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(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!)

Happy Day 8 y’all, and congrats on finishing your first week of the Love Your Body Challenge!

I’m glad you’re sticking with the challenge, and please remember that this challenge is not about perfection. It’s about doing the best you can at any given moment, and if you mess up or miss something, just get right back to it and don’t skip a beat.

Remember, you never know when you’ll stumble upon a mantra that will resonate with you more than the others.

Recap

Yesterday was Day 7 of the Love Your Body Challenge and it was about experiencing pleasure.  I received an extremely beautiful and brave email from a woman who has always struggled with allowing herself to experience pleasure during intimacy. Here is her story:

I have nothing profound to say, only that this mantra terrifies me! However, I do feel pleasure in the little things: my beautiful children, my sweet students, hearing the birds chirping during a grueling 10 mile run, my father’s smile, the joy of knowing an amazing Savior, & more things than I can ever begin to explain.

Pleasure in my body, not so much. For 16 years, I have hated the thought of intimacy with my husband. It is a duty, not a desire. At the age of 16, I became pregnant with my daughter. Believe it or not, but I was so bashful the day of the “deed” I hid myself as much as possible from his eyes. The next intimate moment with my now husband was 5 months later. He had two points of reference of seeing me: hiding under the covers, and great with child.

By the age of 17, I felt that my body was wasted from the pregnancy and delivery. After our second child was born, my body was only further ruined. How could this man possibly enjoy what he saw in front of him? I have been so focused on hiding things (rolls, stretch marks, cellulite, etc.) from him, that it took away the freedom to relish each other. Does that make any sense?

I have spent so many years working myself to death to erase time and regain some form of “beauty” about my body. Until the day 1 post, I don’t even think I considered that stretch marks were beautiful. I took a huge step and asked him to take day 1 pictures for me because I couldn’t get them myself. That was horrifying! He just didn’t understand why I was so uncomfortable.

Every day since, he has asked what the days challenge was. Tonight as I read today’s to him, I know that it will take some incredible strength. How can I possibly explain to him how I have cheated us out of 16 years? Even though this will be the hardest and most mortifying conversation we have ever had, I strangely feel emboldened.

Thank you for pushing me to be honest with myself and my spouse. I now understand, that pleasure is not purely physical, but an emotional state.

Powerful stuff. I’m in awe watching this woman conquer her most terrifying fears.

Remember, bravery isn’t about lack of fear, but triumph over it.

As for Day 8, here we are!

Reason #8 To Love Your Body

8. Because it can move.

As my girl Neghar Fonooni says, “Movement is a privilege.  Do it every day, as often as you can.

As a young gymnast and then cheerleader, movement came easily to me and I enjoyed it very much.  After years of being sedentary, I got back in the gym, and gained strength very quickly.  In fact, I pulled 285 at my first powerlifting meet (a push/pull meet in 2005) when I really hadn’t trained for it. I’ve done many crazy feats over the years from back flipping off of balance beams to deadlift 155 lbs. 54 times in 2 minutes, and for the most part, I’ve taken in for granted.

In February of 2012, I was deadlifting 300 lbs for a double from a 2 inch deficit (meaning I was pulling the weight 2 inches farther than normal), and something just felt wrong in my back almost immediately. It hasn’t been the same since and I haven’t squatted or deadlifted heavy in over 18 months. This, coupled with visiting my once-independent Gama last Spring after her recent stroke has made me especially cognizant of, and grateful for, my body’s ability to move.

I still struggle with debilitating back pain at times, which in turn, just makes me more grateful for movement when I am feeling healthy.

Mantra: ”I love my body.  It allows me the privilege to  move freely, and I will take full advantage of that privilege as often as I can.”

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 3 minutes to write down a list of all of the ways that your body moves each day.  From getting out to bed, to walking your dogs, to picking up your children, to performing a Turkish Get-up, your body does amazing things each day.  I also want you to take 1 minute to picture what it would be like to be impaired in some fashion — unable to walk or use one more of your limbs, or unable to move in some way that you enjoy moving now.  Picture than for 1 minute, and then spend the final minute being grateful for your ability to move.

Checklist:

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!

FIND DAY 7 HERE

23 Responses to Love Your Body Challenge – Day 8

  1. Dawn says:

    Visualizing not being able to move my body freely instantly made me cry. I care for my 65 year old mother who is paralyzed and wheelchair bound due to a stroke. I was so angry with her situation, but it only made me a bitter person. I have learned to show her compassion and empathy and be grateful for my healthy state. I still get down at times, but think about how she must feel and my anger disappears. I feel such a loss at times, but know that I am a stronger person because of my experiences. Thanks for hosting such an awesome challenge Molly!!

  2. Love this one. Movement is such a gift. Yes, some bodies can move more than others, but I love the movement my body provides for ME.

  3. Whitney says:

    This one got me…… I have dealt with a chronic knee injury for years, but that’s nothing compared to other things. My mother-in-law passed away in September after a 5 year battle with breast cancer. For the last 2 years of her life she was bed-ridden and unable to get out of bed on her own to do anything. It was heartbreaking to watch such a strong, independent woman go through the pain of having to have help to do everything. She wanted more than anything to just be able to get up and go do something as mundane as doing the dishes. She loved to garden and work outside, and she couldn’t do those things. She spent very little time outside, because it was difficult for her to sit in her wheelchair for too long. I can’t imagine a life where I was unable to move freely. We are blessed to be able to do something as small as just getting out of bed. I am thankful for all the ways that my body takes me throughout my day…pesky knee injury or not.

  4. Diane says:

    My body moves so well for me. Even at 345 pounds, I can walk, run, climb stairs, jump rope. It is super flexible. It is strong and lifts weighs well. It can move for long periods of time. It can play with my kitty, my nieces and nephews. My body can push, pull, bend, squat. My body can do step aerobics and dance. My body can cook amazing meals and clean. My body can touch, tickle, massage and cuddle. My body can hold hands, hug, kiss and share intimacies.

    I don’t have to imagine losing the use of a limb. 11 years ago I broke my leg and dislocated my ankle so badly I had to get a plate and screws surgically installed to allow it all to heal correctly. I was on crutches for three months. Not only can you not walk with both feet, you’ve now lost convenient use of both hands. There were certain places I couldn’t go if it was snowing or raining because the floors were too slick. I couldn’t really cook or serve myself. In the very beginning I couldn’t really navigate steps, and my mom had to wash my hair in the kitchen sink because the shower was upstairs. I was 22 and housebound. Although, after three months of crutches, I had some killer shoulders!

    • RV says:

      Woohoo! You go, girl and let that be a lesson to anyone who thinks you have to be 110lbs to be fit! You’re AWESOME!!!

  5. Brier Frasier says:

    #‎LoveYourBodyChallenge‬ Day 8- ”I love my body. It allows me the privilege to move freely, and I will take full advantage of that privilege as often as I can.” I stretch, walk, sit, spin in my office chair, squat, lift, roll, balance, jump, land (quietly like a Ninja), hang and sometimes crawl.

  6. Stacy says:

    I remember the first time I really appreciated my body moving. I used to be 230 pounds and I was miserable. At the beginning of 2012 I decided I was going to get off my ass and do something about it. I cleaned up my diet and started religiously going to bootcamp classes. When I started, my sprints were barely a brisk walk and I would have to slow to a plod after about 100 feet. Well, one evening after about 20 pounds and 2 months of regular exercise, I was parked at the back of the grocery store parking lot and it was bitterly cold. My husband suggested we run to the door of the store. I took his suggestion and one upped him. I didn’t just run/jog, I sprinted! I took off and left him in the dust. I felt like the wind and I was barely breathing hard when I got to the entrance of the store. When I realized what I had just done, I cried tears of joy. It felt amazing. I am now an avid crossfiter and while I detest running, I still love to sprint. That short burst of speed is so freeing and a constant reminder of the first time I felt fit.

  7. RV says:

    This has particular resonance for me – not because I’ve ever had a major injury (touch wood) or suffered from loss of movement but precisely BECAUSE I haven’t. On a few occasions when I’ve been running and mentally throwing a strop because I couldn’t be bothered really or when I’ve been fighting the dark, wind, cold and snow to get to the gym at 6.30am, I’ve always either passed somebody who was not fully able bodied or had to mentally remind myself – look at the news, right? – that some people would give everything to be able to do either of those things – run or afford to be able to go to a gym. Never forget what you have and what others would be grateful for. Don’t wait until you don’t have it.

  8. Melanie says:

    This has been the toughest day for me in this challenge, let me tell ya! First, here’s my list of things my body is able to do each day:

    1. Get out of bed
    2. Make coffee for me and my husband
    3. Feed my dogs
    4. Wake up my kids and help them get ready for school
    5. Make breakfast, lunch and dinner
    6. Clean the house
    7. Drive to work
    8. Take a shower or a relaxing bath
    9. Put on and take off my own clothes
    10. Feed myself
    11. Buy my own supplies
    12. Exercise

    It’s funny. It seems like a nice list of things I can do, doesn’t it? But when I look at it, all I can think of is how I can’t do those things the way I could just a couple of years ago. Back in 2011, I started noticing various issues with my health and have been on a journey ever since to figure out what is wrong with me. The best we can guess is Chronic Lyme Disease, which has manifested itself in many neurological ways for me. So while I can do the things I’ve always been able to do, I can’t do them quite the same. I used to run half-marathons, but now can barely squeak out 3 miles…and when I do even THAT distance, I have to stop and take walk breaks. I used to be able to do things in yoga (like binds and deep twists) that I can’t do anymore, due to the chronic pain and inflammation I now have in my muscles and joints. Driving, which is something I have always loved to do, causes extreme panic/anxiety attacks now because I get horrible vertigo whenever I am driving in lots of traffic or at night. I’ve been through 9 weeks of antibiotics, and wasn’t noticing much difference, so I decided to forego the next phase and instead have been implementing a more holistic approach. I’ve switched up my exercise routine to incorporate strength training (hence, how I found out about you in the first place ), and reduce the amount of cardio I was doing. I’ve switched up my yoga to include not just active styles, but also the more restorative and meditative styles, as it’s critical for me to keep my stress levels down…the more stress I have, the more my symptoms flare up. I’ve also gone Paleo with my diet (it’s been about a year now), and have incorporated natural supplements and essential oils, rather than resorting to antibiotics or other prescription medications. Though I’m not back to where I once was, I am noticing improvements all the time.

    Sooo….while I started off this day feeling depressed and frustrated, I ended on a high note. Because guess what? Maybe I can’t move the way I used to…maybe I am a bit limited…but I can MOVE. I can function, I can work, I can take care of myself and my family. And I’m making changes that are proving to be making a difference, so how can that not be beautiful? Life is good…and this challenge is helping me realize that more and more each day!

    • Megan says:

      Thank-you for sharing your story. I found this one tough too. Redefining who you are, and having an uncertain definition of “better” is a place full of anxiety. I too feel better for sharing (started off negative and then swung itself around! – Mission accomplished!)

  9. Angela Schauf says:

    I love my body because it lets me move so much at the gym that I’m warm enough to drive home w my sunroof open, car dancing to Poison. #LYBC
    Judge if you must!

  10. Kathy Kazmierski says:

    This is a mantra I tell myself every day. I have a movement disorder, fortunately one that is well controlled with medication. However before I was diagnosed, I had three years where even walking down the block, or walking down the grocery aisle took all the effort in the world. I would get “stuck” in my movement. My muscles were stiff and inflexible. I remember watching babies thinking “they can walk, just put 1 foot in front of the other”, it seemed so simple yet I could not do it. For three years, myself and my doctors thought I may have Parkinson’s disease. Fortunately an amazing doctor figure me out, and again with medication I’m pretty normal. I try every day not to take my body and my health for granted. Life is so much more than aesthetics. Now I just pray to be healthy and strong every day.

  11. Angela says:

    I hadn’t read this yet when I picked up my 45 lb 5 year old and hugged him before bed. I was grateful at that moment already that I COULd pick him up AND that I have had the privilege of growing him inside me, birthing him, breast feeding him, and taking care of him (and his older siblings). Even though I have only had time to read through your challenges and have not been journalling, you have brought my attention to so many things I have taken for granted!!! I am so blessed! <3 thank you for sharing your gifts and wisdom with us.

  12. Lissett says:

    My favorite days are the ones I get to spend outdoors hiking exploring nature. There’s no way to describe the amazing feeling you get walking up a mountain and reaching the top to see the incredible view! My body allows me to do that. It’s also there for me when I need to hug a friend who’s crying, when I want to play on trampolines with my brother, when I need to get back up after falling down while snowboarding, helping move a patient at work, lifting weights and feeling like a badass during spin class, and simply when getting into a comfortable position while I fall asleep. My body is there for me every single second and I appreciate and love it for all that it is.

  13. Trina says:

    Impossible day today. I cannot move freely right now due to migraines and knee problems. That’s part of why I am doing this challenge and working to become Stronger and healthier. I blogged about it. despite not being able to repeat the mantra tonight, I am thankful for the movements I am still allowed and the days I can get out of bed. I do love my body for those gifts. I do love my body for letting me do this right now and letting me communicate.

  14. Julie M. says:

    Wow – I am really shocked by how much this challenge is changing my view on my body. Like REALLY shocked. I think I have realized that I really had no repertoire of nice things to say in my head to myself – at all… Now, with the different mantras to choose from, I feel overwhelmed with the positive thoughts I can use each day. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to the fact that losing the last 5 pounds was not the answer to my body happiness, it was changing my attitude.

    At the gym with my trainer this morning I found myself actually focusing on my strength, movement, and power. Not being embarrassed of my few rolls in my stomach when I was lifting weights and trying to “hide” them from the trainer while I was on the rowing machine. I talked myself into an awesome mood and am looking forward to my day.

    You rock Molly – thanks for helping me turn a corner.

  15. Jennifer says:

    ”I love my body. It allows me the privilege to move freely, and I will take full advantage of that privilege as often as I can.”
    I have a chronic kidney disease, I had Ricketts and I am Deaf. My body did not develop the way other peoples’ did and so as a consequence one of my hips is misaligned and I cannot do certain exercises exactly right to show my clients. BUT I do not let it stop me.
    I swim, almost daily. I run 5ks but I can’t do a whole lot further than that because of the hip. I lift weights but I have to be super mindful of the how. I train my clients by verbally explaining exercises, showing them, explaining why I can’t do it right, and then helping them get their bodies to do it the right way.
    I love hiking, snow skiing, and cycling. I have always been active and I intend to remain that way as long as my body will allow it.

    • Megan says:

      Thank-you for this. I’m in a period of adjustment around an injury and hearing that training is still a viable option, albeit a little different is always good to hear. I always joke with my clients “DO as I say, not as I DO!)

  16. Megan says:

    This challenge couldn’t come at a better time…especially day 8…and hearing the “because it can move” stories and challenges. I tore my Achilles tendon playing basketball in October. I felt invincible that day, rocked my morning workout, had a great day at work that progressed into a very dynamic/aggressive and skillful first quarter of my game (at age 36, I felt like a rockstar posting up to girls who just finished playing college ball)..and then it happened. After the surgery, being in a cast for 3 months and on crutches in the Canadian winter didn’t even seem so bad. I did what I could in my moon boot, leading spin classes, kettle bell classes and venturing into the weird ‘machine land’ at the gym (on crutches no less!). I marvelled at the ability of the human body to heal itself. My spirits remained high knowing I had done all I could do to keep mobile and not spend the winter on the couch.

    Then…the cast came off. Cool..and OMG, where did my calf go? How come I can’t point my toes? Why is my tissue attached to the scar on the back of my leg? How come my soleus wont flex? How come I can’t lift my heel off the ground? Progress was fast in the few weeks that past, slowly being able to kick in the pool and adding in tension on the spin bike, increasing ROM in my squats etc. Wow, just wow…but then the big changes stopped, and the frustration, regret and even mild despair set in. I keep hearing from specialists that I may not be able to lift my heel off the ground no matter how much physio I do (bye bye sports, running, jumping, thrusting…everything I feel alive and passionate about)

    I love my body for what it used to do, I love that I am strong enough, agile enough to keep at it while injured, but what I struggle with is now I may have to redefine ME…The absolute core of who I am and hwat i feel proud of is threatened. Feeling happy and grateful for where I am now seems like a cop-out somehow. I always pictured myself entering my 40s as a woman who still could out sprint, out jump, out power any of her peers, and as a 60 year old woman running 10k’s. I was at peace with all my little inner demonic issues with body image because I had all this other stuff going for me. Now I don’t.

    I’m a positive person, I never jump to the worst conclusion and never say never…but even that hopeful disposition does not always shield you from the uncertainty that change can sometimes cause. On one hand this is silly…other people would love to be able to do what I’m able to do right now, which makes me feel guilty for having negative thoughts, while others just pipe in with, oh, just keep doing physio and you will be fine.

    I love my body because it has an amazing ability to adapt and change with what’s thrown at it. There. Simple right? Now I just need to be at peace with what is, and not what should be, especially that of which is out of my control.

    Thanks for all the posts. I’m off to do some lunges now that I’m stable enough to not fall on my face! (that’s new this week, woot!)

  17. Kate says:

    This one was really special for me – I went from doing triathlons one month to having reactive arthritis and not being able to move the next – couldn’t drive because I couldn’t lift my arms to get them to the steering wheel, couldn’t hug my kids with anything other than gravity, had to allow hours to walk down the street, only with very high doses of steroids could I do anything. I though that life as I know it was over – I was re-thinking my entire future – wondering if my husband would stick with me – “through sickness” is something you say in your vows but it’s a big ask when your wife can’t lift her arms to hug you and is so depressed….. So, I know what it feels like to be unable to move – let me tell you ladies, it is truly unimaginable!!!! I know what an amazing privilege it is to move!!!! I have movement – not like before but I have movement and IT IS A PRIVILEGE!!!

  18. Giselle says:

    I love my body. It allows me the privilege to move freely, and I will take full advantage of that privilege as often as I can.
    -Wake up
    -Get up
    -Run
    -Walk
    -Lifting weights
    -Dance
    -Jump
    -Write
    -Read
    -Express

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