I didn't feel very good about myself. (When I felt that I way I'd mix up a batch of chocolate chip cookies to make myself feel better. Obviously.) It was hard to exercise, because our downstairs neighbors were really, really sensitive to normal living noise, and I doubted that hitting it hard with Jillian Michaels would do much to improve the situation. So I lived with my discontent for a while.
Then Asher stopped nursing. Now no one was tied to any part of my body for anything. We'd moved into a new home. I figured that it was time to do something about that persistent baby flub. So before I go forward with my story, I want to address what it means to be gracious to yourself and to your body.
Our bodies are miracles--actual miracles. To think about all the biological, cellular, mechanical, and chemical processes that take place in our bodies every single moment is amazing. Our bodies are amazing. And I take issue with people and media outlets that purport some twisted form of the body as the only definition of beautiful. I hate it that Hollywood thinks that a woman should be back in a size two by the time her babe has left the hospital. I love Kate Middleton for owning her post-baby body, and I hate that it sparked debate in the first place.
With that said, I also think it's important that you take care of your body and do your best to keep it healthy. It's also important to feel good about your body. Our bodies are gifts from God, and someday we'll be reunited with them forever. As we develop a healthy relationship with our bodies, we need to be gracious to them. Don't deprive your body of nutrition because you want to be skinny, and don't overload your body with junk because you are lonely or scared or stressed. Find a healthy balance and embrace it.
Take care of your body. Usually that means moderating what you put into it, and also managing some kind of exercise. Sometimes, though, it means that cookies for dinner isn't the worst thing in the world. Embrace your body and come to know it. Care for your body in the best way possible, and remember how wonderful it is that we all look different. Don't buy into the lies you hear about what you're supposed to look like. Make your health a relationship with your mind, your body, and God.
So, back to my post-nursing body: I decided to sign up for Weight Watchers, and I'll sometimes get into an exercise groove. So far I've lost over 10 pounds, and I'm feeling great about it. This weight loss hasn't been immediate. It's taken dedication and time and acceptance. I'm learning that being gracious to your body is essential and that you can want to lose weight and still be gracious about it. When it comes to graciously living with your body, you need to learn to love it, to accept it, and to care for it.
This post is part of a 31-day series on gracious living. You can find the other posts here.