I've always struggled with body acceptance let alone body appreciation. But I feel that changing. Maybe it's because I am getting older. But I think it has more to do with truly appreciating all that I have been able to experience in the past year. I couldn't be where I am without my body and for that I am grateful. This past year during my dietetic internship I spent my days in rotations and my nights doing homework. Weekends were spent doing more homework, cleaning my apartment, cooking, and working. I rarely exercised and it took a toll on me mentally at first. Eventually I realized that this was not the time to beat myself up for not exercising and indulging a bit frequently. The internship gave me so much more than nutrition knowledge and professional experience.
I learned that my body is not perfect and that's okay. I love chocolate and wine and that's okay. Sometimes (...or a lot of the time) I want to sit on the couch and binge watch Gilmore Girls and that's okay. Sometimes I crave vegetables (bring on the brussels sprouts) and that's okay. Sometimes I run and sometimes I don't and that's okay. Life is about so much more than the number on the scale. It's about more than whether I exercise or not. It's about more than the number of squares of chocolate I eat or if I eat chocolate at all.
Julie gave me a bracelet for Christmas that says just breathe on it and I've been trying to breathe more, but also to just live more.
In the past month I have started to move one step further and truly appreciate my body. Body appreciation means valuing what your body does for you. The whole living and breathing thing. The incredible biochemistry that goes on 24/7. The homeostasis. The growth. It's incredible. I attribute this new found appreciation to pushing my mind to the limit during my internship and pushing my body to the limit with marathon training.
Every new distance, every faster pace amazes me. It all started once I crushed my first tempo (maybe I should let me coach rate my tempos). I've also truly began to appreciate that what I eat is fuel for my body and yet eating because I am emotional is okay too. I am not the best intuitive or mindful eater and that's doesn't mean I won't be a good dietitian. Eating is cultural, primal, social, etc. It's so much and really, there's no perfect way to do it. No matter how I eat, the food will be digested and used by my body as energy.
I appreciate my body. I appreciate that I have the ability to run and that my body digests the food that I love. But most importantly I appreciate that I have had the opportunity to learn what I am capable of and to begin the road towards body appreciation. Without this body I wouldn't be this close to graduating with my masters in dietetics. I cry just thinking about the day...