(Psssst! If you’re “late” to the challenge and just getting started, that’s OK too! Just go at your own pace! Start with this blog post and scroll to the bottom, and make sure you have what you need to complete the challenge and fill out the 10 questions you need to fill out before you get started. Then you can take it day by day at your own pace!)
Before I recap yesterday, I just want to do a check-in with everyone. How are you all doing? Are you enjoying the challenge so far? Have you missed a day? Have you struggled to stay on top of it?
I would really love your feedback in the comments section!
Also, I got a really beautiful comment yesterday from a very brave woman who was *thisclose* to giving up on the challenge. She wasn’t saying her mantras before bed, she was not saying them during the action steps, she was struggling to fill in the blanks… the whole nine yards. Then she hit Day 6, and everything changed for her. You can read more about it below.
In order for this challenge to continue to be doable, I’m going to shorten the recaps a bit so you have more time for your other assignments.
Yesterday was Day 6 of the Love Your Body Challenge and it was a little “quieter” than the other days in terms of comments, which I expected. But then I was blown away by this:
“On day 5 I decided the challenge just wasn’t worth my time. It wouldn’t work. It was too hard. It was too easy. It was self-indulgent. I deleted the journal I’d started, got rid of the document where I’d dutifully tracked each day’s mantra and action steps. I was having a hard time filling in the blanks and I had yet to say my mantras at bedtime even once. I’d probably only said them during the action steps on one day. So I wasn’t doing them “right” anyway.
And then day 6 arrived in my inbox.
I opened the email anyway. I clicked the link. I skimmed the post. I read the prompt. The prompt was:
‘Reason #6 To Love Your Body: Because it’s served you well.’
It’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of my body. It’s small, unfair things: it’s not supposed to look this way, it shouldn’t gain weight so easily, it makes me uncomfortable, my colon sucks and my compartment syndrome keeps me from running. I know all of those things aren’t something I can blame my body for. In fact many would be eased if I loved my body more. But it’s big things too. It’s a baby lost at twenty weeks because my cervix didn’t feel like cooperating, and it couldn’t even malfunction in a normal way but insisted on doing so in such an uncommon manner that the doctors couldn’t see it coming.
I’m not gonna lie, I blame it for that and then because on some level I’ve internalized the connection between my body and myself, I blame myself for that loss. Just sometimes, when it gets dark inside.
So maybe I need this challenge more than ever. Here’s my list.
1. Walked me down the aisle at my wedding.
2. Crossed the finish line at a Warrior Dash.
3. Held a baby we’d already said goodbye to.
4. Carried a second pregnancy through five months of bedrest.
5. Gave birth to a happy, healthy, perfect little girl.
6. Fed that little girl for six months all on its own.
7. Held that little girl through sickness, naps, zoo trips, nights of coughing, and mornings of cuddling.
8. Embraced so many beloved friends and family.
9. Learned to do yoga: planks, forearm and handstands, push-ups, and upward bow.
10. Survived two surgeries.
11. Supported and nourished a mid capable of a bachelors degree with honors.
12. Carries me to and from work every day.
13. Allows me to hike, walk the museums, and wander new cities.
14. Allows me to see, hear, smell, and touch the world around me, to discover all sorts of delights.
15. Walks up and down 15+ flights of stairs on every work day, and at least six of them every morning to walk the dog.
16. Keeps my daughter feeling loved with warm embraces and sniffly cuddles.
17. Lets me kiss my incredible husband.
18. Highlights the incredible DNA I carry from my mother and my father, showing off features that carry on my bloodline.
19. Plays host to a head full of wild, uncontrollable hair.
20. Is home to a beautiful pair of eyes in a delightfully variable color.
So yes, it’s pretty amazing. And it deserves so much love and support. A body this strong, this capable, this full of potential for joy and laughter and knowledge and love… It’s time I give it the respect it needs to really come alive, to carry me through he best years of my life with all of its beautiful potential fully realized.
Now pardon me while I cry softly on an airplane for a while. This one brought out ALL THE FEELS.”
Beautiful and brave. I loved reading that from her.
And please know — this challenge isn’t about perfection. If you miss a day, or if one reason doesn’t resonate with you, or if you forget to say your mantra during bedtime… whatever your “mistake” is, it’s not worth giving up the challenge over. Just get back to it and give it your best, which is the best that you can give at any given moment.
That’s all you can ask of yourself… the best you have at any given moment.
As for Day 7, here we are!
Reason #7 To Love Your Body
7. Because it can experience pleasure.
Now I know what you’re thinking… this post isn’t just about THAT, although THAT is a critical part of the human experience as well — but think of all of the amazing ways that your body can experience pleasure.
The warmth of the sun on your skin after a long and harsh winter, quenching your thirst after a hard workout, a hug from someone you love deeply that you haven’t seen in a while, hearing a beautiful symphony or your baby’s first laugh, watching a gorgeous sunset on the beach, eating a warm chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, getting a deep tissue massage on your sore muscles, that first sip of coffee in the morning, spending an intimate evening with the one you love… the list goes on and on.
There is literally so much to look forward to every single day that brings us pleasure, if only we can slow down enough recognize it and be grateful for it.
Mantra: ”I love my body. It has the ability to bring me immense pleasure in many ways if I can slow down to recognize it.”
Repeat this (to yourself or out loud) 10 times right now, 10 times during your action step, and 10 times before bed.
Action Step: Take 5 minutes to write down a list of the pleasures, big and small, simple and complex, that you get to experience on a daily basis, while thinking about your mantra.
1. Make sure you’ve signed up for my newsletter so you can get links to the new challenge every morning!
2. Make sure you’ve filled out the 10 questions at the bottom of this page (DO THIS BEFORE DAY 1) so you have your “starting point.”
3. Say your mantra 10 times immediately, during your action step, and before bed.
4. Complete your action step.
5. Check in with your accountability partner if you have one.
6. Check back tomorrow for more.
OH! 3 more things –
1. PLEASE post about what you’re doing on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #LoveYourBodyChallenge or #LYBC. This will allow you to connect with others doing the challenge, offer support and encouragement, and get ideas for your mantras and action steps.
2. PLEASE comment below and let us know what your mantra and your action steps are each day. Again, this helps build support and community as well as offers ideas to those who might need them.
3. If you’re so inclined, feel free to send me pictures of your amazingly beautiful selves and I’ll post them in my Facebook album. It’s essentially an album of pictures similar to what my fitness professional friends and I did on Day 1. It’s a picture that you might normally not want to post, but you post it anyway along with a short blurb about your journey. You can see the album here, and you can send pictures and your blurb to: 28DayLoveYourBodyChallenge@gmail.com It’s such a supportive community of women (and men) over there. It’s awesome!
That’s all for now.
See you tomorrow!