As a woman, I felt like this prompt was actually quite difficult. The actual prompt is this — What about your body are you grateful for?
I don’t know about you, as my readers think, but as a woman I find it hard to be grateful for my body. I’m not a size 6 (size 8); I’m short (under 5’5″); my hair is crazy if I don’t do anything to it (seriously…you’ve all seen its waviness); I’ve got a bit of a belly….
So what is there to be grateful for if I’m not what the magazines look like? The crazy thing — I’m a health educator and a public health implementer. Sometimes, I’m even one who helps put policy together. So for one who is in public health, you may think that I’m quite confident in my body.
Honestly, I’m not. I may wear the business attire. I may wear heals from time to time. I may even put on make up. The reality is, I am not always confident in my body.
So thinking about this prompt was difficult…because if I’m not confident about my body, how can there be something to be grateful about?
After thinking long and hard about this question, I decided this — I’m grateful that I have a body that is functioning as well as it can at my age. I didn’t want to think about how buff my upper arms are; the potential of 6 pack abs or going down a dress size; how to rock an awesome contour…no….I’m grateful that I am a healthy woman. Would I like to lose some weight. Definitely…according to my provider, it’s not a bad idea. However, this doesn’t mean that I want to stress what I’m seeing a lot — being beautiful just the way you are. In many ways, yes…it’s true. We are all special in our own way and I will not deny this. However, the reality is, this has been misconstrued in ways that I think needs to be addressed. Not everyone is big boned. Not everyone’s bone structure adds weight. Being big boned and the bone structure of each individual is not what I’m getting at. I’m getting at this — there are overweight folks….obese folks…who in my opinion, need to alter their lifestyle so that they can be a lot healthier. Obesity leads to knee problems due to weight. It also causes back pain. In fact, this is one reason for various pre-symptoms to chronic disease such as type II diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol rates, and many more. Hypertension alone, if not controlled can lead to heart attacks and over time a stroke, and even more, chronic heart failure. These 3 things — they’re not pretty. Let me say this again, not out of fear, but out of a lot of concern — these are not petty diseases. They are diseases that cause a lot of suffering, a change of a way of living, and unfortunately…years of life. So I say this, beauty is not on the outside. But to encourage this amongst those who are obese and not encourage the need to be healthier, in my opinion, is a disservice to those who are on the path towards an early death.
Thus, I go back to what I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for the fact that I’m healthy at my age. However, I do know that some of my poor eating habits and sometimes lazy Saturday mornings where I choose to sleep in rather than take a walk or swimming (which is my preferred way of working out, I use to be a swimmer when I was younger), I know that I myself need to change. I’m not doing it to get the “perfect body” to look attractive to the opposite sex. If I’m losing weight or choosing to be more physically active, it’s because I’m doing so to be healthy and to prevent the onset of chronic disease. I don’t want to get something that I have a chance to prevent. It’s why I’m a health educator, but more importantly, it’s why I’m trying to become a clinician, a family nurse practitioner, so that I can help others do the same thing.
So what am I grateful for about my body — that I have the opportunity to become healthier and that I am healthy.