I HAVE AN AMAZING BODY! Five words I never imagined I'd start a blog post with - and anyone who knows me is probably wondering who's hacked the blog by now, too! Before you all decide that I must have got wildly above myself - or possibly taken a nasty knock to the head - let me explain.
It is currently Mental Health Awareness Week - and the theme this year is Body Image. While I've never been someone who'd describe myself as hating my body, it would be fair to say that for a good many years I didn't particularly like it, either. I looked in the mirror and saw the things most women see, and my internal voice came up with the same negative thought patterns that an awful lot of people do, I'm guessing. Of course you don't realise that the thoughts are forming patterns, repeating as a habit, so you never question it. Boobs too big, could do with losing a bit of weight, legs are too chunky, bingo wings, lumpy bum...until almost without realising it that's all your body is to you.
Generally speaking bodies pretty much just work without us thinking about it - the heart pumps the blood, the lungs provide the oxygen, the muscles move you about and the skeleton keeps the whole show on the road - all without the brain ever needing to give it any conscious thought. Pretty astonishing, eh? No batteries or external electrical supply required. It's only when things go wrong that we have cause to stop and think, and stop taking things for granted. The point at which I had my little brush with mine damn nearly shutting down altogether at the end of 2017 was my warning siren, and possibly for the first time I started appreciating all the things that lumpy, too big, chunky body could do. It wasn't immediate by any stretch of the imagination, but over the course of the last year and a half, rather than thinking about negatives, I've tried remembering about all the reasons why actually, my body is pretty damned special. It can walk or run for miles at a time, those "chunky" legs can leg-press nearly 30kgs more than my bodyweight in the gym and take me up hills so my eyes can see the view from the top. My arms can propel me through the water in the swimming pool, and can carry heavy bags of shopping. I've even started feeling a little more positive when I look in the mirror as a result of those conscious, positive thoughts - I'm never going to end up on the cover of vogue, right enough,but actually, for 46 years on the planet and a fair amount of fun had, it's not so bad - indeed I can't think of too many things I own that are any older and in better condition!
Next time you find yourself running through a silent list of criticisms about your body when you're getting dressed in the morning, or trying on clothes in a changing room, try to turn just one of those thoughts to a positive one instead. Look how you can balance to stand on one leg to pop the other neatly in to your trousers or jeans! Think how cleverly your hands can go from dealing with a zip, to a button, to slicking on some lipgloss all in the space of a few minutes. Focus on the fact that you can brush your teeth, have a conversation with your significant other and all the while still be listening with half an ear to the traffic news, or the weather forecast. Think about all the things your body can do without you ever needing to instruct it to perform those actions - and remember that you too have an amazing body!