Your Body is Not a Photograph

Quick, think of the perfect body.

No matter how “body positive” and “health at every size” you are… No matter if your perfect body has six-pack abs and quads the size of tree trunks… or if it included slender legs and a voluptuous boot-ay, I’m sure you at least had the flicker of some image in your head. And it probably wasn’t a mirror image of yourself as you are, right now.

Maybe it was how you looked on spring break in college. Maybe it was slightly similar (*cough, cough* identical) to the powerlifter you follow on Instagram.

Whatever it was, to you, it’s perfect. Ideal. The epitome of happiness.

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But, here’s the thing, our image of an ideal body–whatever that might be–is just that: an image. A snapshot. A picture. A photograph.

 

The catch? Photographs never change. That’s why we put them in albums for Aunt Tessie to oooo-and-ahhh over at Thanksgiving. That’s why we place them in frames, collecting dust on our mantle. That’s why we hang them in art galleries, carefully preserved against time.

Your body cannot be a photograph.

We get taller, wider, thinner, and possibly shorter. We lose hair, gain wrinkles, change our hairstyle. We have six-pack abs, we lose six-pack abs, we never get six-pack abs because that’s not how we were designed. Women become pregnant, give birth, and maybe do it all over again.

We break a bone or sprain an ankle, get crutches, ditch the crutches. Heaven forbid, but we might even be in accidents where we lose body parts or other abilities we’ve taken for granted. We might have to learn to live with new challenges or in different surroundings.

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We are in a constant state of flux. We’re always changing, and sometimes we never know what those changes might be. Our bodies are meant to adapt to our lives, not the other way around.

You are not always going to be the same person you are today. You’re going to have new adventures and opportunities. You’re going to gain new skills or refine old ones. You might pick up new hobbies, get married, get a different job, move across the country, travel the world, move back home.

You wouldn’t want to always be the person you are at this very moment. Why would you want the same for your body?

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You are never going to look exactly a certain way, no matter how much you want to cling to the present or let go of the past. Our goals and priorities change. Even professional athletes gain weight or lose weight. A bikini model doesn’t maintain 7% body fat all year ’round. Bodybuilders don’t always have rock-solid biceps.

That’s a part that the “body love” movement sometimes misses. Yes, get comfortable with how you look now…but also know you’re going to have to do the same at every one of the shapes and sizes you’re going to have in this life. Be that fatter, skinner, with one less arm, with a baby on the way. You get the picture (*yes, pun intended*).

Being able to watch your body change is a blessing, not a curse.

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That’s all for me. Your thoughts? 

–> How do you learn to accept your body will change? For me, it’s every time I get injured. I’m not talking about anything drastic, but even a sprained wrist will teach you not to take what you have now for granted.

–>What does body love and health at every size mean for you? I like to find one part of my body I don’t like, and come up with a reason to like it.

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9 thoughts on “Your Body is Not a Photograph

  1. Such a message!!! That info graphic is crazy, but true! We are always going to be searching for that ‘ideal’ and losing our real self in the process.

  2. This post is perfect. I am seriously having trouble coming up with the words to explain how much I love your message.
    It took pregnancy – gaining 34 lbs and watching myself transform and grow (literally and figuratively) to live the child inside me – to truly love my body. Now, I realize how amazing my body is – not for the fact that it now fits my prepregnancy clothes, but because of what it did and allows me to do every damn day.
    I’ve always kept this quote in mind around birthdays: “aging is a gift that too many people are denied” and I think we can appreciate our bodies in the same way. I may see my body as fat or uncoordinated but so many others – especially the amputee or paraplegic – would envy my body and what it does.
    I’m softer than I was 2 years ago. But I’m wiser. I embrace the grey hairs and the laugh lines because it means I am blessed with a family to support – even when it’s hard – and laughter in my life. I embrace that body and all the future changes. Thanks for sharing! 💗

    • I’ve never heard that quote before, but I absolutely love it! We take for granted so many things we don’t even realize, until they’re gone. Thank you for your beautiful comment.

  3. […] Your Body Is Not A Photograph – Fuel For Freedom It’s such a good reminder that photographs don’t change, but our bodies do. It’s only natural, and to think that you can manipulate it without any serious health complications would be naive. […]

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