Your Body is Your Best Friend

Do you treat your body like it’s your best friend? Or is it your enemy; full of unexplained aches, annoying gastrointestinal issues, and a source of shame more often than not? Isn’t it time you not only made peace with your body but also gave it the respect, care, and love that it deserves? After all, your body will be with you until you take your last breath. Can you truly say that about anyone else in your life?

In my life, the past few years, nearly everyone has fallen away. This has given me a great deal of time to reflect on the past and created space for me to begin to heal a relationship I’ve taken for granted all my life: the one with my physical body.

Just Be Like Everybody Else

Most of my life, I’ve made apologies for my body’s size or shape because I didn’t look close enough to the famous, fit women society admired. I’ve abused it with terrible food or starved it completely for days on end.

In the 80s, I would sit in a hairdresser’s chair for hours upon hours smelling horrible chemicals in order to get my straight hair to be curly. For several years I covered my eyes with coloured contacts so they’d be a “better” shade of green. Later I sat through more hours in a chair and spent more money so someone would glue false eyelashes over my own. It seems I am never satisfied with the way my body looks.

Stand By Me

Whenever I came apart emotionally, my body bore the brunt of too much comfort food, alcohol, cigarettes, neglect, and crying jags that lasted days.

Still, my body remained. Battered, bruised, in pain, but she stayed right here with me. And here she will be until my dying day.

Isn’t that the mark of a true friend? One who stays by your side even when you are at your worst?

Who Do You Love?

As I grew more and more isolated over the past two years, it hit me: my body is my best friend.

I have been disloyal and unkind to my body, to put it mildly. There are too many times that I haven’t stood up for her when she desperately needed me to. Times when men took advantage of her sexually and I said nothing. Or when someone said or did things that hurt her.

No more. Like a friend, I won’t let anyone treat her with anything but respect and care. This is what she deserves – and from me, too!

Food as Comfort

I’ve written before about how I’ve been vegetarian since 1983 but that doesn’t mean that I’ve always eaten well – I haven’t. I struggle with salty snacks and sugar, especially when I’m ignoring feelings of loss or abandonment. It’s a comfort I turn to, as if stuffing myself full of food will plug the holes in my heart. It only works at the moment I’m actually eating the food and ends up making me sadder and sicker when the food is gone.

Now when I find myself eating like a crazy person I try not to beat myself up for it like I usually do. Instead, I “walk back the cat” to see if I can find out what triggered the binge.

Pull the Trigger

A few weeks ago my daughter came for a visit. She was actually in town to attend a wine tasting with my son’s fiancé, friends, and Mother. I wasn’t invited – which was OK with me as I am older and it involved a lot of drinking, etc. But being left out of anything is a trigger for me. I am getting used to it; over the past two years society all but kicked me out so I’m working on processing the feelings of abandonment. Still, it hurts, you know? These feelings make me more vulnerable than I usually am.

I was able to be useful and drive my daughter back and forth, picking her up late at night and that felt good. The next day when she left, however, my house felt empty and I cried with loneliness. That’s when I began thinking about what food I could make and eat.

As I wrote about the crash in my journal I realized that the feeling was eerily familiar: every weekend for years I would feel the same way on Sundays after my boyfriend would leave. Like clockwork, Sunday nights I would go to the store and load up on food to placate myself with. This would last into Monday but by Tuesday, I’d feel good again – as if being alone was the peaceful, serene, and wonderful place it should be.

My body bore the scars of my abuse. I felt shame, embarrassment, and sorrow.


I started working on appreciating the things my body could do. Simple things like walking, standing and bending for hours at work, thinking clearly and remembering all kinds of things, singing, dancing around the house, being able to digest and eliminate food easily, and healing from cuts and bruises rapidly. At work I speak with so many people – older and younger – who live in constant pain or with discomfort in their bodies. I rarely have pain and I’m going to be 57 soon. So many people are struggling just to get out of bed or walk into a store or to do the daily chores of life. I am so grateful for the body I have. Physically, I’ve got an amazing body – even if it doesn’t look like a skinny, fit person’s body – I wouldn’t trade mine for anyone else’s.

Trust in Me

Besides sticking up for myself, I began to “listen” to my body. This is not a natural thing for me to do at all. I have learned to ignore hunger pangs, thirst, stiffness from being in one position too long or sitting in a terrible chair, stomach discomfort, or even needing to go to the bathroom. We all learn to dismiss these so that we can “sit still”, “wait for supper”, “hold it”, because our physical needs were inconvenient for others. (This is why I hate fishing. I have had to “hold it” for hours and hours while out in a small boat, water lapping at the sides the whole time. Groan. Never. Again.)

If I stop and pay attention every now and again, I can “hear” my body asking for something. It’s so quiet, it’s easy to miss. “I’m thirsty!” is a victory for me, as is, “I want to rest.” The fascinating thing is that none of the requests are outrageous at all. Very practical things that make me feel heard and cared for. In meeting my own physical or emotional needs, I find I don’t need to find someone else to do that for me.

Body Wisdom

One customer at work couldn’t decide between two different kinds of vitamins. She said she needed to let her body decide. Taking a vitamin bottle in each hand, she placed one on each hip and closed her eyes. After a minute, she swayed toward one side and that’s the vitamin she chose.

I was sceptical but later, when I thought about it, I remembered that when I was a kid, my Mother and her sisters used to “predict” the sex of each other’s babies in a similar way. They would put a darning needle on a string and hold it over the pregnant belly. If the needle went back and forth, it was a boy; if it went in a circle, a girl. I don’t remember if this was accurate or not!

Years later, when my husband and I had run out of water in our well, we hired an old guy to dig a new one for us. We’d had an argument because I wanted to hire a “witcher” first. My ex said, “No way.” When the well-driller came to our property, he broke off a willow branch and proceeded to douse for the best spot to drill. I didn’t gloat…too much.

Now I’ve seen a few customers use similar methods to determine what is best for their bodies. I haven’t tried this yet but it seems to me that it’s another way of tuning in to what your body wants or needs.

When the Body Says “No”

Dr. Gabor Mate has written an excellent book that describes the stress that accrues if you continuously ignore your own needs: When the Body Says “No”. “Dr. Maté weaves together scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing and that of those around them.”

It was this book that made me wake up to the possibility that if I didn’t start sticking up for myself, I was going to force my body to do it for me. Shortly after reading it, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t let anyone bully me anymore. Being bullied or pushed around or having my needs discounted or ignored and me not saying a bloody word has been a pattern in my life.

If you find yourself saying “yes” to make other people happy, I strongly encourage you to read Gabor’s book.

My Body, My Choice

As a person who rarely even takes an aspirin, I did a lot of research before deciding not to get vaccinated. A decision that should have been personal ended up costing me a relationship of three years, my job of over five years, and family and friendships that will never be the same.

All of these were difficult to deal with but far more damage seems to have been done by the social isolation and shaming – just because I stood up for myself!

I stood up for my body against the ultimate bully and it feels really, really good.

Giving Thanks

I’d be lying if I told you that nothing triggers me now. It does. Sometimes I don’t want to know why. I just want to enjoy my ritual overeating. I can only deal with so much at a time.

In July of 2021 I made the decision to become vegan. This was radical, even for me. I decided to do it because I really am not comfortable hurting animals and because my body does very well without meat. Dairy products have so many hormones in them (poor cows) that unless I could afford to eat only organic, they are just not what I want to ingest.

Being vegan means that for every gathering, I am a pain in the butt for the host / hostess. Of course I haven’t been invited out too much, what with no boyfriend, few friends, and the kids…well, that’s my latest thing…I can’t keep relying on my kids. So I’m making Thanksgiving Dinner just for me. All organic, real food. The pumpkin pies just came out of the oven. I was going to run one over to my kids but realized that they might feel guilty for not inviting me over or something. So my tenants downstairs will get a vegan pie! Haha!

I will put a tablecloth on the table, light candles, and serve myself with delicious, organic, homemade food. I am going to think about all the things I am grateful for. On the top of my list: my wonderful, amazing, healthy, beautiful body.


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