I've been thinking about this post all week, prompted by a random friend of a friend who posted on Facebook about her and her sister discussing how all women hate their bodies and wondering how to turn it around with their own daughters who, when asked, couldn't come up with a single thing they loved about their bodies. So, this week became the Love Your Body Challenge Week - you know, like when something makes you think and then you can't stop thinking about it? And then it takes on the all capitals version in your head? Yeah, like that.
First, the good news - I asked Big Sister the question and am very happy to report she had a long list of things she liked about her body which included legs and stomach and all the things that most women wouldn't love. I was worried she would, at the tender age of nine, already have a complex about all sorts of things. Especially since just last week she said "I'm fat, Mommy" while patting her lean little - extremely flat - dancer tummy. Yeah, right... NOT! Which prompted a twenty minute discussion about how just because other girls at dance have different bodies and shapes she is definitely NOT fat. I didn't even have to resort to Google to find images of obesity to illustrate my point. Thank god! *shudder* We do watch Biggest Loser after all, maybe that is helping?
But then I started thinking about my own body. And how I don't really love it. And how obsessed I am about changing practically everything about it. And how I've basically been on a diet for the last twenty years. It WAS a challenge to find more than one thing that I like about my body. The first thing was easy: I. LOVE. MY. RACK. Yes, that rack. I have an awesome rack and even after two babies it still kicks ass. But beyond that, what is there really to love? I don't have a flat stomach - yet. I don't have lean and amazing legs - yet. I don't even have great shoulders or upper arms - yet. But all these things I hate are getting better slowly and I have no doubt that at some point (hopefully in the near future) my efforts at the gym will transform everything about my body that I still don't completely love. See, that list was effortless - which is kind of the point.
So, here are all the things that I DO love about my body - which will take you moments to read and which took me an entire week to come up with, which is kind of pathetic but hey, a step in the right direction, right?
1. I have amazingly strong legs. Legs that can run for 10 miles on any given Sunday and (at least once) 13.1 miles of a half-marathon.
2. I have beautiful green eyes.
3. I have awesome and thick naturally curly hair. The fact that my unruly curls are in the love vs. hate column is a miracle in itself. I spent 36 years straightening every day and loathing everything about my hair. Now, I have embraced my curls. I even appreciate how my long dark locks curl on their own with no effort on my part. It literally takes me 5 minutes in the morning now that I have found the right combination of NOT combing after the shower and the proper hair products. It's also a perk that my hair is thick and "big" enough with the curls that I can run 5 miles, look like a sweaty pig, take the pony tail out, shake, and go. Voile! All the bigness covers up the inch of sweat at the scalp. Beautiful!
4. I have cute ears that don't stick out.
5. I have great lungs - hey, that's part of my body, right? And without them, I couldn't run so they count.
6. I have a nice nose - which knowing that I'm Italian and could have gotten Dad's shnoz is much more of a perk than you might think.
7. I already mentioned the rack, right? My all natural D's should be at the very top of the list but I don't want to seem like an obsessed porn queen.
8. I have great eye lashes - long and thick and dark.
9. I have great lips - not too full, not too thin, and great for kissing.
10. I have great proportions to my body. When I tone it all up, it will be amazing. My torso is the perfect length, my shoulders are narrow, I'm not too tall and not too short.
I challenged myself to come up with ten things. Some are smaller things than others and I wish I could go on and on about all the great parts of my body but most of them are still covered in a thin layer of fat which has me still not loving them. But, underneath that last twenty or so pounds my muscles are getting stronger and more defined and hopefully by summer swimsuit weather I will have a much longer list of things I love. It is getting easier to look appreciatively in the mirror and notice the results of my efforts. And, it's already time for new jeans since all the ones I own are getting saggy in the butt. And I had to tighten the chest strap on my heart rate monitor last week because it wasn't working anymore. Some days the proof is in the pants, some days it's in the chest strap. I'll take whatever proof I can get. The scale is still just a number that doesn't define me - I want to be fit and muscled, not thin and waif-y after all.
So, what do you love about your body? And if you have an easier time listing the things you hate, I challenge you to find ten things you love. Yes, your eyes and toes can count! Here's to focusing on the good in all of us and leaving the super model ideal to the professionals - there are only like nine of them in the world after all so why would that be considered the norm anyway?