(Psssst! If you’re “late” to the challenge and just getting started, that’s OK too! Just go at your own pace!  Start with this blog post and scroll to the bottom, and make sure you have what you need to complete the challenge and fill out the 10 questions you need to fill out before you get started.  Then you can take it day by day at your own pace!)

Recap

Happy Monday Everyone!  Can you believe we only have a week of the challenge left?  I can’t.  It’s flown by and I am super grateful to all of you for participating.

Yesterday’s reason to love your body was:

“Because it’s sexy.”

I noticed that this reason seems to bring up some discomfort in a lot of women.  I’m not sure if it’s because they have been afraid to think of themselves as sexy, or they are afraid of their own sexuality, or if they had a negative sexual experience in their past, or if they have been raised to believe that being sexy/sexual is wrong — I’m just not sure.

I’m definitely not here to tell people how they should feel or what is right or wrong for them, but I do believe that allowing yourself to feel sexy/sexual is a critical part of the human experience, and it’s my hope that every woman figures out a way to get in touch with that side of herself at some point.

Here is a contribution from a brave woman about her experience:

“My body feels sexiest when I allow it too.

I find I spend a lot of time hiding my sexiness from others, even from my husband. This is due to an incident that happened years before I met him. I have spent decades hiding my best assets and features.

I wear old baggy clothes so no one will see the beauty buried deep within me that was shattered by another. But even with that said I feel sexy when I exercise or when I hug my husband .

I guess I feel sexy when I can be the best me I can. I know I am sexy even though I hide it well.”  – Joanne

Thank you to Joanne for bravely sharing her thoughts.

And now day 21!

***PLEASE BE AWARE, THERE ARE GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR BELOW***

Reason #21 To Love Your Body

21. Because it tells my life story.

I love, love, love this reason.  Like, love it.  Did I mention that I love it?!

There’s something so special and amazing and beautiful about the story our bodies tell about our lives.

Maybe you’re 50 years old, but still have your tell-tale broad shoulders from being a competitive swimmer as a teen.

Maybe you have more wrinkles than you’d like, but you got them spending your summers at the beach with your family.

Maybe you have stretch marks and some extra skin on your belly from your pregnancy with your darling children.

So much of our life’s history is marked on our bodies through freckles, wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, birth marks, broken bones, and more.  And we often see these as imperfections, but they’re not.  In fact, they are the grandest of storytellers.

Personally, I have a long snaking scar on my elbow from a surgery I had when I was 9.  It was at this time that doctors (and my family) discovered that I have a heart condition called Mitral Valve Prolapse.  My heart stopped during surgery and scared everyone very much.  While this condition doesn’t affect my everyday life much, it’s still good to know that I have it.

I’m also covered in freckles and moles from all of my days at the pool as a child, and from the sun-worshiping that I did before I took charge of my health (for the record, I still expose my skin to sun, but in much more moderate amounts).

What parts of your life story does your body tell?

Read below as Melanie shares her story:

“Hello Molly, 

I have been reading and enjoying your series on Love your Body and I want to contribute by telling my own story. 

I am an artist, a wife, a cat-mom, and a breast cancer survivor. I got diagnosed a bit over 3 years ago. 

When reviewing my options as to how to proceed with reconstruction, I realized none of it would work for me. I did not have enough body fat to move from here to there, nor did I want to have multiple scars over my entire body, I could not imaging moving muscle from my belly to create the semblance of an insensate breast mound, I could not imaging living with a single breast, nor could I see myself wearing the shape of a breast to conform to societal standards.

Melanie Testa

So I decided to ‘Go Flat’, and had both breasts removed.

I did not know anyone who had chosen this option. I had no idea what to expect. I went from a 34DD to flat. I told myself that there was no need to be modest and I decided to have good body image. Yes. I just plain -decided- to have a good body image. When I go to the gym, I get dressed just like I did prior to my new body shape. I do not wear breast forms because my body is good enough, just the way it is. Breast cancer happens, unfortunately. And I do everything in my power to connect with my new shape. 

I had not exercised prior to treatment, and I understand it is helpful in helping the body reject disease, so I started lifting heavy things and began to seek out vibrant, passionate women like yourself, Marianne Kane and Jen Sinkler

And this is an important point to the success of my choice: I do not accept the prevailing thought processes of mainstream beauty ideals. I choose not to read ‘women’s magazines’, where beauty ideals are perpetuated, I have bought exactly one fitness magazine in my lifetime, and this was because Maggie Smith was photographed for it (Maggie is also a ‘Flattie’ and an inspiration to me.

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/conditions/breast-cancer/why-i-gave-up-my-breasts/). I seek out women like yourself who choose to break down the barriers and honestly inform their followings. 

And I choose to be the inspiration I needed when I was going through treatment and making these very difficult decisions. 

(Editor’s Note: Just a heads-up, the link below does contain nude photos. They are a part of Melanie’s story, and I think they are extremely beautiful and brave. Just wanted you to be aware before clicking the link). 

http://melanietesta.com/2014/02/the-grace-to-be-flat-and-fabulous/

After going through treatment, experiencing chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, I realized what an intense, beautiful and interesting subject my body is. I healed wonderfully from everything they threw at me. My body is resilient, strong, capable, available and worthy of my complete attention. I choose to get out of my own way.

Our minds have great impact on our bodies. Thinking negative thoughts translates into negativity within our bellies, our muscles, our breasts, and cancer teaches me that I need to be nice to myself both body and mind. 

I do not mean to imply that my journey has been easy, but I can confirm it has been worthwhile.

This is my mantra, “My body is beautiful, No Matter What”.

Thank you for being all you can be. Thank you for helping other people do the same.  – Melly”

Wow Melly.  Thank you for sharing your story.

Mantra:  “My body carries the markings that tell my life story.  These are all beautiful and unique to me.”

Repeat this (to yourself or out loud) 10 times right now,  10 times during your action step, and 10 times before bed.

Action step:  This action step might take a bit longer than 5 minutes, but I think it’s worth it.

I want you to spend 1-2 minutes visualizing yourself as someone who is very advanced in age  (80+-ish).  I want you to picture what your life will have been like.  How it will have been lived.  What your body will have carried you through.

Then I want you to write a letter to yourself at the age you are now, from the age you are then.  So if you’re 30 now, you are writing a letter from your 80-year-old self to your 30-year-old self.

What kind of things will you say?  Do you think your 80+-year-old self will be chastising you because your thighs aren’t smaller?  Do you think she will be angry at you for not eating less? Or spending more time at the gym?

I have a feeling that woman will tell you to enjoy every single moment that you have with your body from now until eternity.  She will tell you to enjoy all that can do, and all that it can see, and all that it will do for you in your lifetime.

She will tell you to cherish every waking moment you have that you are healthy, and happy, and alive.

Take her advice.  She’s a smart lady.

FIND DAY 20 HERE

FIND DAY 22 HERE

15 Responses to Love Your Body Challenge – Day 21

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