Mental Health Monday: How I transformed my body

If you are body-positive and against diet culture, please don’t be turned off by the title. Notice that I put this “body transformation” under “Mental Health.”

Selfie

You may know that I took a hiatus from blogging to focus on another project. I adapted a one-woman musical dinner theater show I did in 2017 into a shorter virtual concert produced by Santa Maria Civic Theatre. (Watch the whole thing here)

I got to watch the first edit after we finished recording to give my notes and input. And I saw my body clad in leather pants, a corset, and a crop-top, and I did not like what I saw. I felt unattractive and too big.

So, I did think about diet and exercise, but I also don’t want to give in to diet culture, body shaming, and unrealistic expectations of my body.

I’m a fairly active person. I like exercise and creating my own fitness plan. So, I tried to come up with a better plan.

Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you’re good enough, self-compassion asks, what’s good for you?

Kristen Neff

Rest

I have to do a reset on my health every so often, and I’ve learned that focusing on getting quality rest is the most important thing.

So. I started going to bed earlier and giving myself permission to nap when I’m tired, and even foregoing morning workouts if I didn’t sleep well enough the night before. In some ways, it’s really boring. My housemates get together to watch a movie at 9pm, and I head to bed.

Meditation

I like to listen to an audiobook or a podcast as I fall asleep. But sometimes I drift off more fully if I listen to a guided meditation instead. I use an app called MyLife, and I even invested money to get the version that allows me to access more meditations.

To fall asleep, some of my favorites are “Progressive Relaxation,” “Falling Asleep,” or “Warmth and Relaxation.” It’s interesting, because I normally don’t like progressive relaxation as a method, but the eight-minute guided meditation on MyLife works great for me.

MyLife has a feature where you can input how you are physically, mentally, and up to 5 emotions to get recommended meditations. Or, you can go straight to the library, which has tons of categories.

Love

I started hugging and stroking my belly every morning and telling it, “I love you.” Then, I found the body positive category on MyLife and did a meditation from that category every day to further my self-love and body -love.

I also adjusted my language for how I speak to myself. I started trying to make “I deserve” instead of “I should statements.” I deserve plenty of rest tonight, instead of I should go to bed early. I deserve a healthy, hearty meal instead of “I should eat more vegetables.”

Transformation

So, I watched the premiere of my show with my housemates. The exact video and the exact me in the exact outfit that I had criticized before. But this time I loved how I looked in it. I loved my body. I looked strong, curvy, feminine, and womanly.

Literally nothing had changed about the body I was looking at. It’s possible that my body had changed since then, but the video was the same body. But this time I loved it.

Question

Have you ever experienced a transformation based on changing your mind?

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