As we make our way into the second month of 2016 our new year’s resolutions still hang in the air and many of us are desperately trying to hang on to these resolutions.
For far too long I have been setting resolutions around improving my body.
I wanted to lose weight, get in shape and run a marathon. I bet some of these sound familiar, huh?
The problem with these kinds of resolutions is the motivation behind them. I thought I needed to fix my body in order to be happy. In order to feel like I was good enough. But as I’ve learnt, this couldn’t have been further from the truth.
So if you’ve set a resolution to fix your body this year I want you to break it right now. You do not need to fix your body.
Let me repeat that— you do not need to fix your body. Not even at little bit.
It took several years to learn, but I finally understand that my body isn’t something that needs to be improved. Here’s why I stopped trying to fix my body.
1. My body was never broken.
I’ve been underweight, in need of losing five kilos, and at a healthy weight—but no matter what size pants I was wearing I still wanted to change my body. There have been times I’ve worked out every single day, and other times where I skipped out on going to the gym more often than not. But no matter how fit I was or what size I was, my body was not broken. It wasn’t a problem that needed to be solved.
2. Changing my body didn’t give me instant happiness.
I believed that once I fit into my skinny jeans and hit my goal weight I’d be happy. I thought I’d love my body if it could run a marathon—never mind the fact that I’ve always hated running. I have learned however, that the size of my body wasn’t the source of my unhappiness, so changing it certainly wasn’t going to be the solution.
Instead I now find happiness by making sure I get enough sleep, reducing my stress, loving myself and doing the little things that make me feel good. Some days that’s going to yoga and other days that’s curling up and reading a good book. Counting calories and spending hours on the treadmill doesn’t make me feel good, no matter how much it changes my body shape.
3. My body is uniquely beautiful.
Our bodies come in a wide variety of sizes but you wouldn’t think that if you opened a beauty or fitness magazine. As much as I might try, I’ll probably never have six-pack abs or mile high legs. I’ve got curves, cellulite and frizzy hair that hates to be tamed—but that’s okay. In fact, it’s part of what makes me beautiful.
Our differences set us apart and make us beautiful in different ways. How boring would it be if we all looked exactly the same?
4. My body is capable of so many things.
My body is so much more than something to look at. It carries me all day when I hike in the mountains. It may never run a marathon, but it’s walked 100 kilometres in two days. My body lets me dance, and hug and kiss. Right now it’s even growing the miracle of life.
Our bodies are pretty darn amazing and I wish I had appreciated the strength and durability of my body years ago. Rather than trying to fix my body I now try to celebrate it, in all its glory.
5. I can nurture my body without needing to change it.
Looking after my body and trying to fix it are two things that don’t need to go hand in hand. I choose to eat healthy food to nourish my body—not to lose weight. I exercise because it makes me feel good—not because it burns calories.
Sometimes losing weight will make us feel healthier and more energetic, but this isn’t always the case. I think we should nurture our bodies because we all deserve to feel mentally and physically well—not because we need to look a certain way.
6. I’m more than just my body.
For years my self-worth was based on what my body looked like. While my body is an important part of my life, it’s not what makes me who I am. My self-worth is now based on the things I love about myself, not whether I can rid myself of my supposed flaws.
My quirky sense of humor, my heart, my mind, my love of writing and my soul—they are what makes me, me.
My body is a home to all of these things, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s not even close to what defines me as a person. When I’m gone I don’t want people to remember me by my looks, but rather by the joy and love I bought into their lives.
In this exact moment, you are enough.
You are worthy of feeling good.
You deserve to feel joy and you don’t need to change your body in order to experience it.
If I can learn to love my body, I know you can too.
Author: Erin Williams
Volunteer Editor: Lindsay Carricarte / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Image: Flickr/Andrea Parrish-Geyer