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Happy New Year!

January 4, 2011

I read this article today about a woman who discovered that what she had perceived as overweight turned out to be just exactly who she is (and not overweight at all). It really moved me to read about her inner transformation and her decision to embrace herself and buy new clothes instead of her usual January-diet-up-and-down-cycle. How beautiful, to be able to discover that maybe you already are, well, beautiful.

Do you have a similar cycle? Have you made resolutions or plans to lose weight this year? How about loving yourself? Has that played into your New Year’s goals at all?

To be clear, I absolutely always support a healthy lifestyle. Eating whole foods with a large produce base, and moving your body regularly is a solid foundation for everything else to follow. Living healthfully allows you to feel better physically and emotionally. But I feel strongly that learning to love yourself is equally as important and, sometimes, must be accomplished before the rest can begin to follow. And the fact is that I have met many women who, for various health reasons (thyroid, food intolerances, adrenal issues, hormonal issues, etc) simply cannot lose the weight no matter how healthy they are. I’ve also met women on the other end of the spectrum – who are underweight and cannot gain enough no matter how they try – their struggles aren’t any less just because they happen to look, at first glance, more socially acceptable. Should woman, over- or underweight, have anything less than love for their bodies, just because they don’t happen to meet some number on a doctor’s chart? Hell no! They should love their bellies and breasts and legs and hips no matter what size they are. Because we are all beautiful. Period.

Working on this website has been such a blessing in so many ways. I get to see such beautiful people every day. I get to read about their struggles and their joys. I get to watch them love themselves. And they inspire me. I had already begun my journey to love myself wholly by the time I started this site, but I cannot believe I ever would have come this far without each of you. I hope I can return the favor.

Over the past year we had some incredible stories shared here. Colleen wrote about making peace with her cesarean and the scar that came with it. Lisa took a moment to ponder what she would say to a friend in her position – this is, in fact, one of my own personal tricks for being loving to myself. Mary wrote an incredible account of her feelings toward her body – beginning in the midst of hatred and coming into appreciation and respect. Emily realized how incredible a mother’s body is and promised to never forget. Proudmama touched readers’ hearts by comparing her body to a well-loved home full of warmth and memories. Eden shared what has become one of my favorite photographs ever. And that is just a drop in the bucket of the stories shared here. The pain, the joy, the emotional growth. I want to thank all of you – writers, readers, supporters. You are beautiful women. I mean that.

So. What resolutions are you making now? I hope that loving yourself, physically and mentally is on that list. Or moving further down that road, or sharing the message of love to others you know. Whatever applies to you. Because, you deserve it, our daughters (and sons!) deserve it, and together we can kick this self-hatred crap right out of womanhood altogether.

Happy New Year!

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6 Responses to “Happy New Year!”

  1. Nikki Says:
    January 4th, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    I love your ramblings. I was going to contribute my resolutions as well as something very thought provoking. But the guiding hands of life wouldn’t let me post it. Every time I came close to finishing my comment, I’d accidentally click out of the box, hit Backspace, and it would go back to the main page; losing everything I had typed. Frustrated, I’m not going to try for a third time, lol, so I’m taking it as sign that it was not yet ready for SOAM. Therefor, I am going to leave it at this and hope that I can share what I had on my mind another day.

    Peace be with everyone in the new year. May you find the energy to change your mind, your body and your world.

  2. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    January 4th, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Thank you for putting those thoughts out into the Universe, even if they didn’t make it onto this page yet!

  3. Colleen Says:
    January 4th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks for the link, Bonnie :)

    I have never resolved to lose weight for New Year’s, because I have never had to. I was always one of those people who was well-shaped without trying. Last year I had some pregnancy weight left but I was still in the first nine months so I refused to think about it. This year, for the first time ever, I said “I want to lose 15 pounds”.

    It’s not really a resolution, and it’s not entirely vanity. I plan on trying for baby #2 when my daughter turns 2 (in July), and I would like to lose my last 15 pregnancy pounds before that. Somebody told me the other day, “you don’t LOOK like you need to lose 15 pounds”, and I pointed out that if I held on to 15 pounds after each pregnancy, by the end I’d be 45-60 pounds heavier, and that IS a problem. I think of it as a preemptive strike.

    I would also just like to BE healthier. My husband and I have developed some bad eating habits and I would love to fix them (he is on board with this, btw). I also have not really exercised since I stopped dancing, 4 1/2 years ago now. My in-laws gave up start-up money to join a gym and I’m so excited about water classes with the baby and pilates!

    I feel like workings toward my goal (15 pounds in 8 months is 100% doable) will help me regain some of the feeling of control that seems to be missing from my life right now. (And in case you’re wondering, my other two goals for this year are to take better care of my teeth, and to finish unpacking and decorating the house that we moved into in MARCH. Geez!)

  4. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    January 4th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    HAH, you unpack the way I unpack! I love water classes – have a blast!

  5. Pat Barone, CPCC, PCC Says:
    January 5th, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Having traveled my own quite complicated journey out of body hatred and losing over 70 lbs permanently, I’ve come to believe every body is different and unique, though we’re led by society/culture to believe their is a “standard.” I’ve had the experience of coaching hundreds of women towards their own unique best, and discovered we all lose weight at different rates (and, yes, in different places!).

    Loving and appreciating our own distinctiveness isn’t the easy road in our society, but it can be done. Blogs like this one are so helpful and valuable to those of us who want a real and meaningful relationship with our bodies.

    As for resolutions, they tend to be vague and unattached to a plan, which is why so many don’t happen. “Losing weight” is vague. Losing 25 lbs in a year by cutting out refined and fast food and walking 20 min a day is a plan.

    I think you are wise Colleen! You are also seeing an important change in your life and body. First, 10-15 lbs with each child is how most women wind up obese. It’s not atrocious eating habits, or lazyness, as most people think. It’s putting our children first and our own selves on the back burner. It’s how we’re taught and mentally conditioned to proceed after birth.

    15 lbs in 8 months is optimum. I had a client lose weight at a rate of a pound a month, and be upset with that, until she realized she had gained weight at a rate of 3 lbs a year for 20 years. Even her doctor didn’t notice that slow accumulation of excess fat. That meant her body was releasing weight faster than it had made it – a bargain!

    I believe any weight is good for you if you are healthy and you can answer the first three questions in the affirmative and the last question with a “no”:

    Is your body representative of you, your experience, your feelings?

    Do you feel good about it and value it?

    Do you care for it with love and respect?

    Is it hiding unresolved feelings or withering away (muscle-wise) due to lack of movement?

    Pat Barone, CPCC, PCC
    “America’s Weight Loss Catalyst”

  6. Mina Says:
    January 5th, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I loved JL’s blog post too. I am working toward getting where she is…might be a lofty goal for me to accomplish entirely in one year, but I’m working on it. I’m trying to focus more on getting stronger and feeling better, and valuing the way my body feels, rather than changing how I look and getting gratification from there.
    I find it pretty difficult to change my inner dialogue…after all, it’s been 38 years in the making, but participating in sites such as this, reading and celebrating articles such as JL’s, and exercising with people who are focused on strength rather than vanity are helping me a whole lot.

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