In my youth I was a lean, mean fighting machine.
I was a sport’s nut. Softball. Basketball. Track. Even football. In fact, a High School football coach once told Mama if I were a boy, I’d be a star running back. (Alas, at that time, girls were only cheerleaders or majorettes. Too boring for me.) I was in the best shape of my life when I was a Girl Scout camp counselor. All that climbing hills, walking, swimming, and canoeing plus the sun’s rays sculptured me into a tanned, buff goddess. Ionic, at that time in my life, I was not aware of my lean, hard shape. I could less. I took my great health and frame for granted.
Today, however, my slim, muscled physique is kinda . . . well, squishy. I look in the mirror, and hate what I see. I tell myself, “Ruth, you’re so fat. Look at those legs, short, fat stumps. You’re disgusting.” I tried dieting. Didn’t work. I just gave up. Then, my brother went into the hospital with pneumonia. Two weeks later, with one of his lungs drained, three new heart stints, and 32 pounds lighter, he got to go home. I visited him every night in the hospital. One evening, after a particularly disturbing visit, I had an epiphany:
God designed and created the human body for one very important reason: to protect the soul.
Right then and there I made the decision to stop tearing my body to pieces and to start showing it love. How? Well, for one, I got up from the couch and started to move. I joined a gym and swim and workout every week. Second, I began to eat better, to cut back on sugar. More veggies. In moving and eating more healthy I am able to aid my body in its prime directive— to keep my soul safe.
Third, at night right before falling into sleep, I pat my heart and tell it how grateful I am that it pumps life into my lungs and organs so that my soul can continue grow and glow. I tell my lungs how grateful I am that they are able to take deep, cleaning gulps of air. True, my legs may be short but they carry me everywhere I want to go. I thank them for that.
Fourth, when I look in the mirror, I tell myself how grateful I am for my perfectly engineered body.
As a writer I know the importance of “showing, not telling.” By doing these little things, I am showing by body how much I love it. In return, it will continue to love me back.
So, instead of bitching and moaning about what your body cannot do, turn that thinking towards the light: tell your body how thankful you are for what it can do. Maybe your legs don’t move as well as they once did, but they still move! They’re doing the best they can. Appreciate their effort. Perhaps you can’t run a marathon, but at least you can walk. Show gratitude for that. Instead of losing weight to look good, get rid of those extra pounds to help your body not work so hard.
Body and soul work hand-in-hand.
Love yourself for that very reason.