I recently passed my 100th day of yoga and, with that revelation, I’ve come to realise a few things about my mental health and body.
I’ve written about this kind of thing before, but it’s sometimes important to reassess and re-confirm positive affirmations!
my body, my journey
It’s hard not to look at other people and wonder why they look ‘better’ than you, but their body is as different to yours as their face is! There are things we have to realise; we don’t all process food the same way, we don’t all store fat the same way, or use energy the same way. You have to find what works for your own body and that can take time, if you’re not naturally ‘fit’ or ‘toned’. Sometimes genetics really are to blame [it’s not an excuse!!] and you should take time to find out how your body works rather than trying to make it work like someone else’s!
I’m not as unfit as I think I am
I always class myself as ‘unfit’ or ‘moderately fit’, but I don’t give myself enough credit! I can run, touch my toes, skip down stairs, run down stairs, swing a katana and throw chinese throwing stars pretty accurately… the list goes on. There are so many people who physically can not do these things! ‘Unfit’ is an awful term, really, because it tends to sound all encompassing and all to do with the body when someone’s ‘fitness’ can be good, when they still eat terribly, or have a hard time with mental illness.
I’m not as ‘fat’ as I think I am
Am I heavier than I’d like? Yes, but that’s because I have a healthy weight where I feel better mentally and physically and I know I’m just outside of it. I know how my body feels a little less heavy and it makes me feel good – there’s no shame in that! Do I have fat? Hell yes! Years of being at an unhealthy weight for my height and years of not understanding nutrition have left me with a lot of fat, despite losing weight. Am I as fat as I think I am? Probably not, to be honest. I have slight body dysmorphia, I know this and have done for a long time. I lost a good chunk of weight a while ago and I still sometimes think I look like I used to. It’s only when I catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window or look in the mirror sometimes that I realise I’m not actually a lump of a person [though I do like to joke I am]. It’s hard, in this world, to say you feel happy with how you look but we should all get used to looking at ourselves with a little bit more forgiveness. In a world where everyone takes photos of their bodies every day and shares them with the world we really should be happy with where we fit in in such a broad spectrum!
It’s not a bad thing to be unfit, overweight, or anything else
It’s insane to think you can be positive and confident every day of your life. I know I have a few days a month where I feel like a beached whale [ya dig?] and that’s not the end of the world. Even though I am ‘unfit’ in some ways [I can’t run fast, I hate burpees] and I’m bigger than other people… so what? I was ill for 2 weeks, recently. It’s the longest I’ve been ill for a long time and it really got to me down because I didn’t have the energy to move. But even if I didn’t want to move… so what? You don’t have to work out or like it. You don’t have to cut your food into small portions. Live your own life!
I’m not here for you.
This, to me, is a powerful mantra.
I often feel under scrutiny from everyone I see/walk past/ meet – it’s something I push to the back of my mind because it’s in constant juxtaposition to this other part of my mind (call me a typical Gemini, dual-personality and all) which literally doesn’t care what other people think! Sometimes I repeat the mantra in my mind to remind myself that I am not for other people; not their opinions, not their acceptance, not their visual stimuli, and everything else in between. Mantras are something I learnt whilst practising yoga and they can be helpful if you put your intentions into them fully.
Some of these things seem so simple and you can tell them to yourself over and over but they don’t always *feel* true. I live my life in a ‘fake it til you make it’ kind of way, which can be jarring and, I think, cause this internal rift in your self-worth/confidence/self. Having days where it feels less fake and more like a badge of honour is starting to feel great!