Recently I was scrolling through my phone and found a quote that said, “I don’t think six pack abs are wellness.” I related to it so much!
I think out of my whole body, my abdomen was my obsessive challenge. Every time I was exercising or watching myself in the mirror, I needed to confirm that my six pack was there.
That was a very exhausting behavior.
Looking at the picture below, anyone would think I was fit and healthy. But I wasn’t. When I turned 35, my body shouted for help and I decided to listen. At that time I was worried about calories and fat. Every time I had a plate in front of me, all that came to my mind was the need to check if there was any fat. For years, I practiced a non-fat diet.
When I review my behavior back then, I keep thinking, “What were the benefits on the other side of the balance that made that way of life worthy?” Why would I take the chance? Because I had a need of being loved and accepted, especially from men.
I am so grateful I woke up.
Now that I am using Pilates and Yoga to move my body, I can see from a different perspective how we have been taught about approaching our body’s movement. When I am doing the movements at Reformer Pilates and peek at the rest of the group, I sometimes see beautiful souls pushing ropes fast to gain more repetitions. It’s the same with the yoga practice. I have attended yoga classes where sweating and hard repetitions are the main part of the practice. Fitness clubs or boot camps are my favorites to observe this behavior. Souls watch themselves in the mirror while they carry the weights or move fast from one station to another while a person shouts at them to do it fast.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not about recognizing what is good or bad. The intention is bringing awareness to recognize why we move our body. What is our motivation?
My motivation back then was feeling accepted; feeling beautiful; whatever that means in my brain. When I got pregnant and Sebi was born, I realized that the body was meant for more important things than a six pack belly. My hips changed in so many ways. It feels like I fell apart and it has taken me years to heal. Then, I observe other behaviors: the expectations of women to be ready, working and with a six pack after delivering a baby. Or putting my life on hold until I bring my body back in the shape that my mind considered as beautiful. I felt frustrated for not being able to carry the stroller to the trunk because I was having a lot of expectation of myself.
Today I understand that all this change had to occur to make my mind see what was happening outside, and connect with the tools that were important for me. It took me time to find the movements that bring strength to my core.
After more than three years of practicing yoga and almost two years of doing Reformer Pilates at Citizen Pilates, I feel stronger and more connected with my body. I still sometimes watch myself in the mirror and expect to see another body, but I keep my mind aware of this pattern. It will take time but I don’t have to rush. Real healing occurs by going slowly and being aware of yourself.
Maybe in the future I will choose another tool to move my body, like dancing, or weights. Or do a boot camp session with friends, or hot yoga. However, the approach will be different because my mind is intended to feel safe, fun and relaxed while I move my body.