The Body Revolution: The Relationship We Have With Our Bodies

Body Image

The Body Revolution is really about the rather “tumultuous” relationship I have with my body over the years.

If you had read my earlier posts, “Unveil Your Inner Goddess”, and “To The Beautiful You” you might have a good idea of what I mean.

In truth, the love-hate relationship I had with my body is not unique. Many people wrestle with their self body-image all over the world at some point in their lives. Some are still fighting that good fight. And it does not matter which religious backgrounds we come from or subscribe to. It does not matter what age, shape, race, size or gender we are as well. In fact, this may be one of the common issues we all share regardless of who we are and where we live. Though we may share this “painful relationship with our bodies”, we have not learnt to be kinder towards one another about it, or even to ourselves.

Mirror

THE REAL BEAUTY LIES WITH THE PEACE YOU MAKE WITH YOURSELF

I started by treating my body as a “trash bin” in my earlier years. I simply ate whatever I wanted, even stuff I didn’t really want but just gobbled them up for experience. I ate when I was bored. I ate when I was depressed. When I could not decide if I was bored, depressed or happy, I ate some more. Soon, it became a “toxic wasteland”. Of course, the weight started to show itself in places I dreaded the most. Before I knew it, I had ballooned to about 60 kilograms. And no, I was not pregnant at that time. I was barely 17 years old! 

Then, I went to “war” with my body – putting it through some garden variety of spanish-inquisition-like diets. Denying it of many cravings and pleasures, cutting out all the fun delectable stuff and finally, arriving at some “purgatory”. Had to purge it of all that weight, fat and unsightly “dimples” called cellulite. The “small, trim and lean” figure did not come without a price. Everything comes at a price, as I later learnt. Bear in mind that the media was not as unforgiving and cruel back then. We did not have the continuous overdose of “scantily clad” bodies, photoshopped celebs and “skinny” looking models parading everywhere to make the rest of us feel grossly unattractive as we do now.

Mirror3

SELF HATRED IS A VICIOUS PRISON OF THE MIND

After attaining the coveted “size 2”, the “yo-yo” diet phase took its toll on my body.  You see, maintaining my weight and shape in an unhealthy fashion was not really helping me. But I did not know any better at that time. Nor, did I care. I just wanted fast results, all the gain without the pain, and with the least amount of effort required. Yes, I wanted the easy way out. Hence, the “yo-yo” diet regime reigned over me. I even tried starving myself for days or eating just apples and boiled eggs. When all was lost, I resorted to using laxatives or poking my fingers down my throat to make myself throw-up. I swung from one extreme to another. It is a miracle that I did not end up in a hospital.

It took me a long time before I understood the difference between becoming healthy and just longing to be thin. 

Mirror2

DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE IN THE MIRROR

When I was thinner, I was also frail and unhealthy. I was falling ill every other week. However, it did not strike me as a point of concern then, because I was only interested in looking good. Or rather, fitting into those tiny sizes. Appearance was paramount to me, not my health  – or anything else, for that matter. 

Needless to say, I had to learn the hard way. 

The path to peace with my body was littered with agony. Mostly, self-inflicted. These days, my body and I have a “civilised” war. We can hold peace talks and negotiations – leniency on certain days, and a strict watch when I am not as healthy. It is all grounded on a mutually beneficial foundation and healthy options.

I wear my favourite “battle armour” and look at myself in front of my full length mirror without guilt or shame. I call my full naked body as my “battle armour”. Because it strips off the B.S I have fed myself over the years. Those were more damaging for my well-being than the trans fat I have consumed from all the boxes of oreo cookies in the past.

There’s no criticism or name-calling. No shame nor apology. Every line or layer will be appraised like a precious gem. I would take the time to recall the good yummy “felons” that were responsible for cultivating them. I can laugh about it now, because I know if I really wanted to trim off the ‘fat’, I can easily work out more. But it is really up to me if I want to or not. To be honest, MOST OF THE TIME, I really do not wish to work out. I still detest working out with a fiery passion. However, I do not hate being reasonably healthy. So, I do focus on staying healthy. And yes, my personal favourite “battle armour” is in the buff. It is the best way to see myself – in the stark honest light.

Let’s be clear – making peace with myself is not giving up the thought of never having a well-toned body like Hillary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby” (See pic below).

Hillary Swank

HILLARY SWANK WITH HER MILLION DOLLAR BOD

It is about knowing what I am not willing to do, and what I will accept. Then, it is about making a conscious choice and living with it HAPPILY.

I know I could get a body like Hillary Swank IF I worked out more. But as I have said earlier, I really can’t stand working out. So, I’ll do only enough to make me happy and accept what shape or size that lands me in. In addition, I have my annual medical check ups to make sure that everything still works like a charm 🙂

These days, I am blissfully happy with the choices made because they are all mine. I was not coerced by some media campaign or models in mags who have been altered in order to diminish their natural beauty and form (see pic below).

I take full responsibility for all the decisions I make, and I stand by them. 

PhotoShop

BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOSHOP

So, these are the facts –

1) ‘ll never have a super fit body.

2) Because I REALLY enjoy eating and feasting. And I want that to continue.

3) I rather lick my toes than go work out. 

This is me and who I choose to be for now. 

I may well choose differently in the future, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. 

If I do ever decide to become super fit, it will be on my own terms. It will be my decision to make, not someone else’s.

Truly and deeply, I do not subscribe to Fat-Shaming or support any name-calling.

In fact, I do not condone violence, apathy and cruelty in speech, thoughts and actions.

Queen L

I do not deny that it is important to be concerned about our health but it is never our place to judge others. We seriously do not know their history, what they are going through and their “battlefields”.

If we truly wish to inspire people to take better care of themselves, we can simply do so by living out our lives meaningfully and joyfully. Setting a good example for others to follow is a better way to inspire others. And it is really their choice to follow or not. Not every person is built the same way. Not every person desire our kind of goals or lifestyle. Above all, our priorities in life do differ. 

Not too long ago, Dubai made news by offering to pay dieters in gold. You can read all about it here.

“In an effort to help people shed the flab, local government officials announced a 30-day challenge in which it promises to pay participants a gram of gold for every kilogram of weight lost.”

No doubt, different countries and people will motivate themselves into getting healthy in various ways.

However, it is still perfectly ok if some people cannot be arsed to do anything about it. If they are happy with the way they are, why should we rain on their parade and put them down? Why create tension and conflict where there is no cause or need for it?

There is enough hatred going around in the world as it is. We do not need to invite more hatred into our minds and set up pedestals for it to take root in our hearts as well.  

Everyone seeks to be accepted and liked for who they are, as they are. It is really no different for you, and me. 

I’d like to leave you all with this heart-warming love story that everyone should take the time to read.

It is written by  a guy whose girlfriend weighs a whole lot more than him.

No, it is not a joke or a movie. It is a real life love-story.

Please meet Ali and Gloria.

Ali and Gloria

Ali and Gloria

You can read all about their story here.

Theirs is a beautiful love-story that proves that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, and that it is the beauty within that captures the heart.

As always, start your own brand of fearless loving, and living. Reclaim our right to be as beautiful as we are.

May we each learn to love ourselves more with every passing day, and accept others as they are. 

Peace to all 🙂

Monday

 

 

 

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

4 Comments
  • The Hook
    January 23, 2014

    I’ve never really hated my form – although I didn’t enjoy being skinny as a rake as a boy – but now my life has taken a turn. You see, my stomach has taken on an existence of its own, one that is growing by the month, it seems.
    Still, I’m comfortable with who I ma, inside and out.
    Wonderful post, Shirley. You have a gift..

    • shirleymaya
      January 23, 2014

      Thank you so much for your very kind words, and sharing. It was a long and bumpy ride to get to where I am now. Still, it is worth it. I don’t think I have a gift, honestly. Wriitng does not come that easily to me. It’s almost like a daily tug of war. Though this blog was started in Nov 2009, I did not write as “religiously” as I do now until July last year. The writing is another exercise to overcome my insecurity about “weaving words”. But I do love to share as openly and truthfully as possible. What I have truly enjoyed most is making the connections with other bloggers and writers such as yourself. I am constantly in awe of the talented and gifted artists in this online community. That’s right, you all are true artists! *Respect*

      • The Hook
        January 23, 2014

        Respect rules.
        Thanks, Shirley – for everything.