Like many of you, I’ve fallen uncontrollably in love with life’s array of tasty, heavenly flavors.
I’ve thanked sugar for being so awesome many times in my young life; I’ve burped with much pleasure, thanks to ice-cold soda. And of course, butter could easily have been my wonderland.
Facing all of the skinny, immaculate women I’ve come across so many times in person and on magazine covers, promises have been made between me and my flab. Promises like: “In a month, I am going to lose you, dear muffin top,” or: “You will be firm and lean, thighs like jelly!”
Back then, the goal was to lose fat and go get lean and sexy. (I even kept a picture of Olivia Munn’s Maxim cover because my specific goal was to achieve her body.)
AbRocket? I’ve sat there. Running? I did that twice, didn’t do it again.
Days, weeks, months went by; the photo of Olivia Munn remained in my room, and I did nothing and achieved nothing in improving how my body looked.
Then, in the middle of my young life’s great deluge of finding out what I really, really want to do, it dawned on me: whatever type of body I have now, in this very moment, carries the best kind of tools I can ever have.
It became so clear to me that I am never getting any younger—that I don’t have all the time in the world. How finite my life in this world is! How numbered are the days when I can muster the energy to walk miles and run miles! How many opportunities I waste by not taking care of my body, given that this is now, I am here, and this is all.
There has been a big shift in my thinking ever since. My goal is no longer to lose fat and get Olivia Munn’s glorious body. My goal now is to be the healthiest that I can be. It is no longer a matter of having a flat tummy and fatless bones—everything has changed into a matter of honoring this wonderful blessing of a body that enables me to create wonderful things, go to amazing places and experience all the awesomeness of life.
I have always known that I am far from being overweight. How silly was it to think about losing fat at five foot four and 110 pounds? Yet I am not healthy; my endurance is non-existent, and my cardiovascular strength is undoubtedly in a dismal state.
Though I don’t intend to tell anyone to become a running or treadmilling vegetarian or vegan or fruitarian or what-have-you, I do intend to ask people why they must do the things they do to their bodies.
Should you really starve yourself just so you can fit in that dress? Should you really eat that tub of ice cream because you’re sad? Should you really wish your hip bones would protrude from your skin? Is it really all worth it?
The effective and fertile foundation, I learned, for everyone who struggles to get to their ideal shape and ideal weight, is the hunger to live.
This is what got me. Once you let this desire break you open, and you are stripped and bare, you will find yourself seeing your body as not merely a frame to clothe and parade around. It is a home of possibilities, a link to the world and its infinite wonders.
I desire life. I desire to make more out of the days that I live. Beyond the sexy, spanking body that’ll get me a sexy, spanking boyfriend is a vision of a beautiful world and what my healthy body could experience in it and contribute to it.
There is just so much here. The world has thousands of amazing nooks and crannies. There are so many stars to watch and count as they are reflected, aglow, by the sea. There are millions of interesting, good and kind people to meet. There are limitless lovely, inspiring and amazing things to say and make. There are so many days to be grateful for.
All the choices I make when it comes to watching what I eat and what I do, so I can transform my life through my body, are choices I make with a full and hopeful heart. I wish to go on as a healthy, joyful and exploring human being.
I wish to be in the profoundest sense possible. Thus, I sit here, conscious of extending my spine and of throwing back my shoulders, thankful for the slices of cucumber that await me.
Today, I hope that you breathe it all in, look around and see: this is now, you are here, and this is all.
Thank your body and all the things it can do for you.
Micah Lima is a marketing professional and a freelance writer from Manila, Philippines. She will be launching an online platform called “Tapikan” which will feature change-makers, socially conscious projects and efforts on environmentalism and sustainability. You can get updates on the project and read more of her ramblings on her personal blog: http://tataisms.tumblr.com.
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Assistant Ed.: Jayleigh Lewis