By Madeline Brady, Regular ContributorOctober 4, 2015
My body is a place of celebration, anxiety, and uncertainty. Some days I love what I see in the mirror and other times I can’t believe this is what I look like. I fancy myself a pretty healthy human (I eat whole foods, workout regularly, care for my mental well-being, etc.), but even then I still struggle.
I wrestle with the guilt that I should be doing more for my body, but also fully believe that life needs balance and self-love and chocolate cake.
This escalated even further over the summer when I spent a lot of time with my very health conscious Significant Other. His approach to a healthy lifestyle seemed so extreme to me; he was counting calories, intensely exercising, and obsessing over the scale. At times, I was appalled at the way he treated himself. I tried to stay zen about it. I tried to talk with him about lightening up. I tried to remind myself of my own totems of balance and compassion.
But soon all my days were days I hated what I saw in the mirror.
image via rebootedbody.com
So, I adopted some of my SO’s health habits, thinking maybe that would help, maybe this was really just the jumpstart I needed to step up my health game. I ran more consistently, ate more spinach and less cake, downloaded an app to help keep me on track. My SO got happier as the summer went on, but I became more miserable. He found accomplishment and relieved stress in other parts of his life by following his health plan. I just wallowed in guilt and self-loathing.
Every now and then you need a reminder of why you believe certain things, and I think this was mine.
I deeply believe that health is for you and your body. It’s for your strength and energy and longevity. It’s for fewer colds and more days doing what you love. To think that I could create a healthy lifestyle based on numbers and guilt was crazy, because that’s simply not how I function. I have to feel it!
But even as I was reminded of the love I have for my own way of being, I also learned that everyone is different.
As much as I disagree with the way my SO does things sometimes, I have to respect his body and mind and believe that he knows what’s best for him. As much as I love to preach the sort of self-love that I embrace, I need to accept that, at the end of the day, some people feel best when they give themselves a little kick start. Everyone deserves to treat their own body in whatever way they please, even if I don’t agree with it.
As for me, I’m going to stick with the chocolate cake…
How do you show your body some love? What gets you motivated? How do you stay healthy? Tell us below!
Madeline Brady is a soon-to-be recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College where she majored in English and Theater. She is looking forward to joining the real world, learning how to cook more than cereal, and living abroad after graduation. Her passions include running, music, feminism, and spending way too much time on Instagram.
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