This winter, I gained a solid five pounds. Maybe a couple more, I’m not entirely sure to be honest.
Initially, I was kind of upset about this extra weight. But lately, I’ve gained a tremendous, deep appreciation for it.
I talk to women all the time about body image and I believe that our bodies tell a story. When we naturally lose weight, it is typically a result of us being relaxed, happy, and less stressed in our lives. Many women talk about losing weight on vacation when they are chilling out and at ease. When we gain weight, it is usually a sign of something else going on. Stress, boredom, lack of excitement in our lives, overwhelm.
I’m pretty in touch with my emotions and how to take care of myself on all levels, but I have to say that starting a business threw me for a big loop. As hard set I was on keeping some sort of peace, balance and sanity during this new venture, I’ve quickly learned that I have to get used to NOT necessarily having those things right now. I’ve become increasingly comfortable with this, but I struggled with it at first. And I see the reflection of that in my body.
However, when I look at my body, with the extra weight it’s holding onto, I look at it in such a loving way.
When I look in the mirror, I see a body that supported me starting a business from scratch.
I see a body that had my back as I faced a lot of fears and took a lot of risks.
I see a body that was with me through making some of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make with little idea as to how to make them.
I see a body that supported many sleepless nights when my brain wouldn’t stop churning about who knows what.
I see a body that helped me get up after those sleepless nights and devote my full attention to talking to my amazing clients all day.
I see a body that gave me energy to keep my relationships strong, exciting and healthy during times when I felt worn down.
I see a body that took me for runs when I needed to clear my head and let me sleep like a baby when I truly needed it.
I see a body that fueled me to go out dancing with my friends for hours on end when I needed to let it all go.
I see a body that let me eat cereal at 3am to get me through a project I needed to get through, and occasionally rely on ice cream to mentally check out when I just didn’t know what else to do.
When I look in the mirror and see that my cheeks are a little fuller, my thighs a little thicker and my stomach a little rounder, I see a girl who ventured into unknown territory and a new phase of her life and a body that supported that.
I’m not superwoman (dang, wish I was), and although I talk about emotional eating and self-care, I also tell people that sometimes you just have to do the best you can. Sometimes we get thrown curve balls, or we move into a new chapter of our lives and aren’t quite sure how to handle the new lifestyle and challenges that it brings. We need to relearn how to take care of ourselves, how to adjust, and how to grow.
Although I have taken care of myself in the best way that I know how, I’m still learning as I go through a new phase of my life, and I’ve learned that the best thing I can do for myself right now is be understanding, patient, and compassionate with myself. There have been days that I’ve overeaten to comfort or distract myself, weeks when I haven’t gotten enough sleep, times when I haven’t managed my stress as well as I could have, and many days I haven’t gotten outside and stretched my legs as much as I know my body has wanted to.
But I’m still here, and I’m still kickin’.
And I’m starting to get the hang of it. And I know that each day I’m learning more about what I need and how to make this all work. How to balance taking care of myself, taking care of my business, and taking care of everything else.
So for now, here is a little letter to my body…
Thanks for being patient with me and supporting me through so much unknown and uncertainty lately. I look at those extra 5 lbs and I see them as a reflection of everything we’ve pushed through in the last several months. I know I haven’t treated you perfectly, but thank you for being there for me anyway. We’ve accomplished a ton, and I couldn’t have done any of it without you. As I get used to this new life and keep figuring it all out, I know that I will be able to focus more and more on taking care of you and giving you what you need. Thank you for hanging in there with me.
I want you to look at your body the next time you’re in front of the mirror and thank it for something. For something it has gotten you through. Are those extra pounds a reflection of something you’ve gone through and an example of where your body has taken one for the team? Did you eat to get through something, or stop working out because you were dealing with another area of your life that needed attention? Is that extra tummy roll there because you can’t stand your job but you’re doing it anyway and constantly hitting the M&M jar to get through the day? Are you going through changes in your life and still trying to figure out how to take care of yourself under those new circumstances? Where has your body supported your decisions and kept you afloat? Where has it taken on some physical weight because it was too hard for you to take on the emotional weight? Can you compassionately thank your body for that?
Weight fluctuations are normal. We go through things in our lives and constantly have to adjust. We go through break ups, we deal with extreme joy and pain, we change jobs, we move, we build families. And its normal that as we go through changes, our bodies do too.
So what’s next? How about these 5 pounds?
Well, I’m not too concerned about the weight. I know that it will go away eventually, and my number one job right now is to just keep working on creating a lifestyle where I am able to pay attention to my body in the way it deserves. In these past few weeks I’ve felt like I am kinda sorta getting better at this new entrepreneurial territory I am swimming in, and I am going to continue to just keep figuring out how to make it all work for me.
I plan on sharing a series of posts over the next several weeks explaining what lifestyle changes I’ve been/will be making in my own life in order to take care of myself even better. It will be a combination of what has worked for me in the past plus new strategies that I’ve been trying out lately. It’s going to be a lot of little things, no drastic changes, but I figure I might as well share how I’m learning to take care of myself with a very unstructured schedule and a lot of uncertainty, change and unknown going on in my life right now.
So if you’re interested, stay tuned!
I’d love to hear from you. Regarding the questions above– can you compassionately thank your body for something its helped you get through, even if it has taken on some weight? Do you have any ideas of something you can shift in your life right now in order to create more room for taking care of yourself and giving your body more of what it needs?
Corrinn Gutierrez says
I forwarded this to a client and friend who just had her first child and who (like most of us) share in the struggles of staying physically and mentally healthy with a side dish of slim. 🙂
Sent from my iPhone
I love this post! I’ve had a very negative, hateful relationship with my body for the last 6-7 years. But I’m working on making those physical & mental changes. It’s a long, slow process 🙂
Hey Caitlyn– yeah, it definitely takes time and its crazy how it is allll in our heads. but as long as you’re aware of it, you’ll get there! 🙂
When the negative self talk creeps in I make a conscious effort to bat down each thought with a positive one. Regardless of a few extra pounds, I can still run, dance, play, laugh, and live. And people like me just the same. 🙂 Great great post! Looking forward to reading more about what changes you’ve made!
exactly Kristin– the weight doesn’t need to drastically affect our lives. we can still go on living and enjoying life while accepting some body changes!
I needed this SO much. I’ve been going through bouts of emotional eating, and both mentally and physically get myself down on it a lot. Something I think I’m going to change is to not count calories, and listen to my body instead. I know it’s going to be hard, especially when I’ve ignored what my body needs for so long, but I think (I hope!) it’ll be worth it in the end.
when i go through these times, i try to look at why im eating for emotional reasons and then try to make some changes in my life to take care of myself — emotionally and physically– better. not counting calories is a great start.. it gets you much more in tune with yourself, your body, and what you need. it’s definitely scary at first, but i think you will absolutely find that it’s worth it!
Clare @ Fitting It All In says
thank you thank you jamie! this perspective is so helpful to me. That the reason I’ve gained a few is because I was EXTREMELY stress the past year and that I’m making huge changes – and it’s normal, and my body has been there for me.
You are wonderful!
Clare– yea you’ve been going through a lot of change lately (just from what I know) and sometimes it takes a while for us to get used to all of the change and adjust. your body has been there for you as you continue to figure it all out!
Your words are so beautiful and such an inspiration. I’m working towards being as thankful and loving to my body as you are, and I can say it’s a happy, yet crazy, process. Love this, love this, love this.
thank you 🙂 glad you’re making strides.it is a crazy process, but one that, like you said, can contribute a lot to overall happiness and is worth it!
Jamie this was amazing and just what I needed today. I have not been nice to my body at all lately and it makes me really sad. I have a lot of body issues to work through and I’m trying so hard. From you I’ve learned to stop getting so mad at myself and be gentler, kinder. You don’t know how much this has changed my attitude. Thank you so so much for sharing!
Madi, its a constant work in progress, and you’re definitely in the middle of working on it and have already made huge progress. I can tell by your posts and the way you talk about yourself. the nice thing about this is that we can always get better, be nicer, and keep working on it like you are.
Jamie, you are such an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for being so honest. We are all in this together. Somebody very wise once told me to ” love yourself” no matter what. You have changed so many lives and continue to inspire everyday. Seriously, you are such a beautiful, passionate, and caring person. Although we have never met, you started inspiring me during our first phone call in February and I always learn something from each post. You are a gift to all of your readers and clients!
Gia, you’re soo sweet and like I keep saying, I’m always so inspired by you too! Thanks for your thoughtful words. xoxoxo.
Katelyn Rose says
I love this post! While I’m not quite at the point where I can appreciate the 8 lbs I’ve gained the past few (very stressful!) months, I can appreciate that my body has carried me through some significant changes during the stress. Thanks for putting that into perspective for me 🙂
Glad you gained that perspective, katelyn!
What an unbelievably beautiful post. Actually made my day
Beautifully written Jamie! I too struggle. You must appreciate the body that has allowed you to do all the amazing things you’ve been able to achieve. Thank you so much for writing this. I know it’s coming at a perfect time for me too 🙂
xoxo. love you girl
Jamie, this is the best post I’ve ever read. Honestly, the best one ever. It’s absolutely beautiful and it made me get tears in my eyes because I could relate so much.
My body has changed recently, too, but I haven’t quite been as appreciative towards it as you have. So, I cannot thank you enough for this post and your beautiful words as it helps me so much think of myself differently.
I know I have been enjoying life a lot more lately and my body has changed due to that and I can now look at it and thank it for all of the wonderful experiences it has given me.
Thank you thank you thank you, Jamie, and I definitely look forward to your future posts 🙂 Love you so much
thanks for your really sweet comment, Meg. im so glad you’ve been enjoying life more, and your body has let you do that. it deserves to be appreciated! so proud of all the changes you’ve gone through. i know they aren’t easy, but you’ve embraced all of the change and inspired so many people along the way. xoxox.
Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! says
If only every woman in the world could read this! Your words have given me quite a bit of perspective on my life right now, as I’m about graduate and approaching a transition phase in my life. Beating up my body is the last thing I need!
So for that, thank you. Stay lovely <3
Thanks, Rachel. yes… keep this in mind when going through graduation/next steps. my body has changed at every phase of life and it can kind of be a beautiful thing if you think of it like that! 🙂
Little Miss Fit says
Truly amazing, inspirational words. Tomorrow I start in an IOP for eating disorders (my third time, actually) and know that I will be gaining weight. But I know I need to as well. This made me feel more comfortable with the weight that I know I will be gaining and helps me realize that I will only be getting healthier and taking care of my body. I am thankful that my body hasn’t quit on me after much abuse that I have given it and I am motivated to finally take care of my body and treat it the way that I need to.
Life Uninterrupted says
Thank you for this post. My dietitian and therapist wanted me to write a letter to my body this week, which is an assignment I’ve done before but always hated doing because I never had anything “good” to say. You’ve put such a new spin for me on what this assignment means! Even more, you’ve helped me to see that while I have such hatred for myself and my body regarding the weight I’ve gained during the years of living with and recovering from an eating disorder, it’s time to forgive and be compassionate. There is so much I can be thankful for.
I’m glad that you see that forgiving yourself and being compassionate is something you can do. I know you can find things to love yourself for and to be thankful for! xoxo.
Such a great post! Extra energy is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂