What if I told you that you for your whole life, you have been led to believe that it’s normal for you to dislike your own body? It’s true. From the beginning, we are made to believe that we can change things about our own bodies that will make them better looking, and in turn, will make us feel better about ourselves. My question is: better for who? No matter how much weight you lose or that stunning bathing suit that you thought would be the epitome of summer happiness for you, if your mindset is focused around what outsiders think, your happiness levels will always be allowed to be dictated by them. Thankfully, we are in a shift zone. For example; women are working tirelessly on claiming their narrative. There are so many more reminders as to why our health should be focused on even more so than just our outer appearance. Mental health is becoming less of a taboo topic.
So what does a summer body look like?
It looks like...
- Peaceful moment truly savouring your favourite meal
- Putting yourself to bed early knowing that you’re a much happier person with adequate sleep
- Feeling confident knowing that you are taking care of yourself from the inside out because you had a big glass of water in the morning with your VegeGreens
- Learning to stop when your anxiety is kicking it into high gear and acknowledging what you need to address your feelings and take a deep breath
- Knowing what you are afraid of and knowing that even when you are afraid, that you will be ok and reminding yourself of all the hard things you have gotten through in the past
- Nurturing your relationships and reaching out to a friend when you are thinking about them or a long phone call with a friend that you have been missing
- Stepping outside in whatever you want to wear and owning it
- Constantly reminding yourself that how you look is just a very tiny piece of who you are and it is time to give just as much time and investment into your mental, spiritual and emotional health
- Accepting your physical beauty, just as it is, without adjustment. Learning to accept that what you have seen as flaws your whole life are actually your unique traits that make you, uniquely you.
- Saying goodbye to the people and influences in your life that no longer serve you. It looks exactly however you want it to look.
I remember a time in my life, not long ago, where it felt normal to have a tight knot in my chest and to be constantly breathing these short, quick breaths. It felt painful to just be sometimes. Physically and mentally, I felt like a balloon. I could burst at any moment with just a small source of stress. What had led me to that point was becoming a mom. Through the standards held up to me to be the best mom who would always place her child before herself, I was hurting. I was hurting myself mentally, emotionally, and physically. I was hurting my family consequently because of that. Eventually, I felt so low that I was functioning at such a low level that I had accepted feeling bad as a constant. Over time, my daughter grew a little older and we found a great day care for her to go to part-time. The decision was made to give me some time to do what I needed for myself. I got myself a gym membership and dedicated at least 3 days to moving my body in a way that made me sweat. I made sure that I drank my VegeGreens every morning in a big glass of water to keep hydrated and filled with nutrients. I went to a therapist regularly and journaled every day. I got back into reading each night, which I have loved doing since I was a little kid. I made myself beautiful lunches when my daughter napped so that I felt that I was treating myself as well as I treated her.
Slowly, over time, I started to find myself again. Now I am finding ways to be physically active whenever I can because I have seen the benefits it has given me, mostly mentally. I started feeling less frustrated at every little thing and I felt able to talk about serious matters again without feeling completely overwhelmed. I allow myself to eat what I want to eat and remember what foods make me feel the best. I remind myself constantly that eating healthy is my way of life but so is eating my favourite chocolate bar and cake at a child's birthday party. I am learning to say no to what I know will hurt me. Equally as importantly, I am wearing my summer body every day and I am so thankful for all that we have worked through together.
Guest written by Marieke Nassara of Green Bean Wellness