Healthy and Active

2014

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Get Your Body Back! creatas images/Thinkstock By Michelle May, MD I overheard a conversation in the dressing rooms next to mine: Woman 1: "I want my body baaaaaack!" Woman 2: "Me, too, Mom! After the kids, things never went back to the way they were. I've deprived myself, tortured myself at the gym and even begged my doctor for a pill!" Woman 1: "I know honey—but I hate to tell you, it isn't going to get any easier as you get older." Who "Has" Your Body? I couldn't get that phrase out of my head— "I want my body back!" Where did it go? Who has it? Why did you give it away? Whose body do you have now? How does your body feel about being unwanted? That too-familiar phrase, "I want my body back," captures a common challenge you may identify with: Feeling so disconnected from your body that you don't claim it anymore, and instead, wish for a body you "had" in the past— ironically, a body that you probably didn't want at the time, either! Why does this happen? And what would I have told these women if I'd had the nerve? There are many changes that occur naturally over time that affect the shape, size and function of your body: maturation, giving birth, aging, stress, illnesses or injuries, changes in the environment, activity, diet and your interests— to name just a few. Fortunately, your body has the amazing ability to morph and adapt to these constantly changing forces; after all, you're alive and reading this now, aren't you? The problem with this process begins when, instead of allowing your body to guide you back to it's optimal state, you head down the wrong path: disparaging self-talk and restrictive dieting. Since diets don't work long term, the eatrepent-repeat cycle ensues, further disconnecting you from the body that was doing exactly what it was supposed to do: adapt to change. Reclaim Your Body! I resisted the urge to call out over the dressing room wall: "Stop! Don't talk about your body that way! It's right there, and it can hear you! Stop subjecting it to cruel and unusual punishment for defending itself! "There is another way! Even if you don't Excerpted with permission from the "Eat What You Love" blog on Michelle May's website, www.AmIHungry.com. 14 HEALTHY & ACTIVE 2014

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