Life is what it is. There will be good days and bad days. Some days we’ll feel good, other days we won’t feel our best. We will face challenges and hardships. We will feel discouraged, frustrated, sad, angry, disappointed, overwhelmed and hurt but some days we’ll feel joy, hope, gratitude and blessed. Some days we’re okay and other days not okay at all. But it’s all valid and you are heard and seen.
How are you feeling today? I hope you are okay and enjoying your day!
The thing that can get us through life no matter what is thrown at us is our self-confidence and acceptance of ourselves. If you can accept, embrace and feel good about who you are, you can live a life that is worthy of you. You have to believe you are beautiful and good enough. Self-love would be nice too. If you can feel all those things about yourself, then nothing can knock you down permanently. You know that, no matter what, you will not give up because you are a fighter. You are strong. You are brave. You are resilient.
YOU ARE PRETTY, PLUS AND PROUD! Now go out and conquer the day. No matter what the day brings, you can handle it.
Everyone always has an opinion of someone else. We all do it. We make random comments on what someone is wearing or how they styled their hair or on how many tattoos cover their skin. We judge people based on how they look. We make assumptions about them based on their size, weight, race, gender, age and skin colour. The fact remains though that your body is YOURS and whatever choices you make for yourself are your business and nobody else’s.
YOU choose what to wear or how to style your hair. YOU decide what to eat and how much. YOU decide when you want to move your body or how much to move. YOU decide whether you want tattoos, piercings or body modifications. It’s YOUR BODY, YOUR CHOICE! Rest assured that you are capable, worthy, good enough and deserving of whatever kind of life you envision for yourself no matter what you look like on the outside. None of that superficial stuff counts when it comes to your talents, intelligence or abilities.
There will be people who doubt you. There will be people who scoff at you or make fun. There will be people with opinions that will hurt you and make you question yourself. There will be people who will try to erode your confidence. DO NOT LET THEM TEAR YOU DOWN! Their ignorance and disrespect is their weakness and your disregard for them is your strength.
Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and leave those who have negative opinions of you behind in the dust of your success and happiness.
*If you are involved in self-harm or destructive behaviour, that is not okay. Seek immediate professional medical attention.*
Growing up I learned that exercise was for losing weight, looking slimmer, being attractive and more acceptable. It wasn’t really about health and how it made you feel. Therefore, exercise was a chore, something you had to do but didn’t really want to do or enjoy doing. At least that’s my narrative. I wanted to fit in and be popular. I wanted to wear clothing like other girls my age. Thus began the dieting yo-yo game because diets don’t work, at least for the long haul. Thus began a war with my body that would last until I was almost fifty years old.
Lately though, I have felt a shift occurring in my thoughts on exercise and movement. I have come to realize that movement can be enjoyable and it doesn’t have to be about weight loss. I move my body naturally in my day to day life and that movement, cleaning, laundry, gardening, are all valid and valuable. I move my body when I want to and feel like it. I don’t push myself to keep a rigid exercise schedule and I am compassionate and kind to my body when it’s not feeling up to doing a lot and this is all okay. I know that when I do an activity I enjoy, I feel better during and after completing it. I know movement helps me feel better, not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well. It reduces my stress, makes me better able to cope with life’s ups and downs and it’s a nice way to spend time with friends and family.
Exercise doesn’t have to be the traditional go to the gym five days a week and work it until you’re drenched in sweat. All movement is important and counts. I enjoy restorative yoga, meditation and stretching, swimming in the summer and biking. I like going for short walks around the block with my dog and Zoom exercise classes from the MS society designed specifically for anyone with MS or who has mobility issues. I do these things because I want to, not because I have to. I do these things not to change my body but to feel good in the body I have.
If getting out of bed is the only movement you can muster for today, then that’s okay. If you think going for a short walk on a lunch break would be nice then do it. If doing a quick 10 minute yoga class from YouTube is all you have time for, wonderful! Do what you can, when you have time and feel like it. Never feel pressured to move. Don’t allow other people to guilt you into movement. Don’t do it with the only intention that you want to be more acceptable to society. Do it for you and how it makes you feel.
Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and I hope you join me on this new journey where movement is fun, motivating, energizing and healing.
In your past what would the reason be for moving your body, for exercising? I think for most of us our motivation when we are young is for appearance and wanting to fit in and be popular. At least when I was a teenager, being able to wear the same fashion as everyone else and having people like me, was enough of a motivator to try and exercise. I just wanted to be slim so I would be like everyone else. It didn’t usually work for the long haul as I wasn’t really an athletic person. I didn’t enjoy exercising and it was hard to watch what I ate while living at home and having my meals all prepared for me.
Looking back now I realize that my why for exercising was what held me back from success. Wanting to be slim, to be popular and have people like me is the wrong motivator. Moving your body shouldn’t be done to please other people. Movement should be done for yourself. Activity improves your mental, emotional and physical well-being. It can improve your mood, make you more productive and help you cope with life’s hiccups a little more effectively. You’ll be happier and have more energy to do other things that you enjoy.
The key to movement is finding something you like to do, that doesn’t feel like something you have to do, another chore. I enjoy yoga, even if it’s only a short 20 minute practice. I enjoy seated cardio classes. I’ve been participating in a series of zoom classes put on by the MS Society and Toronto Rehab designed for people with MS or mobility issues. My daughter has been joining me so it’s been a fun activity for us to share. I enjoy going for short walks around our block with my dog and anyone else who wants to join me. In the hot weather I enjoy riding my electric tricycle (yes it has three wheels as I have no balance, lol) and swimming. I do these things because they have been fun, I feel good when I’ve done them and in this pandemic, it gives me something to use up the time during long days in lockdown.
My reason for moving my body has changed and thus my feelings toward exercise have changed also. I don’t move my body to lose weight, to look better, to fit in or so people will like me better. I am doing it for myself and improving how I feel on the inside. If I’m a happier person, then people will automatically be drawn to my sunny disposition. As for my shape and size, take me or leave me. If you don’t accept me as I am then I don’t need or want you in my life anyway. It’s no longer about appearance, it’s about feelings.
So If working out has been something you’re avoiding because it takes too much effort or you don’t think it’s doing what you want it to, maybe you need to examine your reasons why. Are you exercising because you think you should so you’ll be more acceptable to the outside world? Or do you want to move because it’s fun and helps you feel better on the inside? Change your why and I bet movement won’t be such a chore any more. Start slow. Don’t push yourself too hard and don’t beat yourself up if you miss a planned activity or don’t feel up to doing anything. Do what you can, when you can and enjoy the process. No pressure, just fun.
Be Pretty, Plus and Proud of every time you stand up and move. Don’t be afraid to try something new or retry something old. Find a friend to make movement a social outlet or a family member looking to improve their relationship with movement. You are capable and you got this!
*Always consult your doctor before starting any new activity!*
You are enough always. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, what gender you identify as, who you love, what religious beliefs you have or don’t have, what job you do, what education you have, whether you are young or old, whether you feel capable or not. You are enough just as you are and you don’t have to change unless you want to.
Your body does not define you. No individual characteristic defines you. You are and will always be known for your personality and how you live your life. Are you kind? Are you helpful? Are you considerate? If the answer is no, then these are the things that should change, not your clothing size, the number on the scale or anything about your outer appearance.
Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and rest assured that unless you are an evil individual full of hate, you are enough today, tomorrow and always.
Your body is like a magic lamp. It holds all kinds of wonderful things inside and when you care for it, magical things can be accomplished. Some days you may not feel very equipped, energized or motivated to do much of anything. On days when I feel like that, I think of all the people who wish they could do the stuff I do in a day and that inspires me to get up and get moving. I’m not comparing myself to anyone else nor do I allow myself to feel bad if I can’t accomplish the same things as everyone else (I do have MS after all) but I do allow comparison to jolt me into action to do what I can.
My body may be bit broken but it can still do lots of things. It can clean my home, walk around the block, do yoga, complete an hour cardio (seated) and stretching exercise class, ride a bike, swim, light gardening, slow dance, drive, pick berries, write and create. Sometimes I have to rest between jobs and it may take me a bit longer to get things done but I do it anyways. Sometimes my back hurts or my legs feel weak. Sometimes I am fatigued, but I do it anyways for all the people who can’t and wished they could. If I allowed these things to stop me, I would spend life sprawled on my couch and that is not how I want to spend my time here on earth. Every day is a blessing and I refuse to let it pass me by, not achieving anything. Sometimes when I am feeling my worst, getting up and doing stuff helps me feel better. When I’m in a negative headspace, getting a task checked off my to-do list helps me feel more positive.
So for today, no matter how you may feel or what challenges you may be facing, try getting up anyway. Try to do something and Be Pretty, Plus and Proud of yourself and the magical vessel that is your body.
*If you are feeling overwhelmed and are struggling mentally or physically, seek professional medical care.*