July 2, 2014

Many women feel defined by how they look, how their clothes fit, or how well they can disguise their ‘jiggly’ bits. It’s understandable, therefore, that their focus when losing weight can be on improving their looks.

But what if we could change that?

We don’t evaluate the worth of a winter jumper by its appearance. Depending on its purpose, appearance may matter, but ultimately function is much more important. It makes no sense to go out on a cold winter day in a beautiful jumper if it does nothing to keep us warm.

We all have ‘down’ times with our bodies. We might look in the mirror and just think “Yuk”. We might have ‘fat’ days, just like we might have ‘bad hair’ days. We might also have days where everything just feels too much, and the little Devil of Mischief sitting on our shoulder is shouting so loudly the Angel of Love can’t be heard.

So instead of focusing on appearance, let’s think about the body in terms of its functionality. Can it perform necessary daily tasks? Can it rise to the occasion when something unforeseen occurs? Can it plug away through tiredness, poor health, financial difficulties or whatever, and still look after the family? Can it offer comfort and a cuddle to those needing it?

Your body is a functional work of art that should be seen and loved for what it CAN do, not what it can’t.

Take some time to be thankful for what your body can do. Feel its strength, even in something as simple as carrying a basket of washing to the clothes line. Notice its flexibility, such as in the ability to pick things up off the floor. Marvel at its endurance: many women are busy all day and then still need to cook dinner, help with kids’ homework, sweep the floor and toss in a load of washing. And then we add exercise to our daily activities, and our strength, flexibility and endurance has a chance to improve.

We are all amazing at different things. Miranda Kerr might have an amazing physique, Oprah Winfrey an amazing TV empire, and Hillary Clinton an amazing political career, but they are not great at everything. Nor do each of us need to be at the top of our chosen field to be amazing.

Think of someone in your life who you admire. Chances are that your admiration has nothing to do with their appearance – it’s more about what they do, their personality, or their achievements. We look beyond the visual and appreciate the more important things.

Be as kind to yourself as you are to others in your life. Once you admit to the incredible skills, abilities and talents you have, your image in the mirror becomes less important. And with your focus on the functional and amazing things unique to you, it’s easier to take care of appearance if it still feels important.

How are you amazing?

This post was inspired by Andrea’s story on loving what your body can do.