This past year or so has been difficult for me in accepting that some of what goes on in my body or happens externally to my body is out of my control.
I’m kinda taller than you, 5’10, and was active and strong and felt very vital for most of my life. However, a multitude of injuries from three different car accidents (none of which were my fault; all people who ran into me–two were drunk driving) and a work-related injury from a few years ago have piled up long-term effects on my back, hips and neck. This led to a lot of bedrest, interruption of my work, my exercise, healthy physical outlets, etc. I became unable to do much of what I previously took for granted as being able to do easily and comfortably.
Just as I thought I might be getting better, another accident would happen and I would be back at square one. Each was worse than the last.
Then, as I was recuperating from the last accident, I was also noticing that my cycles were abnormal and I was experiencing so many strange symptoms. It took mannnnnnnnnny months, but I was finally diagnosed with an endocrine disorder and fertility disorder. Weight issues come with both diagnoses. At that point I was able to exercise and though I had gained weight while being off my feet intermittently for a very long, extended period of time, making headway with the endocrine difficulties was very hard.
Then, four months after I was diagnosed, I broke my ankle this summer and was off of it for another six weeks, right after we moved across the country. Then I found out I was pregnant (unexpectedly but excitedly) and spent about 12 weeks puking repeatedly on a daily basis and sleeping as much as possible. I also had a severe asthma attack and was in the hospital for a couple days.
Now that I’m pregnant, I can expect more of a weight gain, although that hasn’t really happened quite yet. I’m exercising to the best of my ability and praying that no more crazy accidents or health emergencies happen to me (or my husband, for that matter)–God willing. The exercise program I originally intended to start is not something my doctor is willing to let me do until after I deliver. (By the way, aside from the fertility disorder, my doctor also told me my back would collapse if I was pregnant. So far that hasn’t happened, but six more months to go! :))
Something that healed me when I felt very helpless as to what was happening and not being able to actively counterbalance anything with my old exercise patterns–was to accept the love of my husband. He is my greatest love and biggest cheerleader. I went through a period of time where I really withdrew and felt very ashamed of all that was happening to me, certain injuries that took a long time to heal and my body that didn’t feel toned or attractive anymore.
He would come in and I had gotten into the terrible habit of basically trying to hide my body and injuries from him and he would lay down, cuddle me and start kissing little parts of my body. “I love this little toe,” he would say. Or, “I need to kiss this itty bitty earlobe of yours.” Slowly I opened myself back up to him and I would let him kiss places I felt were ugly or undesirable at the time. (Not that a spouse’s body should ever be off limits, but I just felt so sad and disappointed with what had happened to me seemingly time and again, that I had withdrawn from him.) My husband is the type who, since nearly the day we met, has constantly told me how beautiful I am to him. During the healing time after the most damaging accident and while trying to figure out what was going on internally with me, I got tired of hearing it and would say things like, I don’t feel beautiful and I don’t want to hear you say that to me again. (So rude of me. I was just very insecure.) He paid zero attention and would constantly take my face and say things like, “Who is the most gorgeous girl!?!!”
It sounds silly, but living with that kind of affirmation on a daily basis is hard to ignore. It helped my attitude and my emotions heal, and in some ways I think it even made my physical healing faster because he was so convinced I would be better, even when everything seemed to be going the wrong way.
He would also always compliment and point out the things I could do right for my body and that he would observe me doing–going to PT, doing stretching and PT on my own, visiting the doctor (something I tend to hate), eating healthy, cooking wisely for us, etc.
Maybe you can ask your husband to encourage you and affirm you too, more so than maybe you normally need? Love is so healing.