(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!)

Happy Day 8 y’all, and congrats on finishing your first week of the Love Your Body Challenge!

I’m glad you’re sticking with the challenge, and please remember that this challenge is not about perfection. It’s about doing the best you can at any given moment, and if you mess up or miss something, just get right back to it and don’t skip a beat.

Remember, you never know when you’ll stumble upon a mantra that will resonate with you more than the others.

Recap

Yesterday was Day 7 of the Love Your Body Challenge and it was about experiencing pleasure.  I received an extremely beautiful and brave email from a woman who has always struggled with allowing herself to experience pleasure during intimacy. Here is her story:

I have nothing profound to say, only that this mantra terrifies me! However, I do feel pleasure in the little things: my beautiful children, my sweet students, hearing the birds chirping during a grueling 10 mile run, my father’s smile, the joy of knowing an amazing Savior, & more things than I can ever begin to explain.

Pleasure in my body, not so much. For 16 years, I have hated the thought of intimacy with my husband. It is a duty, not a desire. At the age of 16, I became pregnant with my daughter. Believe it or not, but I was so bashful the day of the “deed” I hid myself as much as possible from his eyes. The next intimate moment with my now husband was 5 months later. He had two points of reference of seeing me: hiding under the covers, and great with child.

By the age of 17, I felt that my body was wasted from the pregnancy and delivery. After our second child was born, my body was only further ruined. How could this man possibly enjoy what he saw in front of him? I have been so focused on hiding things (rolls, stretch marks, cellulite, etc.) from him, that it took away the freedom to relish each other. Does that make any sense?

I have spent so many years working myself to death to erase time and regain some form of “beauty” about my body. Until the day 1 post, I don’t even think I considered that stretch marks were beautiful. I took a huge step and asked him to take day 1 pictures for me because I couldn’t get them myself. That was horrifying! He just didn’t understand why I was so uncomfortable.

Every day since, he has asked what the days challenge was. Tonight as I read today’s to him, I know that it will take some incredible strength. How can I possibly explain to him how I have cheated us out of 16 years? Even though this will be the hardest and most mortifying conversation we have ever had, I strangely feel emboldened.

Thank you for pushing me to be honest with myself and my spouse. I now understand, that pleasure is not purely physical, but an emotional state.

Powerful stuff. I’m in awe watching this woman conquer her most terrifying fears.

Remember, bravery isn’t about lack of fear, but triumph over it.

As for Day 8, here we are!

Reason #8 To Love Your Body

8. Because it can move.

As my girl Neghar Fonooni says, “Movement is a privilege.  Do it every day, as often as you can.

As a young gymnast and then cheerleader, movement came easily to me and I enjoyed it very much.  After years of being sedentary, I got back in the gym, and gained strength very quickly.  In fact, I pulled 285 at my first powerlifting meet (a push/pull meet in 2005) when I really hadn’t trained for it. I’ve done many crazy feats over the years from back flipping off of balance beams to deadlift 155 lbs. 54 times in 2 minutes, and for the most part, I’ve taken in for granted.

In February of 2012, I was deadlifting 300 lbs for a double from a 2 inch deficit (meaning I was pulling the weight 2 inches farther than normal), and something just felt wrong in my back almost immediately. It hasn’t been the same since and I haven’t squatted or deadlifted heavy in over 18 months. This, coupled with visiting my once-independent Gama last Spring after her recent stroke has made me especially cognizant of, and grateful for, my body’s ability to move.

I still struggle with debilitating back pain at times, which in turn, just makes me more grateful for movement when I am feeling healthy.

Mantra: “I love my body.  It allows me the privilege to  move freely, and I will take full advantage of that privilege as often as I can.”

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

Action Step:  Take 3 minutes to write down a list of all of the ways that your body moves each day.  From getting out to bed, to walking your dogs, to picking up your children, to performing a Turkish Get-up, your body does amazing things each day.  I also want you to take 1 minute to picture what it would be like to be impaired in some fashion — unable to walk or use one more of your limbs, or unable to move in some way that you enjoy moving now.  Picture than for 1 minute, and then spend the final minute being grateful for your ability to move.

Checklist:

1. Make sure you’ve signed up for my newsletter so you can get links to the new challenge every morning!
2. Make sure you’ve filled out the 10 questions at the bottom of this page (DO THIS BEFORE DAY 1) so you have your “starting point.”
3. Say your mantra 10 times immediately, during your action step, and before bed.
4. Complete your action step.
5. Check in with your accountability partner if you have one.
6. Check back tomorrow for more.

OH!  3 more things —

1. PLEASE post about what you’re doing on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #LoveYourBodyChallenge or #LYBC.  This will allow you to connect with others doing the challenge, offer support and encouragement, and get ideas for your mantras and action steps.

2. PLEASE comment below and let us know what your mantra and your action steps are each day.  Again, this helps build support and community as well as offers ideas to those who might need them.

3. If you’re so inclined, feel free to send me pictures of your amazingly beautiful selves and I’ll post them in my Facebook album.  It’s essentially an album of pictures similar to what my fitness professional friends and I did on Day 1.  It’s a picture that you might normally not want to post, but you post it anyway along with a short blurb about your journey.  You can see the album here, and you can send pictures and your blurb to: 28DayLoveYourBodyChallenge@gmail.com It’s such a supportive community of women (and men) over there.  It’s awesome!

That’s all for now.

See you tomorrow!

FIND DAY 7 HERE

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