I Walk and My Body Says Thank You

by candida performa on flickr

This essay is part of the series, Accepting the Self: Latinas on Body Image. To enjoy the full series, please read the introduction.

amanda dufauBy Amanda Dufau

For the last two years, I’ve worked at an eating disorder center. Our philosophy is to eat intuitively, to listen to your body’s cues about what it wants and needs. I’ve adapted some of the techniques in my everyday life, but it has been a struggle.

It’s hard to ignore the Latina in me, the voice in my head reminding me that mami and abuela taught me to never leave anything on my plate. En Cuba se pasa hambre and I’m lucky to have all this food. It’s also been hard to think of the words “gordita” and “flaca” literally and not as terms of endearment.

But society tells us we need to be thin, we need to exercise for hours every day, and we need to be a size 6. No, wait, a 4. No way, Jose. Not everyone is built to be a size 4, especially us Latinas. So I have found a happy medium. I’ve learned to accept my body for what it is. My body is a temple. It is a work of art that brought two beautiful little people into the world. And screw the media and the magazines if they don’t agree.

But at the same time, I know it’s healthier for me if I exercise and eat healthy.

Since I started walking on a regular basis, my blood pressure, frighteningly high and controlled by meds since last October, has normalized. I don’t need my meds anymore. I haven’t lost more than four pounds, but my body is appreciative of my efforts and tells me so.

With every exhale it whispers “Thank You,” every step a clap recognizing my accomplishment. I’ve been a double-digit size for the past nine years, but I feel great, and I embrace every ounce, for this is me, and I love me, curvitas and all.

Amanda Dufau is a first-generation Cuban-American blogger living in Miami. Her blog, Brandon’s Puppy, chronicles life with her husband and two boys. She also can be reached via Twitter @MandersD22.

Latinas on Body Image

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By Contributor on July 2, 2011 · Posted in the habla habla

9 Comments | Post Comment

Monica says:

I used to have a pretty physical job before I quit when I had kids. I worked at a zoo and spent a lot of time walking, climbing, lifting, shoveling, etc.

But once I had kids, my physical activity when down the tubes. And I can tell a big difference in my health. I get sick more often, have lost a lot of strength, and (obviously) put on a few pounds.

We recently went to Disney World for a family vacation. We walked and walked and walked. Each night I was exhausted and sore, but I felt so GOOD!

So now that I’ve had a taste, I want that back. So I’m trying to establish a routine with the kids where we spend time outside working in the garden, or walking around a local park.

Thanks for sharing your story. It is a good reminder about how important our health is and how we should focus on that aspect.

~xo

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Joscelyn @ MamiofMultiples.com says:

Another great reminder to take care of myself! Thank you Amanda for sharing your story.

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Ericka says:

Amanda, I started to make time for walks too. No more excuses. I sit for hours behind a desk and go for a walk during my lunch hour. I go back to work ready to take on the next project. It makes a great difference.

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Kikita says:

That’s so great about your BP!!
I’ve been walking, too.
It’s like it centers me.
I love it! And you’re so right, my body loves it, too!

Great essay!
Besos!

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Marta says:

Thanks for sharing, Amanda.
“My body says thank you.” I like that. =D

Besos,
Marta

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

rachel says:

this just reminded me that i need to get back to my evening walks!

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Uchi says:

I started to make time for walks too !!! :) Thank you for sharing your story.

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Aurelia Flores says:

Amanda, I love how you start the post, by reminding us to “eat intuitively” and “listen to our bodies cues.” I love to walk — used to run, but enjoy the walking more, and it’s easier on my body (especially as I get older). What I enjoy is having the time to move, feel my strength and enjoy nature. Thanks for this beautiful post!

Posted on July 4th, 2011

Amanda says:

Monica, you worked at a zoo? How cool is that?!
And I know exactly what you mean about walking in Disney. =)

Aurelia, it’s actually been the other way around for me. I started walking, and now I’ve progressed to running. I ran my first timed 5K last month, and loved it! I’m up to 4 miles (at 2 run/2 walk intervals). I hope to do a half marathon in October.
But whether running or walking, just getting out there is refreshing, it clears my head and I know I’m doing something good for body.

Gracias a todas for your comments!

Posted on July 5th, 2011