I don't remember ever feeling comfortable in my body. Perhaps I did as a child, but since the fourth grade when I started to grow breasts before most of the other girls, I felt awkward and uncomfortable in my skin.
As a teenager I bought into the idea that only thin was beautiful, and having a curvy figure was not what I wanted. Even though I was very normally proportioned, I still felt "fat." My freshman year of college I gained the nearly-inevitable freshman 15 and that summer I began my first real diet.
From the ages of 19 to 32 I tried pretty much every diet out there. I'm not going to bore you with the details - you know the drill. I lost some weight on each diet, sometimes even a lot of weight, only to gain it back plus more once I hit a plateau or had another setback.
At 32 I decided that rather than be thin, I wanted to be healthy. To me, that of course was the same thing. Even though I was trying to eat "well" and exercise, I kept gaining weight. I had just gotten married and was happy though, so I didn't let it get to me too much. Then in 2013 I got pregnant!
Ten weeks into my pregnancy I miscarried. It was horrible. I stopped caring about my health or looks or anything. I was depressed and obsessed only with trying to get pregnant again. I was more disconnected from my body than ever.
About six months later my fog lifted a little and I decided to try yoga. I was pretty nervous because as far as I knew fat people didn't do yoga, but I'd heard it was good for depression and I knew I needed to try something. I went to a local yoga studio and to my surprise, the woman who welcomed me was not what I thought of as a "yoga person." She was short and not super thin and bendy. She told me a bit about her journey with yoga and how it helped her learn to love herself and her body. Fascinating.
A couple of months later I found out I was pregnant again. As those of you who have been pregnant after a loss know, it was terrifying. I kept going to yoga classes, which helped me deal with my stress. The yoga was also starting to teach me to listen to my body.
Wait, listen to my body?? This was a totally foreign concept. Every diet I had ever been on told me that I couldn't trust my body. But now my hormones were taking over and my body was telling me *loudly* how it wanted to be treated. Some days it said "eat pineapple!!" Other days it was "go for a walk" or "sit down and rest" or "eat mashed potatoes" (it told me that last one frequently!). Amazingly, I started to listen. I did yoga and I listened to my body. My body said maybe yoga was a little much and so I did tai chi, and I listened to my body. Nine months later I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy.
There is more to the story, dealing with postpartum depression and an autoimmune disease and the associated joint pain, but that is another post for another day. The beauty of the story is that yoga taught me how to listen to my body. It taught me how to trust my body and myself. Each day it gets little bit easier.
So I invite you to come do some yoga with me, and maybe learn how to listen to your body a little bit more. Also, head over to my resources page to discover some awesome books and websites that can help on your yoga journey.