Making Peace With My Body

making peace with my body- Jessica LawlorWhen women get together, there are lots of things we talk about:

Our careers, passions, families, interests, dating and relationships…the list goes on and on.

There’s one thing that I can guarantee you comes up in almost all female conversations:

Our bodies. Or more specifically, our body’s flaws. 

“Ew, I feel so fat today.”

“Don’t put that picture on Instagram…can’t you see how gross my stomach looks?!”

“You have such nice legs. I wish my legs looked like that.”

Ladies, don’t lie. You’ve been there, right? Maybe these words have even come out of your own mouth.

I’m certainly guilty.

I could give you a laundry list of things I hate about my body! Maybe you could do the same.

I’ve battled my body for years.

Back in high school, I struggled with my weight. I cried in store dressing rooms. I dreaded the mandatory mile-run every fall and spring because I knew I’d likely be the last person to finish. I was always the chubby friend in a group of girls.

In college, I slowly gained more weight and when I graduated and started working in the real world, it all came to a standstill when  I weighed in at 170 lbs at a doctor’s appointment.

That moment was a wake up call.

I decided to make a change. I began running, changed my diet and eventually lost 30 lbs.

Great story, right? Happy ending?

I thought that’s where my fitness story would end. I thought from there things would become easy. I thought losing the weight was the entire battle.

Little did I know, losing the weight was the easy part. The hard part was moving forward. Maintaining. Dealing with gaining weight back, losing it again.

It’s still a struggle, even today.

Just last month when I went to the beach, I was a little nervous about how I’d look on the beach in my bikini. While I practice yoga 4-5 times per week, I’d gotten a little lax when it came to cardio and wasn’t feeling my finest.

See the picture above? I debated sharing it. I said to my friend Kelsie, “Ew, check out my tree trunk thighs.”

But you know what? Lately, I’ve decided to make peace with my body.

This body allows me to practice yoga. Those “tree trunk thighs” allow me to stand on just my forearms. This body sustains through a 90-minute hot yoga class, sweating in 100 degree heat, yet my heart still beats and my body still works. This body allows me to do things I never thought possible.

This body allows me to run. It has carried me through countless 5Ks, 10Ks and even a half marathon. This body allows me to lace up my sneakers, open the door and run for 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes. Amazing.

This body takes care of me. Despite putting it through hell- not giving it enough sleep most nights, feeding it crappy food and alcohol, running it ragged day in and day out, this body is here for me. It keeps me moving. This body protects me.

In that split second I debated sharing the above photo, I quickly came to my senses. I looked at the picture again and thought, “Wow, I look strong.”

This body is strong.

This body is my friend. 

I’m making peace with my body.

Like any friendship, we go through our ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we are there for each other.

Can you become more of a friend to your body? Can you make peace with it?

I promise, when you start to make peace with your own beautiful and unique body, you will feel lighter.

Happier.

More free.

Can you do that? I hope that you can.

Weigh in (bad pun intended)! Have you found a way to make peace with your body? How do you deal with body image issues? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Stephanie Majercik

    I’ve started taking this approach as well. When I first starts training for various endurance events I was so frustrated because I wasn’t seeing my body change where I wanted it to. 4 years and a marathon, multiple halfs and soon to be 2 triathlons later I realize that my body might not ever meet my high expectations but I’m happy with it anyways.

  • Rachel Lewullis

    I think one of the most important parts of each yoga class you teach is the end when you instruct us to thank ourselves and our bodies for taking time to get on the mat. For a long time, I’ve blamed my body for things I believed I couldn’t accomplish when, in reality, it was just my own mind holding me back. I never thought I’d be able to balance any part of my body on my arms (except maybe my head while I’m taking a nap at my table at home!). Learning to appreciate my body more has helped me to take better care of it by eating healthier foods more often and making time for exercise a few times each week. I think a more positive appreciate of one’s body gives one the power to make positive changes. It may never be what I think I want it to be, but it enables me to keep living my life each day. 🙂

    • I’m so glad that part of yoga class resonates with you! My teacher Julia says something similar to that effect and I’m always inspired by it, so I knew I wanted to work it into my own class.

      You are doing so amazingly on your own fitness journey! I’m so happy to hear that you are appreciating all that your body does for you! xox

  • Well said! Also, have you noticed how, many times, our biggest insecurities are in our own head? I recently had a chat with my best friend about body image and we both realized that what we believed to be horrible in our own eyes wasn’t like that at all in someone else’s!

    • Yes! You are totally right. Our insecurities are often in our own heads. Great point here!

  • This is a big reason why I’m such a proponent of intuitive eating and have decided to complete IE counselor certification training. I really want to help women heal their relationship with food and their bodies.

    • Love it, Akirah! Congrats on taking the step to complete your certification! How amazing.

  • Weight and body issues have always been huge for me, but over the past year or so I think I’ve made big strides. I’m at a weight where no matter how much more I wolf down chips or exercise, it doesn’t go up or down easily, so I’ve just accepted it as the weight I’m supposed to be.

    Does it hurt when I’m mistaken for a pregnant woman at least once a week without fail? Hell yes. So, so much. And when my only bathing suit options are anything but fun and young? Yeah.

    But I try to remind myself that while I may not exercise, I spend about 75% of my time walking limp-free, which at one point seemed like such an impossible goal. I’m trying to get to the point where I’m happy enough that my body works somewhat how it’s supposed to. 🙂

    • I hear you, Brittany! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve made huge strides in the past year. I wonder if these strides just happen to come with age and being more comfortable in our own skin?

      I love your attitude toward being grateful for what your body does for you! <3

      • For me, it had to do with the huge reality check that came with my last ankle surgery. I started to feel grateful for small things like being able to walk around a park and realize that that’s ambitious enough for some people.

        I realized I was consistently pushing myself to the point of injury. But I didn’t *need* to get a bikini body or keep up with my dance teammates when we get together at the old studio. Those were just wants. I needed to be able to get to and from my daily activities and relax by moving around to music that I like. I learned that everyone’s goals are different based on our own experiences.

        I don’t need to be the best dancer in the class – I’m not trying to go pro. I’m happy just dancing in my apartment, and my body can give me that. It’s less embarrassing anyway. 😛

        • That’s awesome! Gratitude is such an amazing attitude to carry through daily life. <3

  • Oh man, and here I was thinking how GREAT you look in that photo! Oh body image and being a woman. I have been trying to come to terms with my weight for years but every few months I really get an itch to lose those last 5 or 10 lbs. In the long run though, does it really matter? It doesn’t! I definitely am much more at peace with my body than I was 5 or even 3 years ago so I will consider that a win!

    • Aw, thank you! 🙂 Looking at the photo now, I do feel great about it. I will always have imperfections, but that’s just being human.

      I’m so glad to hear that you are more at peace with your body now than ever before. Isn’t it a nicer place to be than constantly beating yourself up?

  • Strong is sexy and you got it both ways: inside and out!

    I have a love/hate relationship with my body but I’m sure it feels the same way about me haha.

    Also, serious props for the vulnerability and honesty.

  • Michael Hanisco

    This is an AWESOME post. I love the “this body allows me to…” line of thinking. I’ve never really thought about it that way before. But now I’m thinking over everything I put my body through on a daily basis (the miles, the booze, the food, the stress etc), and it is amazing that it even carries me out of bed each morning.

    Props for sharing, Jessica!

    And yes, a lot of men struggle with body image too. I’m a living testament.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Michael! I already told you this, but your words seriously made my day 🙂

      It’s silly, but I often forget that men face the same body image issues that women do! I’m not sure why it’s hard for me to remember that, but I’m so glad you chimed in, because this is definitely not an issue that only women face.

      And yes, when I think about what I put my body through on a daily basis (mostly the lack of sleep and abundance of delicious food and wine), I am so grateful for what it does for me day in and day out!

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