I know that many of us feel like our bodies are betrayers. They jab at us with loud pangs of hunger when all we want is to diet away the pounds. They get exhausted when we want to work out harder. They don’t burn as many calories as we want them to. They get flabby where we don’t want them to.
I’m sure you’ve got a big list of things you dislike about your body and what you wish you could change. But all the while you’re bashing your body and viewing her as the ultimate traitor, she’s there for you, day in, day out. Through the insults, the deprivation, the yo-yo dieting, the periods of inactivity, the periods of rigorous activity, she’s there.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Saad Shaheed
Whether it’s from years of disliking your body or because of a steady hush of hatred, it’s probably safe to say that you’ve forgotten the amazing abilities you have thanks to every nook and cranny of your body. Sure, you can always work out harder, run faster and do whatever else your nay-saying brain is currently muttering about.
But tell those negative thoughts to take a break. Today, as a fun activity (hopefully you’ll find it fun), I’d love for you to consider, at least for a few moments, the amazing things your body helps you do. No matter how seemingly small these things might appear, trust me, they’re biggies. We take for granted all the things our bodies help us to do. Try not to anymore.
Here’s my list of 50 amazing things my body helps me do:
1. My body enables me to write.
2. It lets me express love and give comfort with hugs and kisses.
3. It gets me from A to Z.
4. It helps me put my legs over my head in Pilates class. (I’m still working on getting them alll the way over, but someday.)
5. No matter how mean I’ve been to it or how much I’ve mistreated it, it’s still there, in the morning, to help me get up.
6. At my peak training, it helped me leg press over 300 -lbs.
7. It helps me ride my bike, which I can enjoy for miles with my boyfriend.
8. It healed itself, with the help of my mom and a physical therapist, even though the doctor said I might not walk and if I did I’d do it with a big limp.
9. My body helps me swim, enjoying the exhilaration of being in the ocean.
10. It helps me smile and laugh.
11. It enables me to speak my mind. And I talk quite a bit. Surely, you’re surprised, considering this blog is never wordy.
12. My body lets me get on the swings and just take off (the swings were my favorite part of going to the park; still is).
13. It helps me beat the common cold and other ailments.
14. My body helps me pick up my kitty Charlie who looks pretty darn young for his age (he’s 15). Trust me, it’s a feat. He’s about 19 pounds of cuteness and fur. 🙂
15. Though it might not be something it helps me do exactly, but my body has a rich heritage. Even though my dad’s not here, his spirit lives within me. My grandma’s does, too.
16. My body helps me listen to music.
17. It helps me sing (for the record, the product of the singing doesn’t matter).
18. It lets me see the sunshine and bask in it.
19. It lets me truly taste the textures, spices and nuances of every food.
20. My body helps me do yoga.
21. It helps me get on the elliptical machine and go, go, go.
22. It helps me feel a piece of music. If I’m listening to a song with strings, it stirs my emotions. It touches me. When I hear a fast song, my body springs into step and feels a flurry of excited emotions.
23. It takes me to Broadway shows, which I absolutely love.
24. It lets me lift weights.
25. It lets me lift heavy boxes and carry bags of groceries.
26. It lets me drive.
27. It helps me try new things, like skiing.
28. My body helps me dance.
29. My body lets me express my emotions physically (like crying).
30. It helps me read.
31. It lets me feel the warmth of the sand against my feet when I’m at the beach.
32. It helps me help others, like helping my mom move furniture or carry those groceries.
33. It enables me to clean and get organized, which doesn’t sound like much fun, but it helps me feel free.
34. It enables me to stretch.
35. It helps me know when I’m hungry and when I’m full.
36. It helps me manage stress by letting me breathe deeply.
37. It enables me to punch my hardest at a punching bag (and get out any frustrations).
38. It enables me to do a great pedicure (hey, self-care is important to a healthy life).
39. It enables me to draw, create handmade cards and scrapbooks.
40. My body takes care of all the behind-the-scenes stuff — like my heart pumping, my kidneys working and so on — so I can focus on living life.
41. After a stressful event, a tough workout, a day of insult hurling, my body has always forgiven me and still lets me build up my strength.
42.My body is flexible. Some nights I might not sleep as many hours or some days I might overeat, but my body adjusts.
43. My body lets me enjoy the delicious smell of fresh flowers.
44. It enables me to feel another’s touch.
45. It allows me to sit for hours, looking through old photo albums and reminiscing with my mom.
46. It gets me to the airport (and through the somewhat anxiety-provoking event of flying) so I can go to NYC and see my family.
47. It enables me to give myself a quick massage for a dose of relaxation and tension relief.
48. It lets me watch my fave TV shows (hello Fringe, What Not to Wear, White Collar, Burn Notice, & CSI Miami!).
49. It transports me to another time. Whenever I smell, taste, hear or see something familiar, my body transports me to that memory. I can feel those emotions. I can taste that food. I can see those moments. And, to me, that’s a precious gift.
50. So is this one: My body gives me life.
What’s at least one thing your body helps you do? No matter how simple or small, I bet it’s incredible. Maybe your body has helped you give birth or overcome a terrible illness. Maybe it helps you play with your kids or helps you kick butt in a kickboxing class. Please share as many wonderful things as you like below.