As I view the dark days of winter in my rear view mirrors and think about the months ahead, I find myself contemplating bathing suit season. That’s right, the dreaded time of year when we’re held accountable for our mid-winter indulgences. I admit it, I put on a few pounds. My stomach isn’t flat the way I want it to be. Could it be encroachment of the dreaded Muffin Top?
I found myself defaulting to considering quick weight loss strategies, accompanied by uncharitable thoughts about myself and unkind words about my body. “There is absolutely no reason,” I think, frustrated with myself, “why I shouldn’t look exactly like I did in my twenties. I just need more discipline!” I seem to be overlooking the fact that I’ve had a few kids and it’s thirty years later.
Okay, I’m a psychologist, I should know better. Enduring change is built on love and compassion, not hatred. History holds countless examples.
But I’m still human. It was Mackenzie, my daughter, and our Landing Strong Director of Community Engagement and Wellbeing who reminded me of this. I made a comment about being displeased with my muffin top, to which she replied:
“Remember, the top of the muffin is the best part”.
The wisdom of these words struck deep, for I know in my heart that I am in the best years of my life. Instead of internally criticizing, I’ll focus on practicing loving compassion. A person who loves her body cares for it, exercising it regularly and nourishing it with whole foods and a rainbow of colour. A person who struggles with their body doesn’t connect with it or use it much, viewing food as the enemy. This makes enduring change very difficult.
I think our relationship with our bodies very much reflects our relationship with ourselves and with life in general. With courage, love, and compassion, we’re able to leave the dark days of winter behind.
Stuck in the dark corner of judgement and shame, we remain immobile. Change escapes us.
I’ll think of you all as I wander the nature trails with my dogs, enjoying the buds of spring and bursts of colour. I won’t focus on what I don’t want, but on what I desire, and allow that path to gently guide me forward.
Partners in recovery,
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Founder, Landing Strong