Recently, I was talking to a woman who said, “I’m confused about body acceptance. Is this just an excuse to not take care of yourself?” I will tackle the word “excuse” in another post because that deserves the ceremonious blowing of my bullshit conch, so for now let’s tackle the latter.
What does “taking care of yourself” mean to you? What comes to mind when you say this to yourself?
Diet culture has brainwashed us into thinking that “taking care of yourself” means laughing with a big bowl of salad after your tabata class.
Outside of the fact that most of us will never experience the mysterious hilarity that accompanies gagging down a cherry tomato, we also have a very narrow point of view on what “taking care of ourselves” actually means.
Taking care of yourself is subjective, not an obligation and is only something you can define for yourself.
It’s about making choices with your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being in mind, knowing that sometimes you need to sacrifice one to honor another.
Or that sometimes none of these are honored because you are not perfect.
For me, what I do to take care of myself changes on an everyday basis.
Sometimes it means eating a giant bowl of ice cream for no other reason than it’s delicious (let’s be honest, this is more of an “often” thing).
Sometimes it means I have a chicken salad for lunch because that’s what I feel like eating.
Sometimes it means going to the gym and sometimes it means staying on the couch all day watching House Hunters International.
Sometimes it means eating something I don’t really like or that makes me bloated because there are no other options available and I will not go hungry.
Sometimes it means eating whatever is in my cupboard because life is too busy for me to cook and minimizing stress is my priority.
Sometimes it means spending an hour cooking a new recipe.
Sometimes it means taking time off from an activity that I love because my knee is hurting.
Sometimes it means working through knee pain in order to do a hike that I’ve been dreaming about for months.
Sometimes it means being sleep deprived and incapable of adulting for 24 hours because I chose to stay up late and pretend I’m still 22 with friends.
Sometimes it means saying no to friends because I need to go to bed at 9pm.
Do you see how there is no “right” way? Taking care of yourself is about choosing what you want and/or need in that moment.
And note that what is best for you may not always “feel” the best physically, be “the best” for your health (according to the internet) or be “the best” in someone else’s eyes.
Once again, taking care of yourself is subjective, not an obligation and is only something you can define for yourself.
It’s about saying no to the “should’s” and judgment and saying yes to being the boss of your body, health and life.
The way that you choose to “take care of yourself” does not define your worth. It does not make you a better or worse human.
You have full control to do whatever you want and be OK with it. Freeeeeeedom!