Body Positivity

As defined by Wikipedia – “Body positivity/ neutrality is a social movement initially created to empower individuals no matter their physical weight or size, while also challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body. The movement advocates the acceptance of all bodies regardless of physical ability, size, gender, race, or appearance.”

Body positivity/ neutrality is about so many things. For me, body positivity is about how my body feels. I have severe scoliosis, and during this past year it’s been a struggle to keep up a regular routine. Pre-pandemic, I had such a strict regular routine. My day started with a hot shower to relieve the morning arthritis pain, then a protein and juice shake, and 5 to 6 days a week: hot yoga. Well that all abruptly changed.

Debra Corley

In the beginning of the pandemic, I kept up as best I could with yoga, but without the heat, it wasn’t working very well. As for diet, being home all the time it is just too easy to snack, a lot. I tried so many healthy options of snacks but felt I was just snacking so much and the calories just add up. What is there to do?

I was always on the go pre-pandemic, but now I was sitting a lot. With scoliosis, good posture is always a must. I always have to be thinking of not “giving in” to my curve. It became just another issue to worry about. Worrying is never a good thing. I also went through phases of, “Well this is temporary,” but all the “uncharacteristic” behavior lead to back pain. Scoliosis doesn’t realize what temporary is. Scoliosis doesn’t take time off. I have always had a really strong core, but I was losing that strength. And for me, even gaining a couple pounds put extra stress on the weak part of my spine, which results in a lot more pain. It just seems like a vicious cycle.

It’s time to see the light. I have decided that since I just received my first COVID vaccine, it time to step up my healthy routine again. It’s not easy! I don’t want to change the way I’m staying safe at all until 2 weeks after I’ve have both doses of vaccine. That means in 5 weeks, I’ll (hopefully) be able to get back to some hot yoga classes. In the meantime I’m going to share my plans to get back on a good health plan.

I have always had a love/ hate relationship with my body because of my scoliosis. I needed to stay slim because of the pain scoliosis causes. Since I am “crooked” I’ve always dressed a certain way to disguise my disfigured shape. Also there are a number of things my body just can’t do.

Debra Corley

I realize that if I let things go too long, getting back to feeling great is going to be difficult. Aging is not helping either; I feel that I’m always working a bit harder for the same results. So, it will be an uphill battle if I continue on this path.

I’m going to imagine my body (and really just my head) kinda floating up on top of this amazing machine. I’m not hating my body or mad at myself for not being perfect. Sometimes “machines” need a little tune-up, right? It’s a mindset that challenges me: the concept of loving my body no matter what it looks like. Being body neutral values the facts of what your body does for you over how it looks, and understanding what limitations your body may have. I love it when my mindset for accepting myself when it’s “not the norm” is letting me feel uplifted.

For example, I love to be in nature. I will consciously notice how my body carried me to the top of a trail with a great view of nature, rather than focusing on what my body had to do throughout the hike, or that maybe I had to rest my back for a few minutes before I could continue. I made a promise to me that even though I’m wanting some things to be different, I will accept my body as it is today. And to do this takes time, patience, and lots of practice. I will think, “My body can carry me through my favorite hiking trail,” or, “I can still do a yoga class in my home, and a handstand.” I try really hard to listen to my body, to take a rest day and not feel guilty. Realizing my body worked really hard and that was important to me to achieve that fitness goal. Now I’m going to observe that my body needs to rest, and enjoy that rest.

When it comes to eating, I’m trying really hard to be mindful about the amount I’m eating. Not keeping junk food in the house really helps, too. I’m not good with fad diets, I feel that your diet should be a lifestyle that has to be used daily.

And lastly (but super important) is mindfulness. I try to meditate a few minutes every day to promote a mind-body connection. It is so important for me to keep a body-neutral mindset, not just for now, but for forever also. I know it’s been such a difficult year for so many, and in so many ways we could have never imagined.

I would love to hear how your outlook on the pandemic winding down is motivating you.

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