If you told me a few years ago that I would teach a yoga class with my shirt off, I wouldn’t have believed you. Not because there was anything wrong with my body but because there was a strong belief that my body would have to be “perfect” in order to do so. It didn’t matter what my body actually looked like, I still believed that it was imperfect. I thought I had to work out obsessively, eat minimally and only “clean”, and shape shift into model height (not exactly sure how I hoped to get taller).
There was a time when I was in direct contact with someone who regularly shared her own ideas of what was wrong with my body. She would comment on her preference to what kind of pants I “looked best” in, told me “you look so good when you wear makeup” and said with complete dismay “your boobs are getting huuugee!” even though she knew I had cancer (it’s gone!) and not able to maintain my typical workout/diet. None of these comments came all at once. They came over time and were said with genuine concern. And they were coming from someone I formally respected so they had an effect on me. I found myself trying to hide my body in oversized shirts because any sort of belly bump would be frowned on. If I wanted to grab food to go, I was afraid she or someone in her circle would see me so I would buy it and scurry home, unable to eat in public without fear/a story ready for why I’m eating XYZ.
It’s so strange looking back on. Because it happened so subtly that I didn’t immediately notice that her fear of food and bigger bodies was having a direct impact on how I viewed my own growing body. I made a decision to remove myself from her circle. And it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself.
Although that time in my life was impacted by body negativity, it also led me to where I am today. I believe in body diversity and that all bodies deserve respect at all sizes. You cannot look at someone and know their health or ability based on their size. And everyone deserves to make their own decisions about how they want to take care of their own body. You do not have to workout or eat a specific way to be healthy. And only you can decide what is best for you. My new mission in this wellness/health/yoga career of mine it to educate people on how to show kindness and respect to their body, regardless of size.
Follow along if you are ready to redefine how you relate to your own body. Let’s start an unexpected conversation around weight, food, movement, and self care.