The body is the beginning and the end of living. It is the main part of life for each individual; without the body we don’t exist in the physical world. We completely die when the body breaks down and can no longer carry our soul. This is an undeniable fact and we all somehow know it but we don’t think about it enough. Do you trust your body? Do you treat your body the way you should treat the main thing that makes you human and alive?
I lost the connection to my body somewhere between packing up pounds in my prepubescent body and puberty. I started to doubt my body and with each pound gained and each comment about my weight, I started to detach myself from my body. I became ashamed of it. I didn’t look at it anymore, I mean really look at it in acknowledgement. I let my body go and started doing anything I could do to lose weight barely at the age of fourteen. I couldn’t carry the breasts that were dropped on my late bloomer self and no one helped me deal with it. It was only bound get worse when my gym instructor thought he was the appropriate person to give me advice on how I need to strap my breasts and how I can’t do sports with all that. At that point, I was far gone from my body. My body became a stranger that I didn’t trust. I couldn’t trust it.
I love food. I really love it; the smell, the taste, the texture of a well cooked meal is everything of a heaven to me. I wish my body understood my love of food and worked with me instead of making me pack up pounds at every bite I take. I mean, is it a crime to love the goodness and holiness of food? No, it is not and it shouldn’t be but my body did not understand. These were the things I thought about when I thought about my body. While I was going through this mental and physical struggle, my poor body was just helplessly looking at me, hoping that I will see that we were both fine and that we just needed to work with one another. At one point I discovered weight loss pills and told myself that this is all I needed, yes! I took those pills, lost a few pounds then of course gained them back. The pills were giving me acute anxiety and thoughts of suicide while I took them on and off. I was destroying my body and my mind. At 20 years old, I decided to stop the pills because I didn’t want to continue that kind of self-harm behavior. Even after that, I was still far from trusting my body. After an emotional breakdown and eating my sorrows away as if food alone could save me, I actually crossed over to obese. I was finally fat physically as I thought I was mentally. I was officially obese and I looked overweight. The clothes couldn’t hide it anymore and the BMI was not trying to take it easy on me either, it lay the O word flat-out for me. At that point, I felt powerless. I wasn’t even in the mindset of trying to lose weight anymore, I just wanted to be fine. I looked at my body and surrendered. I was ready to come home where I belong and my body was happy because it was waiting for me. A good amount of the pounds melted away after that as I began to feel better mentally. I was no longer attempting to lower my weight. I was merely hoping it will never go back the way it was in those dark months. Then somewhere my senior year, the pills became tempting again and that was the last bottle. I only took it once or twice and I knew from there that I was done for good. I kept the bottle filled with the pills to remind me that I closed that door for good.
I started to make amends with my body. I acknowledged it and I talked to it. I accepted it as my partner for life, we were no longer strangers. I became happier with my weight and my eating habits improved and my weight went down on its own. It was a work in progress. I was glad that my weight was fairly in the average range but I wanted to get in shape and be fit. After a mammogram confirmed a lump in my breast, I became fixated on optimal health. I knew from there on that optimal health is something within my reach if I work with my body along with determination and persistence. I was afraid and filled with doubts as I’ve been for years. I didn’t know where to start so naturally I started with nutrition. I love food and I love cooking. I can cook healthy delectable meals for myself, that is easy enough. It sure was and it was also expensive but nothing is more expensive than my life. The hardest part was portion control. I love food and I pay tribute to food by eating it in large amounts. I did well my first month and I lost ten pounds. Things were looking good then I started to gain the weight back. I was stressed by my life, eating in large quantities but not exercising enough. I took off my weight loss board and quit right there and then.
A few weeks later, as faith would have it, I went to Strand in New York City with a friend. There were books outside for a dollar each and it was freezing in NYC on that December evening. It was hard to resist books at a dollar so we stopped to look through the stacks. The first book I touched was all I need and right away, I was intrigued and mesmerized by the title. The book is called “From Bagels to Buddha” by Judy Hollis, a woman who is a pioneer of Eating Disorders treatment in America. The universe at work! After reading the book, all I could think about was self-trust and spiritual awareness. My spiritual awareness was set in motion when I did my year of service in the episcopal church and having moved back home after the program ended, I was trying to keep it up.
I waited until January to go to the public library and get books to seek spiritual knowledge that are rooted in self-trust and communion with the divine grace within us. I took books on Buddhism because I wanted to explore more what that practice has to offer then grabbed a random book about meditation as a healing tool. Needless to say that the random book shifted me on the inside as Judy Hollis’ book did and the title of that book is “Meditations to heal your life” by Louise Hay. I was officially introduced to positive affirmation as a form of meditation and I knew from there on that I was ready. I signed up for the gym and set up a plan to achieve optimal health. I do want to look great and slim down but more than anything I want strength and optimal health. I said nothing is going to stop me, not even myself.
I have learned over time that the body is mightier and more powerful than we think. I have seen people do amazing things with their body because they believe that it is truly strong and unstoppable. As long as you are in communion with your body, you can get it to work with and for you more than ever before. I am still learning and strengthening this communion and honestly yoga and meditation have been great helpers. I wish for us all to trust our body and be in communion with it.
Peace to you!