Why You and I Need to Stop Striving for the Perfect Body
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” - Amy Bloom
As I write today's blog post, I just finished a vanilla chocolate chip scone at Dean & Deluca. There was a point in time I would've chastised myself for this treat and regretted it. I still am fighting a feeling of guilt after finishing it.
I'm fighting the thoughts I used to have of the ways a simple treat will turn up in my body. Will it go straight to be lower belly pouch? Will it go straight to my thick thighs? These questions are a direct product of striving for the perfect body.
Do you ask yourself the same questions? Just like you, I’m victim to these thoughts that my body the way it is isn’t good enough.
In further reflection on my own experiences and observations, I’d love to share my own story of body positivity and what led to me stop striving for the perfect body.
The journey to a perfect body is harmful. The means to getting to the perfect body in our minds is bound to be harmful. Why? Once we start with the harmful thought that a perfect body is attainable, it manifests itself into the physical.
I used to suffer with anorexia in high school. In my freshman year of high school, it started with saying thighs were too thick, then my ass was too round, then my stomach was too large, then my arms were too big, and then my entire body was too fat.
Once I let those thoughts go deeper into the crevices of my mind, I began skipping dessert, then skipping breakfast, then skipping lunch, then skipping dinner. Soon enough, I barely ate the recommended calories for a growing young woman and picked at my food only eating two or three bites at most.
And guess what? My body still wasn’t perfect in my standards. It came to the point where I found myself in the school counselor’s couch and needed treatment for this journey toward a perfect body.
There is no such thing as a perfect body. This is a hard truth that must be said. A perfect body just doesn’t exist. Perfection means having absolutely no flaws, and there is no such thing in this world.
After I received therapy from my school counselor and support from friends/family, I was not exactly “cured.” I still suffered with the belief of needing a perfect body that followed me into college. I didn’t have an eating disorder but I began looking at working out as a way to get a perfect body.
In high school and college, I used yoga/Pilates videos to give me a flat stomach and Cardio/runs to keep me at a desirable lean figure. I used fitness as a way to punish myself after I felt I indulged too much. But something happened.
I’m not sure when, but one day in college, my perspective changed. I didn’t know what perfection was or if it was a real thing. I started viewing many women as beautiful in all shapes and sizes. I then even began looking in the mirror and seeing beauty.
An imperfect body is what makes us beautiful. Being unique is beautiful and flaws make us unique. Our tiger stripes, our love handles, our face freckles, etc. make us who are we today.
It’s almost six years after college, and I’m not 100% there with my body, but I do know that I am starting to love it. I’m starting to look at it for the beauty it is. I no longer am anorexic nor do I move my body as a way of punishment.
I view fitness and yoga as a celebration. I celebrate because I have a body to move. I celebrate because I have air to breathe. I celebrate because I am who I am. I celebrate because I am imperfect. I celebrate because I am beautiful.
You and I both need to stop striving for perfection with our bodies. Today, let’s make a pledge to ourselves. On this Sunday Soulday, let’s promise ourselves that we will stop striving for perfection, because our bodies are imperfectly beautiful.
Hell, that’s what beauty is. It’s imperfect, and each one of us imperfectly beautiful.