SGBC Topic 1, Week 1: ‘Dear Body’

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summerglowbannercopy3 thumb   SGBC Topic 1, Week 1: ‘Dear Body’

Good evening Summer Glow Participants!

I hope the challenge is treating you well so far! ;) We have over 265 people signed up for the boot camp- whoa baby!! :) That is so awesome. I am so glad that you guys are as excited about this as I am!

Summer Glow Boot Camp: Topic 1, Week 1

As you may know, this week’s theme is REFLECTION- How we think, feel, and perceive our current selves.

I thought it was a good idea to start off the challenge to stopping to reflect on how we currently view ourselves.

How often do we do this? Not enough, right?

More importantly, how often do we CHALLENGE the way we currently think about ourselves? Probably not often! Many of us just accept those little negative voice demons in our heads.

Well it doesn’t always have to be like this!

Topic 1 of the SGBC is called ‘Dear Body’.

Dear Body is something that the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty has going on. If you have ever been to the Dove Campaign website you know how much awesome stuff they have going on to promote women’s self-esteem. I absolutely love their website and all of their challenges that they have. A few weeks ago, I came across their Dear Body challenge. They also have a ‘Pay Beauty Forward’ movement going on where they challenge women to pay a compliment to other women, and pass it on (much like Operation Beautiful!). These websites are so wonderful and carry such an uplifting message for girls and women alike!

The Dear Body Challenge asked women to write a letter to their body and then audition by reading the letter that they wrote to their body out loud.

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Step 1 of tonight’s SGBC task is to watch the Dear Body video on the Dove website. The video can be found by clicking here.

Click on ‘play video’ and watch the video of women reading their dear body letters. It is so so moving! It brought me to tears actually.

I was inspired to write my own Dear Body letter:

Dear Body,

Where do I even begin?

And more importantly, how do I thank you?

It hasn’t always been easy being my body, that is for sure.

I have abused you, yelled at you,

cried at the sight of you, and vowed that I hated you.

 

I have made you stay at home because I was ashamed of you.

I have avoided others because you didn’t look a certain way.

How did you get through it?

You have been called every name in the book.

You have been starved and deprived.

You have been overfed and out of control.

You have been exhausted, despite your cries for rest.

You have been given too much to drink.

And you have been punished.

Yet every morning of every day, you forgave me for this.

You put my two feet on the ground and made it through another day.

When you tried to talk to me, I ignored you.

I dismissed you and called your bluff.

But you stuck with me through it all.

And I can’t thank you enough.

I used to be ashamed of you.

I used to pick you apart and analyze you.

But you always encouraged me to hold my head high.

You got me through some hard times in my life.

You walked me down the hallway of countless new schools.

You didn’t give up when I was picked on in school.

You remained strong when I got injured from pushing you too hard.

You have taught me to appreciate everything you do for me.

To love you unconditionally.

And to be thankful for my health.

I can run in a race. I can hold my husbands hand. I can hug my loved ones. I can listen to my mom and sister’s advice. I can look into the mirror and see your true beauty.

How did I not see this before?

I can walk down the street and see beauty everywhere because of what you have taught me.

My promise to you is to love you unconditionally. Every inch. Every freckle. Every dimple.

My promise to you is to appreciate all of the AMAZING things you do for me each and every day!!

My promise to you is not to let another day go by without thanking you and seeing my inner and outer glow.

~~~~~~~~~

Your second challenge for tonight is to write your own dear body letter. You can leave it below or simply write it to yourself and get your feelings and thoughts out that have been pent up for some time. I also want you to include at the end of the letter a couple promises to your body. 

Tonight’s question:

How did the Dove video impact you? What did you think about it?

What would your dear Body letter say? What promises do you want to make to your body?

angela signature thumb4   SGBC Topic 1, Week 1: ‘Dear Body’

I loved this quote ‘It has taken me a LONG time to call you dear…’

and

Remember in our hearts we are still girls, blessed with a grandmother’s face’

Wow…so touching! that gave me shivers!!

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

A July 2, 2009

Ange, I seriously teared up at your letter. So beautiful.

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Kris July 2, 2009

What an amazing letter! You took the words right out of my mouth and said it better than I could have :) You are a very talented writer my dear! You’ve come a long way and you should be very proud of yourself!

Thank you for helping others to appreciate themselves and to find their true beauty! :)

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Coley July 2, 2009

Thank you so much for sharing you letter! It was beautiful and I think its something we all should do. I’m going to go write mine right now:)

You are a very inspirational person and have greatly affected my life, thank you so much for all the thought and time you put into each post you do!

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*Andrea* July 2, 2009

ok i just cried reading your letter. i think because i relate 100%. also, because i am nowhere near the point you are at but i would LOVE to be.. if my body wrote a letter to me it wouldn’t be so pleasant ;)

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Katie July 2, 2009

You wrote what I would have said word for word, but here goes

Dear Body,
I’m sorry that I still wake up days and forget how amazing you are. You’ve carried me through a tough half-marathon and are carrying me through a marathon. Thank you! I know there are years where you were hungry and not fed. I know there were days where things are blurry because you were hungry. I know there were days that you were weak because I was weak. Thank you for keeping me going. I hope to one day fully appreciate every beauty mark (after all there are no flaws on you the one thing that I can always count on and helps me achieve my goals) you have. For now I’m slowly learning to accept the bigger beauty marks hopefully the little ones will be appreciated too. Thank you body for being beautiful and strong even on days I wasn’t. Thank you for being there when I needed some one. Thank you for waiting on my head to get in sync with you. Thank you body without you nothing would be possible.

Katie

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 2, 2009

Wow…beautiful. Thanks ladies!!
A letter from our bodies…now THAT is a great idea!!

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Andrea July 2, 2009

I just watched the video and I loved right at the end when she said that she ahd nothing tragic happen to her but nothing wonderful either but everyone has a story. It’s so true. we all matter!

I will be writing my letter tonight! Great idea!

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Casey July 2, 2009

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL letter you have written. Thank you for sharing. It’s a letter I’m sure most of us women can relate to!

Casey

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Katherine July 2, 2009

The video was so incredibly touching. I’m going to write my letter now and post it on my blog. Thank you so much for writing about this, and for writing the letter to your own Body. You are beautiful!!

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Jen July 2, 2009

That video was so moving!! Thank you for that! i love the idea of writing a letter to my body!

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Kayzilla July 2, 2009

I love stuff like this. I just wish the media would take hold of this concept and spread it like a really bad case of herpes or swine flu or something. Then maybe we’d all be just a pinch happier. : )

Here’s my letter:
“‘Sup body.
So, I’ve kind of been a big jerk to you. We fought sometimes. I cried because I wasn’t looking at you with nonjudgement and love. I cried thinking that you were a burden to me, meant to make my life hell unless you changed. I hated being with you, you were my scapegoat for the longest time. If anything went wrong, it was YOUR fault. Now I realize the one who needs to change is me and my thoughts, and my thinking was wrong. You’ve always given me everything, and I’ve been cruel.

I think we got off on a wrong foot. While I can’t forget anything I’ve done, I know I can do better, and I can move forward here on with a better piece of mind, curiosity and awareness of you, and love. Lots of love.

Just an fyi, your strength, vitality, and unique shape is the bomb. I love what you do for me, with only the request of rest and food. We’re going to be together for a long time, so let’s do this right. Today. Right now.

Dear body, I love you! Lets take on life together in peace.

Booyah,
Your Kayzilla.”

My body response: “…” Well, it’s full and content from dinner, but I think if it could talk it would say “I appreciate that and accept your apology.” because my body is forgiving like that.

Ahh body. -rubs belly- You can’t do me wrong honestly, can you? Hehe.

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Martha July 2, 2009

As good as the message Dove sends is, be aware that it is a marketing ploy. Dove is a part of a larger company (Unilever) that also sells Axe. All of Axe’s ads (the body spray for men) are sexist, and objectifying to women. (Youtube it). Healthy body image and body awareness is awesome, but don’t buy into this alternative marketing.

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Jess July 2, 2009

I thought the video was great – I wish they had given us the entire letter written by those women. It would be interesting to see what they say.

I will be writing my own, but I need a few days to craft it in my head I think.

P.S. I want hair like Rhonda when I grow up! LOVE IT! Rock the curls! :)

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Jenna Z July 2, 2009

I LOVE this! Don’t you love it when you read something that really just resonates with you and you feel like you completely understand? Here is my letter, thank you for the prompt because this was long overdue!

Dear Body,
For years, I ignored you. (How is that even possible? You’re kind of attached to me.) When other people said “I need to work on my thighs” or “I need to work on my arms” I thought I didn’t need to work on anything. But not because I was happy with what I saw but because I denied any part of you existed. When I finally did examine you, I found it all so bad that I couldn’t pick or choose just one part to “work” on. So I didn’t work at all.
Now I can see every part of you. Every crooked tooth, scar, corkscrewed white hair and dry patch of skin. And I know every piece of you is ME, makes up ME! And I like me! Without you I couldn’t walk my dog, hold my husband, bake a loaf of bread or pull weeds in my garden. Without you I couldn’t volunteer my time, create new and wonderful things, or go on adventures.
Before, I was completely withdrawn. My brain, I thought, that’s the only part that matters right? It’s what’s inside that counts? But my brain is only ONE part of you, that works with all the other parts to make me.
Before, I ate for my brain. For the feel-good feeling, for the relief from boredom, for the guilt or stress or sadness. But food has to satisfy EVERY part of you, not just the brain. And activity needs to nourish every part of you. The brain may enjoy a good book and a slice of cake everyday, but the legs and heart need a good run and an egg white omelet.
I promise to take into account EVERY part of you, to never deny the each and every part makes up the whole. I will make choices that nourish you as a whole, to keep you strong, disease free, vibrant, healthy and operating efficiently. For you, for your family and your community.
Love,
Me

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MarathonVal July 2, 2009

What a beautifully crafted letter Angela, and all of the women that just commented with letters of their own were so inspring to read too.

I think it will take some guts for me to sit down and do this, so I may need a bit of time, but I hope I can convince myself to do it!

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Whitney July 2, 2009

Your letter and the video are so inspiring. I won’t post mine here, but do know that I will be writing it.

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Courtney July 3, 2009

Wow, that was such a great letter! I am sure we can ALL relate. The most frustraing one for me is avoiding people if I feel I didn’t look a certain way, i.e. being bloated, break outs, etc. What a criminal way of living!

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Leah @ Simply Fabulous July 3, 2009

Love this. It brought back a ton of memories, and made me thankful for where I am today.

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Salina July 3, 2009

Wow… that was pretty deep angela.. your words definitely struck a chord though.. Especially “I made you stay at home because I was ashamed of you” — it makes me cry… How many countless nights have I stayed at home on friday night because I was, am still am, very ashamed of how I look… Here’s my attempt at the letter:

Dear Body,

I am so sorry.

I know that I haven’t treated you very well over the last few years. I punished you terribly with food you can’t tolerate, because of my own selfish gluttony. I’ve kicked you while you were down with prescription drugs and alcohol, I’ve pushed aside your need for rest and your thirst for something good.
I’m promising you today, my beautiful and strong body, that I’m not going to punish you anymore. I promise you that when you are tired, I will sleep. That when you are hungry, I will put something healthy into you. When you are thirsty, I will drink water, not soda. And when I feel depressed by my inability to love you as you are, I will not punish you with a fad diet or pills.
I appreciate you. I want you to stick around for my wedding, and my children, and my grandchildren, because I want to participate in those things and I cannot do it without.

With love, from this day forth
Salina

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Gillian July 3, 2009

Angela, thank you so much for this and your other body image posts. I have struggled with body image for many years and it is something I have trouble speaking up about and writing publicly about, even though I have taken the risk at times.

This post came at a perfect time as I have been very hard on myself lately. I wrote myself a dear body letter in my journal and teared up writing the first sentence. It was a long apology. I have come a long way from hating my body and abusing it as I have in the past, but I can still go further in loving it properly.

Thank you so much.

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Marina July 3, 2009

Dear Body,
I have to admit that I don’t(didn’t) like you. Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw your buffed up legs like you are a very well trained soccer player, I saw fat calves, waist that isn’t small enough, breasts that are too small…I saw disproportional body that wouldn’t be sexy to anyone.
I thought that when I loose those 4,5,6 pounds, I would be happier. I’m not. I constantly put you through stress, pain and exhaustion. I don’t give you enough rest. You tell me that I need to take a break, that you won’t get fat if I skip exercise or eat that cookie I want so much.
Although I bully you, you get me through everything. I’ll try to look at you differently now.
Those legs are so strong because you got me through hard karate trainings, in spite of my chronic bronchitis, exercise triggered asthma and a little “hole” in my heart. Now I am capable of kicking ass ;)
Your waist is small enough. So what if it isn’t those magic 60 cm.Your arms are thin, but they are NOT wobbly.If your ribcage is visible, you don’t have too much fat there!!

When I push you, and you gasp for every molecule of air, I’ll let you rest. How can I not be happy with you, when my boyfriend loves you. I can’t be so vain and hard on you, ignoring what someone who I love and appreciate the most thinks. You deserve more. I’ll try to love you and appreciate you more. Please be strong as you always were. I need you.
We’ll make a great team ;)

with love,
Marina

Angela, thank you for making me do this! I didn’t write it all now, but I’ll think I’ll make more of these letters to myself. Thanks!!

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Jessica July 3, 2009

Dear Body:
When we grew up together, it was just you, me, and our dad. He tried to feed us on what he had, but he didn’t think about nutrition. We got chubby and were called names.
For the next 15 years, we were at war with each other. I blamed you for your ugliness and you blamed me for my lack of self control and knowledge. We battled for days on end … I would starve myself, attempting to reach a perfection, and you would get angry at me and tempt me to eat and eat and eat. I have punished you, cried at you, yelled at you, hurt you. You have fought back and you have never given up on me.
I’m sorry body, for how I treated you the last 15 years. I’m sorry for not giving you proper nutrition. I’m sorry for hurting you. I’m sorry for denying you life and caring more about you looking as small as possible. I’m sorry for reversing your temptations.
Today, body, we are one. I surrender to you and promise to feed you properly, to give you fuel and power to get through the day, and to treat you like you deserve. You never gave up on me, and you could have. You could have caused me to get really ill. But you believed in me finding the way back to our friendship.
Thank you, body, for understanding.
Together we will reach what is a healthy perfection – something that we can achieve only at optimal happiness.
I love you, body, and we’ll lose those last pesky pounds together while getting stronger together.
Love, Jessica

I needed that, Ange! Thanks!
You are beautiful, too, by the way!
-Muffy

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Tania July 3, 2009

Thanks so much for this post Angela! I am just bawling. I’ll compose my own letter soon.

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Melanie July 3, 2009

Dear Body,
You and I sure do have a contentious relationship, don’t we? I’ve never gotten along with you; even when I was only 115 pounds, I still hated you because you weren’t firm, your boobs were too small, whatever. Now, at 175, i see just how much I took you for granted. Even at 130, our weight at the wedding, I still wasn’t satisfied, even though we were a beautiful bride.

But now, I’m looking at what I’ve done to you this past few years and I’m pretty torn up. I’ve blamed it on medications, on my mother-in-law’s cooking, but I rarely stopped to think that it’s really what *I* have been doing to you. I made the choices to stop eating healthily. I made each decision to sit on the couch and watch TV.

I put food in you when I’m sad, happy, and bored. I don’t listen to you. I’m sorry for that. I go by what my mind and emotions want to do and not by what you need, knowing full well what it may do to both of us when we get older.

My promises to you? I promise that I’m going to listen to you–I’m going to pay attention to what you need–because you know better than I do. I’m going to take a step back when I want something and take the time to decide whether it’s you or me that wants it. I’m going to take time for us. I’m going to let you sweat, to let you gain strength, to get to the shape and size that you’re supposed to be, that you want to be, not where *I* think you should be. I promise.

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Corinne July 3, 2009

Thank you for that! It gave me shivers, not only from the beauty of the writing and the integrity of the message, but mostly because I think that nearly every woman on the planet can relate. We have all been battling these demons inside of ourselves and I feel like every since I’ve been reading your blog my mindset has been shifting – I thank you for creating such an open, educating forum for me and the other women to participate. It is truly inspiring and motivating!

It will take some time for me to craft my own letter, but I am committed to doing so however painful it is to be honest with myself.

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Erica July 3, 2009

That was beautiful…here is mine (kind of short but I don’t know what else to say to my body):

Dear Body,

I worry about you a lot and I know I need to take better care of you. I know this, but for some reason my brain tells me not to. I’m working on this and doing my best. I could promise to you that I’ll nourish you and care for you, but (as you’re well aware) these are often empty promises. I will get better. I will take care of you soon. I’m sorry.

Love,
Erica

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DearThyroid July 3, 2009

WOW! LOVE THIS POST! It reminds me so much of our website — we write letters (hateful, thankful) to our thyroid glands. Very interesting that you’re taking the same approach in thanking your body. How cool. We’d love for you to check our site out. I also saw that you’re into being healthy and eating healthy. We also have a nutrition column called “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass” that you might enjoy. It’s packed with unconventional tools to be healthy.

Thanks again for your great blog! :)

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sarah July 3, 2009

I totally teared up reading this.

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Gena (Choosing Raw) July 4, 2009

Angela —

This is SUCH a beautiful post. Thank you for moving me — for moving so many readers! — with a tribute to your lovely, strong body. Thank you, thank you.

Gena

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Fitzalan July 6, 2009

Dear Body,
I hated you for so many years. I treated you awful and pushed you to limits I never should have. You stayed with me. Despite being abused, you stuck by me and held out the hope that I would one day become aware of the pain I was causing you. And you were right. It was a long, difficult process, but I eventually did notice how horrible I was to you. I finally changed my ways. I finally started looking at you for your strengths and power instead of only focusing upon the things I hated. I accepted the things I cannot change, instead of staring at them in the mirror with disgust towards myself.

The best thing this change has brought about is that I am happier in things that have nothing to do with my body. My running is the same but I am happier when I am just sitting around, hanging out with friends.

Because you stuck with me, you have taught me how to appreciate and enjoy life more.

I will never starve you again. I will never run or exercise you into complete exhaustion without helping you recover. I will never look at you in the mirror with hatred. I will appreciate all the happiness and strength you bring me.

Happiness Awaits

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Melanie Z July 6, 2009

Great idea Angela! You’re such an inspiration. I’ve posted my letter to my body on my blog.

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