Sometimes you don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone. Sad, but true. Just the other day I heard a woman in her 60’s talk about how insecure she used to be about her legs. She never wore skirts or shorts in her youth. But if she had known then what she knows now? She would have spent her twenties prancing around in Daisy Dukes in the cold of winter.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been guilty of this too. In the past, I’ve nitpicked and hated on every part of my body, and never stopped to appreciate my blessings. Days—months even!—went by when I treated my body like the enemy, and tortured it with deprivation, over training, and negative thoughts. I would even dress in outfits that resembled a mumu so I could hide every little “imperfection.” Even though my body was perfectly healthy, my only focus was on what I felt my body lacked instead of all its capabilities. My body allowed me to get from point A to point B with ease, yet I couldn’t get past the size of my hips, my tiny breasts, and my muffin top.
Recently, I learned that one of my best girl friends was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Despite her illness, her gratitude, strength and willpower is inspiring, admirable, and she is officially one of my heroes. When she was confiding in me, admittedly I was struck with guilt for all the times I took my body for granted. Like leafing through a flipbook, years of body cruelty flashed before my eyes. All the years that I beat myself up for the tiny bit of fat that hung over my jeans or that little bit of cellulite that ran down the back of my legs. Never once stopping to appreciate the miracle and privilege of a simple walk around the block.
At that moment, it became very clear to me that gratitude is something you must experience every day. It’s easy to feel grateful during times of great tragedy and celebration, but I've realized that simple acknowledgements of gratitude can be the difference between a life well lived, and a life that passes you by—the same holds true for your body.
Those small moments of gratitude can determine whether or not you choose to spend your mornings hating what you see in the mirror or immediately getting out of bed and going for a walk or run. The body never stays the same, but you have the choice to choose how you feel about it.
Make the commitment that today will be the day that you will find what I like to call “small gratitude.” Tiny, small, simple thoughts about your body, that if applied everyday, make huge monumental changes.
First thing in the morning, say your “small gratitude” at least 10 times either to yourself or write it down. Take the time to feel it in your heart. Don’t just rush through it. Repeat your small gratitude to yourself whenever you can remember throughout the day.
Try out these “small gratitudes.”
1. Thank you for getting me out of bed this morning.
2. Thank you for getting me to work.
3. Thank you for sitting while I listened to my friend.
4. Thank you for letting me hug him/her.
5. Thank you for having the ability to hold their hand.
6. Thank you for the belly laugh.
Before going to bed, take five to reflect about your day and your small gratitude.
Honor your body, honor you.
Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood's hottest stars are addicted to Kit's unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit's clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, "with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh." Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness.