Yes, that’s my belly. Yes, it’s sick of the bullshit.
It’s sick of hearing about what it should look like from billboards and magazines and commercials and my own stupid insecurity.
That belly can hold my shit in navasana for days. Warrior II for 15 breaths? To those thighs, it ain’t no thing.
But really: ever feel like no matter what you’re doing, how few calories you’re consuming, how much exercise you’re getting, the number on the scale refuses to budge and your jeans are no looser? Let’s be real though. After calorie restriction, over exercising, mental toil and generally treating your bod like the enemy, it’s gonna get fed up.
My body flipped me the bird about a year ago when my weight loss plateaued. After losing about 70 pounds, I was still desperately unhappy with the number on the scale. You know the story: you reach your goal weight, then lower that goal number by another ten pounds. Rinse, repeat. Eventually, I couldn’t punish myself anymore: I was eating 1300 calories and exercising 2-3 hours daily, but I still couldn’t break 153. There was nothing else I could restrict, and I was driving myself completely insane with the self criticism.
You cannot fight your body into what you want it to be.
It reacts to the hate by holding onto everything. This doesn’t only count for weight loss either; you could be trying to lower your 10k time or find handstand without a wall or sculpt superior guns. But whatever physical goal you’re attempting to achieve, stress is always counterproductive.
When your body gets frustrated with you hating on it, it can manifest in a few ways:
- Plateaued weight loss
- Fatigue no matter how much sleep you get
- Feeling hungry or wanting to eat
- Break-outs or skin reactions
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Mental anxiety and depression
- Stalled or reversed progress
So here’s what you do: Let. Go. Release. Find something–anything–to let go of, even if it’s just the tension in your jaw. Fat is your body’s way of protecting itself from famine and stress. When you relax, you signal to your body that no stress reaction is needed, and your body can more easily release toxins, fat, and tension.
But how can your relax when you’re freaking out over last night’s cocktails, or how you’re going to look in your swimsuit next weekend? You can’t.
So close your eyes and take a breath. Know that progress ebbs and flows, and find some victories to celebrate. Move in a way that makes your body feel good; if you run, do it without paying attention to how long or how fast. If you’re not losing weight, ditch the scale for a few days. (Better yet, ditch it forever.)
Here’s a little relaxation moment to help you out:
Roll out your yoga mat or spread out a blanket, then hunker down in child’s pose: from an all-fours position, touch your toes together and bring your hips down toward your heels. Let your head relax to the ground, and forehead press into the mat. If your forehead doesn’t quite get there comfortable, stack your flat palms or fists. Just allow your third eye to ground down into something: you could even use a rolled up towel. If your hands are free, walk them out in front of you and place the palms face down with the fingers spread wide. Let your elbows relax to the ground and your shoulder blades sink down your back.
Breathe here. Notice what it feels like to be in your body in this particular moment. Notice without judgement, without trying to change anything.
Then bring your attention to your breath: where does it come from–deep within the belly or higher up in the chest? Is it long and slow, or a bit shallow? Does it comes smoothly or does it stick somewhere on the inhale or exhale? Again, notice all these things without trying to change them. Just be a witness.
Then slowly begin to lengthen your breath. Let it fill your entire torso, expanding in all four directions like a balloon. On the exhale, bring the navel in toward the spine and empty out completely. Breath like this, deeply and slowly, for a few moments.
Then begin to imagine with every inhale, you’re bringing in light and healing, relaxing energy. With every exhale, let something go: a thought, the tension between your eyebrows, or sink more deeply into the mat. Do this for a few more moments, feeling completely supported by the ground.
When you feel like coming out, keep your eyes closed and slowly walk yourself up so you’re sitting on your heels. Breathe here, noticing how you feel more grounded, more connected, and a little more calm.
This short little meditation is great for before bed, or when you need a little break to reconnect and put that body shame into perspective.
Sometimes all you need to do is chill out a bit before your body’s”fuck you,” turns into an “oh, yeah.” Your body deserves the love, so show it.