Thirty years ago, I was obsessed with trying to attain physical perfection. I had this idea that if I could weigh a certain amount, have my measurements be an exact number, have my hair the best length and all ten of fingernails long at the same time, I would be perfect and with that, perfectly happy.
I spent a year working out two hours a day lifting weights, running, doing sit-ups and squats. I carefully measured and tracked everything I ate and I weighed myself daily (OK, multiple times a day).
And then one day it happened. I got up, stood on the scale, took out my measuring tape and voila — perfection had been reached. For a few moments I was in bliss.
This occurred while I was at Club Med in the Bahamas on a vacation by myself. (I had recently broken up with my boyfriend.) It was only Day Two of my holiday and I didn’t have anyone to share my “good news” with.
I realized that I couldn’t just walk up to strangers and say, “Hey, look at me, I’m perfect!”
I quickly sank into a bit of a depression as I realized I had just spent a year chasing a dream that wasn’t fulfilling me …
The gift of all of this was that I stopped the insanity of restricting myself on so many levels. I quit measuring my food and counting calories. I decided to exercise a more reasonable five times a week for an hour, and most importantly, I no longer looked to the scale to tell me how I would feel about my body.
A few years later, I discovered the ancient Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi, which seeks to find beauty and perfection in imperfection. Slowly, I began to let go of my notions of perfection (in all areas of my life) and find fun ways to reframe the things I formerly judged about myself. I declared myself a Wabi Sabi Artisan.
Rather than beat myself up over my less-than-ideal spelling skills, I embraced typos. I found humorous ways to forgive myself for having a bad memory and forgetting names. I forewarned my dining companions that my food was likely to spill into my lap and possibly get onto theirs!
Over the past few years I have developed a muffin-top. It’s that extra roll of fat that pops up over my jeans at the waistline. Each time I notice it, I have this thought, Oh no, it’s time to go on a diet!
But, of course, I never do start that diet. Today I decided it’s time to stop judging and hating my muffin top and I asked the wiser, Wabi Sabi artisan part of me to find the beauty and perfection in it instead. Here’s what she said:
“Your adorable muffin top is proof of your fabulous life. You are happy, satisfied and content and you get to eat delicious, nourishing food. Your muffin top surrounds you with an extra layer of protection should you get stranded in a desert with no food for a week. Your muffin top is a daily reminder that life is to be lived and enjoyed and that eating is one of life’s great pleasures that peaks all of your senses so hurray for the muffin top!”
So for those of you who also have a “muffin-top” share with me what you are learning to love about yours!