Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Taking My Body Back

This past weekend, I attended Endangered Species, an international summit on body image organized by the Women's Therapy Centre Institute. There were panels and presentations on airbrushing in ads & magazines, men and body image, the medicalization of the body, and more. On the whole, it was not only informative, but also empowering. And it came at a really great time for me.

When I started working out and eating better months back, I did it to feel better and be just a bit healthier. I didn't give up the things I enjoy eating (I've had ice cream for dinner more than a couple of times in the last 6 months...), and I never went on a diet or got hung up on calorie-counting. I didn't restrict myself, I merely paid more attention and made better decisions using the "everything in moderation" credo. Between that and hot yoga, running, and ballet, I was feeling great, but I also lost about 15 pounds. That's where the trouble started...

Everyone noticed the changed and told me I looked great. Most people asked me what my secret was and how much more weight I was going to lose. With everyone buzzing around me, putting my body and weight front and center, I started to care much more than I have in years. You see, I had finally gotten comfortable not caring about how thin or fit my body looked but rather how good my body felt. Suddenly, here I was again preoccupied with the extra 5 pounds I gained in the last couple of months and not liking what I saw in the mirror.

Which is why I'm so happy I went to this event. It served as a reminder of why I changed my habits in the first place: to feel better. I do miss going to hot yoga and running to de-stress, but I'm going to start doing it again because it makes me feel great and not because I gained some weight back (which only I noticed). From now on, if somebody starts talking about my body, I will take it as an opportunity to reaffirm that we're all beautiful and should be much more concerned about how we feel about ourselves than how we look.

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