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Imagine what it must be like to dread the sight of a mirror, to

By Martha Cruz,2014-11-13 14:20
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Imagine what it must be like to dread the sight of a mirror, to

    Mirror, mirror, on the wall . . . Imagine what it must be like to dread the sight of a mirror, to fear and despise it, for no other reason than it remembers the condition of your body. It’s not the mirror’s fault; you simply fear and despise your own body and the very sight of it.

    When inspecting yourself in the mirror, your unwilling eye is immediately drawn to your belly, thighs and ass. The good mood you were in begins to fade. You curse the mirror silently, because a notion you have embraced for years is cast off momentarily by the hateful reflective surface! The notion is this: If I

    ignore it, it will go away, and it will all be okay.

    A mirror can only show the truth, so here is a new notion: The longer you

    ignore it, the bigger and more dangerous it will get. The truth hurts.

    Does it have to?

    It is how the truth impacts you that is truly important as you stand gazing into the mirror. The fact is, you think you’re fat and ugly. Is this what the mirror is telling you, or is it what your husband’s been telling you for years? Is it how

    you feel when you look at Cindy Crawford? Or, most likely of all, is it all you?

    You have options.

    One option is to hate your body, and the burden it has become in life! You can live by forever selecting clothes a few sizes too big, ordering tacos for three, and staying on the dark side of mirrors. Exercise is difficult and demanding; your body is way too out of shape for that! Besides, you hardly ever need energy anyway. Making jokes at your own expense, about your blubber butt or twin chins, may even disguise some of the disgust you feel when trying to find a picture in the entire photo album that you actually don’t loathe! You are convinced that others perceive you in the same way you perceive yourself, but you make this assumption based on your reflection, which is tainted by your opinion of yourself! Now you dread not only the mirror, you have developed an irrational paranoia of other humans as well!

    Obviously, since ignoring the truth has worked so well in the past, it seems you are determined to continue on this course, and to endure any pains you inflict on yourself in the process. These are your choices, and this is your body.

    Another way to punish your hateful body is to stop feeding it. Even though the mirror always tells the truth, you can convince yourself that it lies. This body had better get thin, and now! Since food is converted into fat, cutting out the food will cut out the fat, a reasonable hypothesis! Except . . . food is also converted into other things of slight importance, like blood, bone, hair, energy, muscle tissue, and defense against disease. Like any other machine, the body will stall if it is denied fuel, coolant, lubrication, or pretty much any other fluid in the owner’s manual. The moment you fail to fuel your body, it stops burning calories to conserve vital energy; you have placed your body in “starvation mode,” a handy condition for hunter-gatherers, but a tad counter productive for weight loss! The mirror is still reflecting a fatty! How can this be, when you’ve even stopped having your period? Lately you hate the mirror even more, but since you are so close to the perfect size, you think you can probably endure.

    Why are you enduring? Why aren’t you living?

    The mirror speaks the truth, but you are lying to yourself. You are far from ugly. Look at your body; don’t look away! See how your chest rises and falls without any thought. Raise your arms, flex them, concentrate on the feeling in your muscles; they glow even after this small attention. Place your feet shoulder width apart, and, keeping your back straight, bend your knees to a 90-degree angle. Notice anything? Those are your quad muscles, long-neglected, eager to be called to duty! Breathe deeply, taste the air, listen to your heartbeat. Think what you could do with your muscles awake and ready! Imagine the invincibility a strong heart could lend you! Your body is not ugly, it is awe-inspiring and unique, and if you love it, you will learn to care for it. If you learn to care for it, there is nothing your body will not do for you.

    Caring for your body means finding out, just as you would with a new car or lawnmower, what the best fuel might be for a machine such as yours, and how much is best for optimal performance. If you don’t know, ask someone who does!

    They will tell you to drink a liter of water a day, six to eight servings of veggies, four to six servings of fruits, for a start. No, the lettuce on a Big Mac does not count as a veggie.

    Caring for your body also means exercising it. Even a dog gets a daily walk if the owner is attentive in the least! Try to remember your life before you discovered the automobile. You rode your bike or skateboarded everywhere; you conquered the playground on a daily basis and rarely found yourself out of breath or energy. Your body needs about 30 minutes per day of huffing and puffing, and not from smoking, either.

    This will not be easy, you must change your life and the way you eat forever, you must pass up fat eight times out of ten, and you must exercise your body. This, ultimately, is the truth you are facing in the mirror; this truth is most difficult to face. Change, or face the mirror every day as a life-long adversary.

    The mirror may be reflecting your body, but what are your emotions telling you? Are you loving your chubby hips, or hating your thin ones? Most compelling of all, is there a way to look into the mirror and respect what you see because it’s yours, instead of comparing it with the reflections of others?

    Don’t you see? Simply by eating properly and exercising a moderate amount every day, you are doing something positive for yourself, and this will change the way you see yourself in the mirror. Getting a new hairdo or buying a new wardrobe draws you to the mirror because you want to see the positive results of your effort! The more effort you put in, the more positive the results, the less effort you put in, the guiltier and more negative your perspective. Worst of all, the less you do for yourself, the more you berate your body, the more you punish yourself over your appearance . . . the more you will hate your reflection! This is a vicious cycle so perfect, it’s nearly a cliché! It’s not about your fat ass after all; it’s about your fragile, paper-thin self-image.

    There are people all over the world with less-than-perfect, less-than-healthy bodies who adore what they see when they encounter a mirror. The reflections of others are meaningless to these wise, confident heroes; they know that since their own choices have shaped their bodies, and they respect these choices, they do not shy away from the mirror. They not only accept the mirror’s

    truth, they embrace it, because they are proud of life’s accomplishments, and proud of themselves. Perhaps you can find a middle ground between changing the way you live, thus changing your body, and changing the way you accept the truth the mirror has to tell.

    Mirror, mirror, on the wall . . .

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