The Wagon

I have fallen off the wagon before. It’s not a new thing.

I have fallen off the wagon before. It’s not a new thing.

I have fallen off the wagon before. It’s not a new thing. Most times, I’ve picked myself up. Trusted that I could. Knew that I would hear the voices of those in my world tell me to “dust off and get back on the ride”. But last June, the death of my mother changed everything for me. Finding my mother…gone… was perhaps the single most traumatizing thing that I can remember happening in my life.

The wagon was there, the cheerleaders were yelling “Dust yourself off, get back on!” But their voices got further and further away…and the wagon left without me this time.

Race for the Cure Detroit, May 2012

Race for the Cure Detroit, May 2012

Now trust me, when it comes to excuses, I wrote the book. Not the entire book, but let’s just say I’ve been a regular contributor. Making excuses actually meant I cared, but this time I’d even forgotten how to do that. No excuses. No explanations. I had gone into full blown mourning. Grief had taken hold of my body, my mind, my soul. Every Facebook memory from the year before had reminded me of all the time and energy I had spent in building the “me” I wanted to be.

Today marks the anniversary of the first 5K I ever ran. In May 2012, I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Detroit with my sister running alongside me, yelling “Water is for weaklings! Peeing? Really?” I ran that whole race, non stop. I encouraged others to run or walk it too. I was surprised at my own strength. From there I went on to run over 24 races and even completed a duathlon.

Which brings me to now. The phone rang this morning. It was a dear friend of mine who did the race with me the first time She called to ask me where she could meet me on the route today. She just knew I’d be there. Me? On the route? Today? Nope, I am at home. My race days seem a world away.

Toronto Caribbean Carnival, August 2014

Toronto Caribbean Carnival, August 2014

I am just now starting to feel myself again. My toes, my desire to move my body again. To dance. To eat well. To love me again. To honor this body again. I gotta do it. Next weekend, I am registered for a half marathon I paid for before my Mom died. I may not be able to run it, like I had in the past. I might have to walk. Or perhaps, the wagon will circle back and I’ll climb back on. #wegotogether

– K.G.

So you want to have an awesome body?

It’s January. And you might notice that this time of year is totally overwhelming with all kinds of information on how to lose weight, look good, eat right, live right, do more, be more, and basically Make All Your Dreams Come True. Blah blah blah.

Me, I don’t have a problem with it…within reason of course. I’m all for suggestions and well-meaning advice but it has to be rational, doable, inexpensive, and convenient. I don’t want to spend too much. I don’t want to drive too far. I don’t want to study for it or think too much about it. I don’t want complicated instructions or extra equipment or special-order materials. That’s just me in a nutshell.

With that in mind, I’m here to share my own rational, doable, inexpensive, and convenient technique for people who want to have an awesome body.

Instructions:

  1. Get up every day (Every. Single. Day) and look at your body in the mirror (nakedness is optional but recommended).
  2. Tell your body that it is awesome.
  3. Treat your body accordingly.

It’s that simple. And it works.

At first your body may not believe you, especially if YOU do not believe you. That’s OK. Keep going. Every. Single. Day.

Treat your body as though it is some new love interest, that guy or girl that you really really like and you really want to get down with. Compliment your body. Tell your body amazing things about itself. Spend time with your body. Think of new fun things that you can do together. Take your body to nice places. Feed it with the best food, like you’re trying to impress it. Don’t give your body anything that would make it sick or sad. Pleasure your body, unapologetically. Pamper your body. Buy or make nice gifts for you and your body to share. Play music to your body. Sing to it. Yes, I said it. Serenade your body and sing LOUDLY.

Do the things for your body that you know are really good for your body. Take your body for a walk. Take your body out dancing. Take your body to the gym but do the classes that you and your body really enjoy. If it’s not fun, if your body is not having a good time, be flexible and invite your body to do something else instead.

Take your body out on the town on the regular. Don’t hide your body…the world deserves to see that awesomeness that is truly you. When you believe it, others will believe it. And if they don’t, well they just don’t know very much. That’s their problem. You and your awesome body are very happy together, thank you very much.

Awesomeness will not happen overnight. It takes time to build a solid relationship with your body. But I think you’ll find that your body is worth it and will show its appreciation. There is no feeling quite like waking up every day with someone who truly loves and appreciates you. It makes you glow and look forward to every new experience. Treat your awesome body like it deserves to be treated and your body will respond accordingly.

Now this approach will not work for everybody. Unfortunately I speak from personal experience when I say that sometimes the hardest thing you could ever do is to say nice things to yourself about your body. We have not exactly been trained to do that, whether because we don’t want to be vain or we just don’t see our own awesomeness. Whatever. Drastic times call for drastic measures. And if having an awesome body means that you have to throw caution to the wind and actually say good things about yourself, well, that’s a sacrifice you’ll just have to make. And no criticism. Nobody likes to be picked on all the time, constantly told what is wrong with them and what they must do to fix it. Your body is no exception.

So get up every day (Every. Single. Day) and talk nicely to your body. Marvel in the amazing things that it can do. Admire the miracle of how all the pieces fit together. Tell your body that you love it more than ever before. Smile at your body. Make kissy noises at it. Get silly with it. Throw yourself completely into the awesomeness that is you. The rest will follow.

It may take months. It may take a year. It make take years! But treating your body right and feeling good about your body relationship is habit-forming. Once you are fully addicted to having that awesome body, there’s just no turning back.

Let me know how it goes.

— Nicole OzJam