I teach an anatomy lab to aspiring physical therapists, strength coaches, doctors and nurses at the University of Texas. I think this class, more than Fitness Leadership or Exercise Physiology, has given me an incredible appreciation of the work my (and your) body does. SO much goes on to keep us in homeostasis that we don’t even spend an ounce of energy thinking about. If we had to consciously depolarize a neuron to the axon terminal, release the proper amount of acetylcholine to stimulate the action potential in the sarcolemma, adjust the levels of calcium in the cytoplasm and help the myosin heads create the power stroke every time we wanted to contract a muscle, I’m fairly certain we’d all be paralyzed!
And that’s just muscle contraction. Think about temperature regulation, digestion, pH of the brain, regeneration of skin cells, healing an injury, and sensory input. Exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, growth, protection against germs and other invaders. All of this goes on without us even knowing, and almost certainly without us even knowing how. I definitely wouldn’t be able to tell my body consciously how to fend off an influenza germ!
Before I lose you in all the science jargon, I just want you to think about what an amazing piece of biological creation your body is. Amazing.
Because of this incredible capacity your body has to exist and function with little thought, I think it is such a shame that our society is so picky about what you or I should look like.
So, take care of your body. It’s your soul’s only home on this earth. Treat it with love and respect – it deserves it. Shut out the haters – even your own voices. Love every inch of it.
When I was first starting this journey of self-love, I created a ritual around putting on body lotion. Instead of just slapping it on without any thought, I started to slowly and deliberately apply it to each body part. I start at my toes, thinking about the work my feet do every day to carry my weight and move me in the direction of my dreams. I progress up to my calves and thighs and booty, grateful for the legs (though imperfect because of cellulite) that are strong enough to run my crazy soul to its content. Squirt some more lotion and rub on up through my torso (though imperfect because there’s no six pack) I thank my tummy for holding all my organs inside, and for it’s curves. At my arms, which could always be more toned, I pause to appreciate the love they spread through hugs and waves and high fives throughout each day. This five to ten minute ritual of daily love lotioning helps me remember to appreciate this body that is daily bombarded with tips on how to be more sexy, thin and toned or less fat, jiggly and dimply.
Thank you body, I am grateful for all that you allow me to do daily.