I ❤ my body.
Well, not really. But I’m trying to.
About a week ago I went to an amazing seminar called BodyheART at my gym. The seminar was started by a woman named Amber Krzys who spent the first 31 years of her life hating her body and the last 3 years loving it. She wants to teach other women to love their bodies too.
Well, I’m older than Amber and therefore have been hating my body for a lot longer than she hated hers. Her body-loving-soul-searching process took her 9 months. In the seminar that I took she spoke for an hour. You can only learn to love your body so much in an hour. I think I still have a ways to go.
I do admit that once I reached my 40’s I started hating my body less. (Most days.) Of course that’s actually quite ironic because it was around the time I turned 40 that my metabolism, whom I thought I’d had a pretty good relationship with, decided to flip me the middle finger and go on strike. I’m not quite sure what I did to piss her off so much and I sure wish she would go back to working like she used to, but I don’t think that will be happening. I think she’s done. I probably made her too tired by eating too many cheeseburgers washed down with margaritas and expecting her to work overtime.
I hear she gets even more pissed off when I turn 50. (I can hardly wait!)
Yes, when I reached the age of 40 a few years back I took a good long look in the mirror and realized that my thighs poked out of my legs in a perfect imitation of a potato sack stuffed into a too-small sausage casing my entire post-pubescent life. If I had thunder thighs at twenty, they certainly weren’t going suddenly turn into the graceful gams of a freak-of-nature-supermodel beach volleyball player at forty.
I’m not trying to say that I learned to love my body, but I pretty much just shrugged my shoulders and realized that this is the body I’m intended to have. I try to work out 3-4 days a week (more like 1 or 2) and cut back on the cheeseburgers so my metabolism will quit being the enemy.
I even tried taking the words “I’m so fat” out of my vocabulary. Except at night when I get ready for bed and the florescent light in my bathroom hits my arms just right and accentuates every little dimple of fat – then all bets are off.
And yes, my stomach that used to be as flat as a board no many how many French fries I stuffed into it now has a tiny little pooch. Okay, okay, some days that pooch isn’t so tiny. But as I look around, I notice that many of my post-40 friends have tiny little pooches too. I think they are kind of cute. Well, my friend’s pooches are cute. Mine drives me fucking insane. But I just suck it in, pull on a Spanx cami and remind myself that I could have a flat stomach once again if I never ate carbs and worked out 7 days a week. I’ll choose French fries and a little self-loathing over that any day.
But I want to try to be kinder to myself.
During the seminar Amber had us close our eyes and do a couple of visualization exercises. We were sitting on the floor of the aerobics studio of the gym and I was wearing jeans and sitting criss cross and as I closed my eyes all I could think of was how my fat belly pushed against my jeans. Here I was at a seminar trying to learn how to love myself more and the first thing I was doing was hating myself.
The visualization exercises that Amber had us do really moved me and actually filled my eyes with tears.
The second hour of the BodyheART seminar is a photo session where you take two photos. Amber draws a heart on your face and a heart on your favorite part of your body and photographs you.
Ugh! My favorite part of my body?!
I was seriously considering having my feet photographed.
I actually think I have cute feet. (As long as you’re not looking at the kankle ankle part.)
I really didn’t know what part to have photographed and didn’t know what to wear. I was feeling icky and ugly and fat and didn’t want to go.
So of course I had to go. I don’t want to feel like that about myself anymore. I’m too fucking old for that shit. I really am. I really like myself at this age. I want to like my body too.
My favorite part of my body is my waist which, when you compare it to the junk I’ve got going on in my trunk, looks really small.
Okay, I’ll stop and be kind to myself. I do have a small waist, but like I said I’ve got a bit of a belly right now. And some serious muffin top back fat so I didn’t want to be photographed from the back either. And I couldn’t decide on what to wear to have my waist photographed so I chose to have my heart drawn on my left breast and have that photographed.
Oh calm down, I didn’t have to take anything off. My boobs are small – especially for my height, but I actually like the fact that they’re small. I hate wearing a bra and usually end up ripping it off and going braless when I get home. (Unless my son has his friends over – then I cover up – I’m not that mom!)
But my breasts are semi-perky (you know for being so emptied out after nursing two babies for 6 months each) and I have a little mole on the cleavage of my left breast that I think looks sexy when I wear a push-up bra.
photo taken by Autumn Lee
I want to say that I love my pictures, but I have to be honest… I don’t. I think I look older than I am – I don’t like the dark circles under my eyes. But I chose to think it’s the lighting and not my face. I will say that I don’t think my arm looks fat (and I always think my arms look fat) and I think that little bit of cleavage I’m rocking looks pretty good.
And one of the things Amber taught us is that all actresses’ and models’ photographs are retouched. So the fact that I don’t love these photos is okay. I know that if I had this photo retouched it could look something more like this after…
Even Nicolette Sheridan (who is gorgeous) looks better after a retouch!)
So while I did not leave the bodyheART seminar loving my body I do notice that even two weeks later I hate my body less. I’ve even gained two pounds since that day (thank you Easter candy) and haven’t beat myself up about it.
There was such a beautiful energy in the room during the seminar and the photo shoot. Look at these beautiful women I got to spend the day with. (The photo shoot was a blast.)
I know that there is no perfect face. There is no perfect body. I’m trying to teach myself that my body is just perfect for me.
To learn more about the bodyheART campaign and see what REAL women look like un-retouchedclick here.
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This blog was originally posted on skirt.com on April 25, 2011.