Guest Blog Post by Ashley
I was told once that the “quickest way to change a woman is to criticizer her.” No wonder I have been applying that same technique to my body for the past 30 years. You should be leaner, stronger, not too strong, more flexible, and on and on and on. Oh my goodness, the daily negative conversations. It is enough to authentically say, “Bless your little heart”.
My name is Ashley and my body has transformed many times in 30 years and is doing so even as you read this passage. Yours is too. I have been one hundred pounds overweight, a figure fitness competitor, a high school athlete, no athlete, and I have criticized my body at every stage of development. It was my mom who told me that “healthy is the ability of the body to heal itself”. It was that simple definition that provided me the much needed peace my body craved. Finally, my body was recognized as being healthy.
We are all put on this earth for a purpose and our bodies were given to us to support that purpose. I have lifted weights for the past two years and I have criticized my arms for being too big. However, as my 14-year-old dog slows down, I am able to lift him on the bed and in and out of the car when we visit the dog park. You should see how his eyes sparkle when we are going to the dog park. My seasoned fella resonates with joy and energy. It occurred to me that maybe I was given strong arms to lift his fifty-pound frame with grace. It was at that moment that I thanked my arms and the joy they provide my dog.
Criticism leaves little room for compassion, love, and understanding. To whoever is reading this message, I kindly request that the next time you begin to ridicule your body for not meeting industry standards, instead ask “Am I supporting you in healing and assisting me?”. If the answer is no, then make corrections. Have the apple instead of the candy bar. Prioritize sleep. Drink water and go on a walk. Your body is on your team and wants to be in optimal condition to help support you. Please stop criticizing it. Provide it an environment that promotes healing and thank it for showing you compassion, love and understanding.
Ashley is a current culinary student at Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin, TX. She has spent the majority of her adult career in the food manufacturing industry operating as a performance engineer and in operations management. She enjoys reading, cooking, fitness and learning.