My Body

What does that mirror say to you when you look at it?  Are you too something:  thin, fat, flatfooted, flabby, tall, short…? Do any of us realize that we’re “perfect”?

I work out four-to-five days a week for an hour or more  – this is as much for my psyche as my heart and body. I also consider myself a healthy eater: no junk food, few nibbles in between meals and fewer sweets.  You’d think I’d be emaciated.  No chance.   I do see every body type at the gym: from the tall almost-anorexic – maybe she is – woman to the needs-to-lose 60+ pounds, from the over-the-top weight lifter to the skinny man who wants desperately to look “beefy,” and from the normal to the normal – whatever that conjures up in your mind.  I consider myself a normal-sized person.  I still want to – and yes, need to- lose a few pounds.

Our bodies are amazing.  Think about all that they do on any given day even without asking. How do you treat your body?  How do you help it become a beacon of health?   The foods and drinks that we ingest and digest may make our bodies cringe if they had the mind to do so, and yet they go right on working for us with nary a complaint until….

I’m blessed with exceptional health.  I go to the doctor’s once a year for my check-up, and then another 365+ days go by before I see her again. When I ask my classes to write down and prioritize the top five aspects of their lives I’m usually in the minority for what I know to be the top.  Go ahead, list and prioritize your top five. Go….   Many of you put family, God, religion, work, etc as the top, yes?  How many of you put health?

Now ask yourselves, “Can I go to work and perform to the best of my ability if I don’t have good health?”  “Can I take care of my family if I don’t have good health?”  “Can I be a stalwart community leader?  synagogue or church goer? etc. etc. if I don’t have good health?” The answer?  That’s right, no.  Health and your body are top priority for you to help not only yourself, but also those whom you come in contact with daily.

Are you healthy?  Are you pleased with what you look like?  We can change what we look like if we commit ourselves to a healthy diet, exercise and annual check-ups.  Oh, of course, there’s plastic surgery, but then again…!  I’ll bypass that.  What you look like is also a reflection of how you feel about yourself.  If you feel negative feelings toward yourself that may come out in your habits, or lack there of.

Why are women – I’m in there with some of you – constantly fretting about being thin?  How did you/we get unthin? (Is there such a word?)  My friend turns 60 in January and she’s determined to lose 50 lbs. by then.  How did she get 50 lbs. overweight?  She didn’t buy those pounds at Target and now thinks she can return them.  The weight came on slowly, over months.   I want to lose 25 lbs.  How did those extra pounds and those globuals of fat attach themselves to my stomach and thighs? I wish I knew, because of course I didn’t help them get there…!

Look around you.  Over weight and obese people are a national disaster and FEMA can’t help them.  I went to see “Food, Inc.,” a documentary on the meat and chicken industry.  It’ll make you rush to Whole Foods and invest in Tofu for the rest of your life.   One segment focused on cost:  A family of four spends less money on fast food than they would on a healthy meal; therefore, the hamburgers for a $l deem more reasonable than a salad with other veggies for $3.  Sad, and true.

To help us help ourselves, first recognize the value of good health.  Be thankful that your body – no matter what its size and shape – is you.  Accept that this body is with you for the rest of your life and you have the control – for the most part – to keep that life and body healthy for years, decades. (It obviously depends on how old you are now.)

When we obsess about being the picture of thinness, muscle, and/or perfection we can also cause trouble.  I bless these thighs, which I don’t find particularly pretty, daily.  They allow me the freedom to run, walk, exercise, stand for hours at a time, and hike and bike for fun.  I’ll never be “model thin.”  First, I’m too old to get there for the glamour shot; second, I don’t have the commitment, nor the desire.  I may step up to the scale of commitment and lose 10 lbs within the next three months, but I’m not going to obsess about what I eat, curtail my proclivity to wine and fun, nor starve myself for days or weeks.

Take care of that body of yours, it’s the only one you’ll ever have.  I remember listening to Jack Canfield’s – Chicken Soup fame – tape and he recommended that we strip naked and look at ourselves in a full-length mirror and bless every part of our body from the toes to the head.  Now there’s an exercise in reality for you. 

Every night right when I put my head on my pillow I think about five things that I’m grateful for during the passing day, and waking up healthy in mind, body and spirit is the first thought.  I then think of at least four other events that made me smile, friends who happened in my life that day, bills that I had money to for and did, etc., etc.  It’s a great way to fall asleep.

It’s your body.


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