try to be supermodel thin.
In fact, Hubby frequently reminds me that I don't need to lose weight to impress him or make myself more attractive to him. I've been blessed with a husband who sees who I am on the inside, supports most of my efforts, and finds me sexy, even when I was almost 300 pounds.
That's my reality check. Why am I doing this?
Yes, once in a while, I revert back to the old programming, "I'm fat and ugly." Truth is, though, I'm learning to look at myself through the eyes of those near and dear to me. I still struggle with feeling insecure, but more mornings than not now, I slide into my leggings, sports bra, and a tank top and do at least two of the following three things:
1. I meditate.
Currently, I'm burning my way through Aaptiv's 30 Day Meditation Challenge in the mornings. I've also fallen in love with the Stop, Breath, Think app for a quick bedtime meditation to slow down my thoughts and let my body know it's time to rest. Oddly, the same practice that wakes my mind and body up, is the same practice that tells it that it's time to rest.
2. I go for a walk.
I time myself a little differently and am gradually working up to a full hour of walking. I started with 10 minutes out, and however long it took to walk back. The dunes that I have to cross to get to the ocean are a serious challenge on the way back and if you follow me on Instagram, I post photos from my morning walks on the beach as often as I think about it.
3. I hit my yoga mat for some body work.
Some days, it's just a gentle stretch session. Other days, when my body isn't already screaming at me, I do something more active, adding cardio or sun salutations to my practice. I still can't hold a Down Dog like I used to, but one of two things will happen because I can change my body and I accept myself as I am. I'll either get stronger and eventually be able to hold that Down Dog for a full three breaths, followed by a plank or I'll accept that my body just won't anymore, and I'll do my best whenever this pose comes up in practice.
Just to be super clear on this post - I'm not out to be a female Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'm not making this effort to please anyone. And I'm not doing this because I'm ashamed of my body.
My body has seen me through three pregnancies, decades of abuse (both external and self-inflicted), and several chronic illnesses. It works better some days than others, and some days, it feels like every cell and nerve ending in my body is rebelling against my wishes.
I'm grateful that I can change my body. By making small, limits-respecting changes, I have some control over the number of bad days I face.
Your turn! Drop into the comments below and share what it is about your body that you're grateful for.
**Thanks to Billie from the Unsplash community for the use of today's image.**