Now that summer is truly underway, there’s a lot of messaging and media out there telling you how to relate to your body. From the classic diet industry version of “get your summer body through x / y / z workout plan or detox” to the other side of “love your body as is, don’t change a thing, every body is a summer body” and everything in between, whether you’re looking for it or not there is a message for how you are supposed to experience your body.
Something that has been coming up a LOT in my private client sessions lately is the question, “Is it okay if I want to change my body?” These are women who have done a lot of amazing work to unsubscribe from diet culture and toxic messaging, to extract their worth from their achievements and dress sizes, and to fiercely, unapologetically show up for themselves every single day.
Even with the beautiful work they’ve each been doing, there’s a fear around wanting change or something different with their bodies. What if it means I’m backsliding into hating myself? What will other people think if I talk about loving my body but also lose weight or start strength training? Does this mean I don’t actually love myself yet? How can I give my body what she needs while staying away from obsessing and control?
This has been a key conversation within myself and with how I’m choosing to serve clients moving forward as well. There have been interesting debates in my head and conversations with mentors, questioning if I can believe in the power of movement and physical challenge while still believing in health at every size and honoring our bodies each day. Wondering how to make space in my own life for fitness again without going back into obsessive mode, equating my worth with my weight and body composition.
For all of us- me, my clients, other people in my life- what it keeps circling back to is this: What do I desire to create and experience in my life? What truly brings me joy? Am I willing to stay present, stay aware, and stay committed to MY truth, regardless of what other people say or post on social media?
The answers to these questions are individual. Some desire to feel stronger physically so they can feel stronger emotionally and mentally. Some desire to lose weight in order to reduce pain in their joints. Some desire to soften and let go of the perfectly sculpted physique in order to allow some gentleness in or to make space for something new. Some simply feel more alive when they are challenging themselves to meet new levels of strength or skill.
It is absolutely okay to want to change your body or have a different experience with your body. Is it worth it to know where that desire is coming from? Yes. Of course there’s a difference in wanting change because you think it will finally bring you happiness or prove your worth or make your life magically easy compared to wanting change because it will support the life you are dreaming of.
Change doesn’t always mean getting stronger or getting smaller or faster or leaner. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Change can literally mean anything. The dance comes in rooting yourself firmly in self-acceptance and acknowledgement of where you are now, having a clear vision of what you desire in the future, and choosing the tools, practices, and actions that will get you there each day.
What version of your body will help you thrive? (Pay attention if you knee jerk react from a place of diet culture or “not good enough”)
What relationship with your body will create joy and fun in your life?
How would you like to experience your body?
What would having a joyful body create for you?
What would it be like to fully trust yourself, fully trust your body, and fully trust your own authority above all else?
It takes courage to choose the road without a map. To stay connected and true to your own heart and desires, dancing with uncertainty and surrender along the way. To acknowledge and deeply accept where you are while also being ready for something new. To forge a path unique to you and what truly helps you thrive and feel alive and joyful. There will always be messages out there to distract you, to convince you to give away your own authority. You have the power to choose the body and the life that are meant for YOU- to live with courage, with heart, and with joy.
Is it time?