I have had many a conversation with myself that involved a lot of ingratitude for the gift of a body, but things have changed dramatically in the last 10yrs, physically, emotionally & spiritually.
A Spiritual Foundation: Or, what has always been in the back of my mind
From a young age I was taught that my body is an important part of God's plan for me. With this body I will be able to enjoy physical activity, food and even experience discomfort and pain. I will use my body to make sacred covenants and to serve those around me. If it's part of Heavenly Father's plan for me, I will be able to bring children into the world, and thus create new bodies for spirits eagerly awaiting their opportunity to face all that life on this earth has to offer them. My body houses my spirit and I will have a family, and no matter how the children I have come into that family, my body will house that spirit that has attributes central to the nurturing and care of those children. I was also taught the importance of respecting the gift of this body by not doing anything to defile it, or the spirit within it. I have been taught to care for my body by abstaining from substances that could potentially cause harm or result in addictive habits. In terms of food, I was taught the principle of "everything in moderation", and the importance of regular exercise.
These are the things that I'm also trying to teach my children, because I recognize now, just how important having those things ingrained in me has been to my own progression through some of life's learning moments.
PAST: I squandered a lot of time telling myself that I wasn't perfect enough in a lot of areas, mostly physical. How annoying! I went through a period of really harsh self-judgement although now, I can't explain why, other than the fact that I must've gotten really caught up in some worldly messages about what the body should look like. Around 21 I started to re-align my thinking and stopped being so critical of my body, and tried to enjoy it, not worrying about the scale or the calories and just enjoy having such a healthy body. During a stressful time, I lost a lot of weight and became concerned with how most people responded by telling me how great I looked... Scary since I was literally so emotionally worked up that I couldn't eat more than a handful of food at a time, and then would end up dry heaving if I cried too much when I went to bed- I had enough will power not to let myself throw up anything that I ate, but my body was literally trying to reject any amount of help I could give it. I was super concerned with what was going on with my body during that time, but instead of people asking me if I was okay- which I wasn't- they asked what my secret weight loss strategy was. That experience changed a lot of what I thought I knew about the body and I began to realize the connection between a hurting spirit and the body housing it. I became less concerned with how I compared to any other body and more concerned with getting my body healthy and strong again, and shocker, I started to obsess a bit about the number on the scale going UP so that I didn't look so emaciated. Once things were back on track emotionally, my body started responding, I started to enjoy eating again and my weight returned to normal. A small number on the scale doesn't mean "healthy" anymore than a big number necessarily means "fatty", that was a huge lesson. With this experience I also learned there is real power in connecting with yourself by using positive self-talk. I literally had to talk myself back to normal, and since then there hasn't been much room for the negative self-talk that used to invade my thoughts. I also wasn't as healthy as I could have been during my pregnancies, although by the time I was done puking with Kalea, I didn't have much energy to do much else other than lie on the couch. With Brynlee I kick myself for having a much easier pregnancy and not being as active as I could have been. I gained a lot with each of those pregnancies especially having them so close together, and that has made it a lot harder to "bounce back" like everyone said I would- ha thanks for the false hope people! Kidding, I was super lazy or I probably would have bounced back sooner.
PRESENT: I've spent probably the last few years on my own kind of "health crusade", discovering the things that work short term and aren't necessarily very healthy, discovering different kinds of workouts that I can do at home, trying and loving a difficult yoga practice and learning how to balance all that out with healthier eating. When I had Brynlee I gave myself a very HUGE time frame to get myself back to normal, haha I told Steve that I would be back in shape by her 3rd birthday if I didn't get pregnant before then, that means I have until November but with my 10yr high school reunion fast approaching, I'm hoping to be closer to my goal by the end of June. So far 2012 has been good for this on all fronts. I'm working out consistently now, my body is responding and I'm feeling way more energetic and sleeping better. I'm finding myself more willing to do for others because I have more energy to get things done. I'm not huffing and puffing up the stairs anymore and I feel like I have more energy to play with my super active kids. Scale wise I haven't lost that much weight yet, but physically you can see where I've lost inches and gained muscle, which is insane. Even at my "prime" I don't think I was this healthy/strong, or maybe I just blocked that out of my mind so I wouldn't feel bad about my current state. At any rate, I'm feeling much better now than I ever have, so that counts for something. I feel more balanced and more in tune with what I'm doing on a regular basis. I find myself more centered and open to promptings than I have been in the past, maybe that's because my mind isn't so foggy? I'm learning that the more I take care of my body, the more clarity I have in the things that I want to achieve as a parent, and the more ready I am to act when prompted or take time out to meditate, pray, read, journal, etc... Win win.
FUTURE: I'm hoping that I can remember the "body lessons" as I get older, and as my kids grow. I hope that if I ever do get pregnant again, I can go through it a lot healthier than I did with my first two so that I can feel better sooner than 3yrs later. Steve is finally jumping on my bandwagon, so we're hoping to do a 5k later in the summer. Much later because, as we all know, Allison is not a runner, the only reason this one is appealing is the fact that it's mostly about having fun and mostly NOT about how fast you are. So in prep for that we're going to start on of those "couch to 5k" programs. Should be a hoot, right? I think Steve and I are both realizing that at one point or another, both of us were a lot more active than we have been lately, and we've been "gifted" with very active children, and if we don't keep up with them then they might lose that desire to be active and turn lazy like us- gasps of horror! We are now much more interested in fostering that in them because we know how much it will add to their life experience, and ours- hello, I get to be a "soccer Mom" this year!
Basically, all this to say, we're on track to reaching some goals for a healthy and active lifestyle as individuals and a family. Hopefully our kids will appreciate the effort when they're old enough to understand it, for now we'll feel good that we're maybe teaching them something about how to take care of these awesome little bodies that Heavenly Father has given them.