This is an Experiment: A Better Body (Image) in 30 Days

I have decided to spend one month not saying anything negative about my body. No comments on my weight, no discussion of ankles or thighs or things that are too dimply or not dimply enough. (Which would be what? My cheeks? They’re plenty dimply. But you see what I mean.) No more discussing parts of me as if they were chicken parts, or projects that weren’t going the way I wanted.

In addition, I’m not going to discuss body stuff with other people, with a few exceptions: I will take teary phone calls about failed diets, from anyone, because I sympathize and because I have a troll living inside me who lives entirely on stories of failed diets. But positively and more to the point, I will talk to anyone at any time about a sport they’ve started, or an active hobby that they’ve grown to love. I will continue to run very slowly and will even go on a very fast walk with one of my fitter friends. Should they be interested, of course, and provided that they agree, at no point, to couch their success at this activity in terms of losing X amount of pounds. Tell me you got stronger, ran farther, feel better, we’re golden. Mention Spanx or fat or shame, and I will be forced to buy you a Tasti D-lite. Then you will feel better, and we can all go back to our plan for world domination.

I decided to do this because I realized that I’ve done a lot of talking about the old corpus since I gained weight two years ago with my thyroid problem. It was worst when I was still too groggy to exercise, but even now, when I’m doing the couch to 5k and eating much better, it’s hard for me not to look sadly at my changed face shape while I’m doing my makeup, or to suspect that the guy who give me his seat on the subway thought I was pregnant. This is very helpful, as you might imagine, and it is just amazing that all this positivity hasn’t returned me entirely to my former svelte figure.

So: From now until June 19, I’m on a bad body image fast. I’m thinking of it like meditation. I know the negative thoughts will appear, but I will push them away gently and return to my mantra. Which, I’ve decided, will not be “om,” but rather “yum.” This experiment will take me through my birthday, which is lucky no. 35. I’d like to go into the second half of my biblical lifespan with a more positive inner point of view.

If you’re my friend in the real world, you can help by not talking about your own diet (or at least not getting mad if I gently change the subject.) Think about it! A month of living in the body, instead of dragging it around like an embarrassing relative that won’t stop asking you embarrassing questions about your direction in life. I think it could catch on.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

7 thoughts on “This is an Experiment: A Better Body (Image) in 30 Days

  1. Hear hear! This is a great idea, and you’ve inspired me to try the same. As a preggo who started out a little heavier than she’d like to be, it’s easy to let myself be swallowed up by negative body thoughts. But I’m going to try to focus on my new gym membership and just feeling better and being healthy for baby 2. Thanks, sis!

  2. Wait – I thought NYs didn’t give up subways seats to pregnant women – you’re fine. And this is a great idea for so many reasons, including my niece (16) who died of complications of bulimia last year. 😦

    1. I’m so sorry about your niece, Robin. I had no idea.

      Yes, in general I feel like we’d all be better off appreciating our bodies for what they can do, not picking on them for not looking the way we think they should. (Especially since, as we all know, no one looks like a model on a magazine cover without loads of help from lighting and makeup and digital, uh, correction.)

      Re: the preggos on subways, I’ve given up loads of seats and seen them given up for pregnant ladies. But there are always those rude crazy folks who have to be the jerkiest while someone from out of town is watching. They’re our anti-PR.

  3. I am 51 and three years ago I bought my first two-piece bathing suit since I was 12. My entire life I refused to wear a two-piece (never mind a bikini!) because I thought I was too fat. I look back on photos when I was in my 20s and 30s and think what a waste of a body. I’m 30 lbs heavier now than I was then and my body has lost its firmness, but I wear that two-piece to the beach now and it makes me downright happy. Happy with the way I look? Nope. Happy that I’m done with dowdy one-pieces. Plus, I just love feeling the sun on my mid-section!
    I think you’re awesome to do this for yourself and set an example for all of us.

  4. This is wonderful idea and I only hope it catches on! We are too focused on our outsides and not enough on our insides and we all need to love ourselves more. I am going to follow your wonderful example! smooches!

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