2017 marked a significant shift in my relationship with my body, with the idea of fitness, nourishment and body image. I believed then that I was already in a “good” place because I had been over the slimness versus fitness, strong over slim hill already. And I had chosen strength already. I was squatting more than my bodyweight. I was kickboxing in a class with the local goon, often sparring with him and giving him a run for his money. Either that or he was letting me win. I was visibly muscular, and I liked it. I’d never denied my body anything food-wise, until then and I wondered what restrictive healthy eating might do for me. So I gave it a shot with a 6 weekow carb high protein shred which took me to a body weight and size like never before. I would say it altered my frame altogether. I was at my energetic best, working out hard six days a week and feeling fabulous. But it was simply not sustainable. I also got into an obsessive loop of trying to stay the same, which, to be honest, is an impossible ask.
It’s been up and down since then, slowly arriving at a place of balance. Letting completely go for an entire year, growing physically as much as I did emotionally, to returning to an intuitive and self-led approach to what made sense for me, then. Finding, from all my years of experiments with workouts, what makes me happy and understanding my relationship with tedium and routine. And finding my unique niche, that place of comfort with allowing myself to go with the changes as they come — whether that’s cravings and desire to eat what I want or the ups and downs in my energy on any given day.
2020 however was a whole new world. The forces healthy eating during lockdown, challenges of working out indoors and then swapping it up so much post lockdown, returning to R’s class — my body has shredded and grown many times over in just one year. And somehow I’ve found a new level of acceptance with my body through it all.
This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you do not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known.
— Marion Woodman
2020 was also the year where the physical aspect of my body became prominent in my emotions al journey. As my work (for myself as well as my work with clients) grew more somatic, I’ve become aware of the role of my body as a vessel and what it holds. And so my relationship with that body has changed yet again. It has been less about doing, and more about being, and allowing all kinds of being — active to rest, high energy to restorative and slow — and treating myself with fondness and interest.
Suddenly now, I see a malleable, gentle being that needs attention and kindliness, no matter what mode of exercise I choose, where I once saw a hard, unchanging body that needed to be fixed, through restriction and punishment.
I feel like my body looks different from what it did even just one year ago, somehow. It certainly feels different, in a very private sort of way. Like an inner knowing, and not so much what’s visible to the world outside.
More gifts received from the year that took so much:
- Rediscovering running
- Maximizing the 5×5 space in my living room for seven months
- Finding yin
- Fondness for myself and my body
- A flexible daily practice
- Softness. Rest. Listening with ease
- Returning to the best coach I’ve ever had
- Enjoying my body, enjoying moving any way I like, dancing
- Learning that I love my body and I love food, and that one need not cancel the other
- Feeling really frigging well, inside and out