Body positivity can be extra tough when you are a spoonie. When your body doesn’t cooperate and you have to fight it all the time, it can be hard to believe that “all bodies are good bodies” or “there’s no wrong way to have a body”. In fact, for some of us it isn’t even true that our bodies are doing all they can to keep us alive! It’s pretty hard to be positive toward something actively trying to kill you.
So, how do you stay body positive as a spoonie? For one, it helps to refocus yourself on what you can do rather than what your body can’t do. Whatever limits you may have, there is still a list you can make of what is possible. Make that list, and see what you can do to add to it. Learn something new, take up a fun hobby, expand that list any way you can. As you see the list grow, it will help you find appreciation for what your body is capable of still.
Being self-conscious about weight is a common thing for people with chronic illnesses or mental health issues. People can’t control their weight the way they think they can. (link link) Spoonies have even less control over it. Between illness symptoms, physical limits, and medicine side effects, weight gain and loss is pretty well out of our hands. Even eating “perfectly” (whatever that may be) and exercising all the time won’t give guaranteed results, so just do what you can to care for yourself, and then let the numbers go. There is no perfect weight, and your body has other concerns anyway. Stressing out by worrying about your weight is more harmful than just letting your body find its natural set point given what you are doing.
We are all told that we should get more exercise. Movement can help our bodies to feel better and help us to feel better about our bodies. There are many reasons a typical exercise routine isn’t reasonable for a spoonie. Some have conditions making them exercise intolerant (link, link), some have injuries or limitations for other reasons. There is usually some way to find movement you can enjoy though. I miss dancing. My P.O.T.S. doesn’t allow it without me getting very winded and light-headed now. So, I’ve adjusted my dancing to less movement or chair moves. There are many resources out there depending on your limits. A physical therapist can help you work something out too.
Some days are harder to me to stay body positive, when I focus on things I can’t do anymore. When finding new things to do isn’t enough, sometimes I rethink new ways to do what I’ve lost. Cooking is much harder for me now that I can’t stand as long. I really miss it sometimes, so now, on my good days, we have a chair in the kitchen I can sit on as I cook. I can’t garden like I used to, so we went smaller and have a few container plants now. Many things can be rethought and adjusted like that.
Just like most things for spoonies, body positivity is possible with adjustments. Do you have other challenges to body positivity you would like to see discussed? Please share in the comments!