I was a tiny little kid. As a matter of fact, I entered this world via emergency c-section on Thanksgiving Day 1970, weighing in just under 4lbs. Although labeled a preemie, I was fully formed and needed no incubating. My dad's nickname for me was 'Mouse', though from the photos I have seen, 'Little Rat' may have been more accurate.
Growing up, I was mercilessly teased for my size even up through High School. Many people say being the fat kid on the playground is the worst, but being the scrawny emotional one was no walk in the park, either. I learned to hate my body at a very young age.
When I was around 16, I asked my dad if I could get a membership at a gym so I could have a strong body like Cher (remember that?). He was impressed that I wanted to get strong, so he arranged for my membership at a club full of Nautilus equipment and soon I was hooked!
Much to my frustration, I did not develop strong arms like Cher, but I felt strong and was fascinated by the fitness industry. In college, I even had a few people ask me for advice on what exercises to do or machines to use.
Eventually, in my 30's living in New York City, I went to 'school' for personal training (more like a 3 day class) and eventually passed my exam to become an official ACE Certified Personal Trainer. Seeing as I had a full time job, I only trained a few clients in their homes, in central park or in my own apartment. I LOVED learning and trying the newest in fitness trends, but most of all I loved HELPING people feel better.
I was working out hard myself and along with swimming and running, I began looking pretty strong with 'sexy' definition in my arms. Despite all of this, I still had people say insensitive things such as: "Oh, you look too skinny", "Hey Amanda, eat a sandwich, will ya?", "Are you ill?", and "What, do you work out like 10 times a day??"
In truth, I knew that what was being said AT me was not true, yet I found that I would then refer to my own body as a "scrawny", which really is not an endearing description of oneself. I've gone so far as to frown at myself in the mirror thinking "ewww...I am so gross... I need to lift more."
Cut to my life now... I am 45, still lean and far from perfect. I don't workout like I used to partly because I get distracted doing other things (like writing) and also because it doesn't hold that much value for me anymore.
As I shifted my focus from being a 'fitness professional' to being a manual therapist and somatic educator, I have learned that movement is what matters, not necessarily exercise. 'No Pain, No Gain' is actually unwise and dangerous. Caring about cellulite and abdominal flab is a societal misnomer. The pressure that has been put on people, women especially, to look a certain way has gotten terribly out of hand.
We say terrible things about our body. If we said the things we said about ourselves to someone we love, they probably wouldn't love us anymore.
Why do we do that to ourselves? Our poor precious bodies that are her to support us??
I have totally been guilty of that many times over, for sure and I am not here to judge exercise or anyone who lives for it. I have just learned that for me, if I don't spin or run or CrossFit or yoga or whatever, that I am not doing harm to myself... actually I am probably doing myself a favor.
What I have found in my personal journey in my body is that self-care and self-love is my most important foundation, which is what "Be Awesome in Your Body" is all about.
Every day I choose to nourish my body, mind and spirit in the ways that bring me joy: I have a morning quiet time with my coffee and journal, I walk while listening to podcasts, I enjoy meals out, a Corona on a hot summer day and a couple of glasses of Pinot Noir during a gig wit my band, Fake ID.
I MELT my body to keep it less stiff and achy. I use essential oils to assist with my health and mood. My diet is far from perfect, but on the whole, I do my best to eat well. Occasionally, I will take a spin class, the whole time sweating, over working my adrenals, wondering to myself why I am doing a thing to my body that kinda goes against my current beliefs of what whole body wellness truly is... well, honestly, I think it's fun and I do feel satisfied after.
I am still lean, but I no longer have wash board abs. Instead, I have a little 'middle aged wine belly' and I am ok with that because I am not in my 20's or 30's anymore. As a former marathon runner, I don't run at all anymore because I don't like it and I choose not to feel bad about that.
I no longer say I am 'scrawny', I say I am 'little'.
The "I should be doing X's" in my life are now replaced with "what can I do today that will bring joy to me and those around me?"
Today, I choose to love, choose to risk and take chances, choose to inspire, choose to live joyfully and live my very best life now because one day I will be dead.
I honor and respect this body of mine, this vessel that my soul lives in. Yeah, sometimes it's a mess, but I am pretty consistent at tidying it up, because in truth, I love it and I am grateful.
This is why I choose to Be Awesome in MY Body!