I remember when I fell in love with my now husband, Chris. I remember the process, the feeling, the moments, the fear, the bold requests and the big life moves. This one was different.
I remember going home that Christmas and my Mom had shown me an ornament she bought for the tree in the future. It was an engagement ring ornament, she said, "I just have a feeling". She was right.
When I fell for Chris, I packed up my crazy life in LA and moved to Chicago. It was a big bold move and one that felt pretty monumental (and one that a lot of people staring at sunshine and palm trees asked me what the hell I was thinking?). Love is crazy like that.
So I made the big move and landed in my first apartment living solo. No need to rush it and go co-living already. My space had exposed brick, a fireplace and was adorably tiny and lofted. I loved it.
After a few month of living in the same city as my man (we had done long distance for a measly four months), I began to feel different in my body. I began to feel less bloated, leaner and truly, more comfortable. My clothes fit different. I went down a size. My rib cage felt different. Very gradual yet very real and healthy.
In looking back, I remember I had decided to go completely gluten free at this point in my life. Quite a few of my family members were diagnosed with Celiac (including my Grandpa and my Mom), so I took the plunge and really did feel amazing after cutting it out.
So for a long time, I thought gluten free was magical.
Fast forward to living in LA years later, I met this amazing and super hipster owner of a cool spot in Venice Beach who was out to combat bread shaming and taught me all about gluten, sourdough and the right amount of time to let bread rise so your body can actually break it down. Really interesting. And thus, gluten is way back in my life.
And when looking back at my life in Chicago, I realize that it might not have actually been the gluten free life that changed my body. It was Chris. It was love.
My body changed when I fell in love.
Do this sound over-romanticized?
Or perhaps spot on.
As I have been sharing in my Body Image Series this month, the big a-ha realizations I am coming to is the integration of my mind with my body. How my thoughts create my reality and literally affect my physical appearance and acceptance. This is totally my theory, how my language shows up in my life, in my form.
When Chris and I started dating, I feel like there was this sigh of relief in my entire being. There was respect there, there was curiosity, there was adventure and there was this all-in type of feeling I had never felt before. My mind pumped the brakes on the forcing, questioning and proving every moment of every day and I started to feel around more, feel around in my mental states, my heart, my existence with another in my life.
Love is a big deal (NOTE: make it one). As humans, we need love, we yearn for it. And for a long time, I believe I was trying to convince myself that I could figure it all out on my own, I didn't need all that love stuff. And truly, I didn't find it or even give it to myself (self love style) with this belief system.
To be clear, I am talking deep connection not co-dependence.
When I found love, I released stress and actually experienced a loss. A loss of perhaps an identity crisis that had been holding on for dear life in the form of layers. Perhaps they were layers of protection, layers of drama, and layers of ego that I had been harboring both in my mind and on my body. I was no longer bloated all the time with fear or backed up with anxiety. The comparison game started to slip away, be it comparison in yoga or to magazine covers because I felt good.
I felt loved. I let myself feel so loved.
The point of this is not to say that you have to fall in love with another human being to lose weight or love your body. Yet the point I am making for myself and sharing with you is that I believe that love matters and it shows up in the body. Love from another. Love from yourself. Love for your being-ness and your body.
We have the choice to fall in love everyday.
With our best friends, with our partners (over and over again), with our pups, with our goals, with the barista who knows our orders, with the snow falling in late March on the Rocky Mountains, with our family, with our own butt size, and with our home decor.... We can fall in love often if we give ourselves the permission.
And this love offering and choosing to accept it from Chris, it created the loss of the bullsh*t that was no longer serving me, as well as some of the stress weight I was carrying through my 20s. And it felt so damn good.
Dear body, I love you. Love, Jacki