It’s time for a New Year’s resolution revolution when it comes to body image and fitness. I’m already seeing the propaganda pump for diet programs and gyms, which are all basically subliminal messages telling you that you’re fat, you eat like shit, and you’ll be more valuable if sculpt your unhealthy self into a shiny new healthier you.
I call bull.
I am all for a healthy self, but not the way our culture defines health. Culture defines healthy as having a skinny, rockin’ bod that lives on protein and leafy greens. I define health as being connected with my body right now, listening and responding to what it’s asking for. No judgement. No restriction. No shame.
Of course I didn’t (couldn’t) do this without some help, without some guidance from someone who’s learned how to be connected and continually practices staying so. But I’ll get back to this in a minute.
Let this be the year that:
- Instead of striving for the body you’ve always wanted, learn to love the body you live in today.
- Instead of regimenting calories on diets and depriving yourself of food, eat when you’re hungry; stop when you’re full. Eat the foods you like and try new foods; don’t eat foods you don’t enjoy.
- Instead of focusing on losing weight, focus on reconnecting with your body.
- Instead of jerking yourself around in the gym, be gentle with your body; show compassion to yourself by moving in a way that you enjoy.
- Instead of scolding yourself into motivation with harsh and judgmental words, encourage yourself with kind words and positive perspectives.
- Instead of listening to the noise of media, culture, and societal expectations, immerse yourself in quiet meditative practices.
Unplugging from the negativity of self-judgment (grounded in the external world) and reconnecting with your body (grounded internally in self-love) takes practice. It isn’t intuitive. I’m speaking from experience, and I’ve spent all of 2016 practicing with the guidance of Yoga with Adriene. WAIT… don’t click away.
If “yoga” got you all deflated, please understand that Adriene isn’t the twist-yourself-into-a-pretzel kind of instructor. Her mantra is “find what feels good.” She constantly guides her viewers to forget what they think they know about yoga and encourages focus on sensation over shape. But the best aspect about her teaching is it’s rooted in connection and self-love. She’s 100% counter-cultural and that’s what I love about her.
I don’t do yoga for the workout. I do yoga for connection, meditation, and practice of self-love. The yoga mat is where I’ve learned to connect with my body and God; to speak kindness to myself; to learn how to breathe; to slow down; to be thankful for my body; to notice what my body can do (as opposed to what it can’t or what I wish it would).
This is the year for a resolution revolution. This is the year for reconnection. You choose how this looks for you, okay? Don’t listen to the media. Heck, don’t even listen to me. Reach inward and listen.
Peace and love for 2017, dear friends.
**If you’re interested in checking out Yoga with Adriene, I just signed up for her new Revolution series starting January 1. It’s free and all online, so you practice at your own pace, in your own space, and on your own schedule. It’s for all levels, all body types, all genders… so don’t be scared to try if you’ve never done it before.