By: Katie Matthews

I believe in compliments.

I am an advocate for spreading love to others in an effort to uplift the world around us.

One of the nicest compliments that I have received in my life was from a friend in college. He explained to me that, when he is having a conversation with me, he is grateful for the way that I make him feel like he is the most important person in the world by giving him my complete attention and offering support. 

I have always been a cheerleader for those around me, however I struggle to do the same for myself. 

A couple of months ago, I saw a picture of myself tagged on Facebook from the previous weekend, and I immediately cringed with frustration over my appearance.

I decided to do my part and make some positive changes in an effort to look better.

I cut out fast food, including my coveted coffee specialty drinks. My diet is much healthier now, including an insane amount of daily water intake. I upped the number of times I go to yoga each week, incorporated more strengthening exercises at home, and started running again.

I am currently reading Big Girl, a book about a girl named Kelsey who crashes and burns with diets throughout her life. Early on in the memoir, she describes a meeting with her nutritionist. Together they start working towards a long-term lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise. When Kelsey expresses her eagerness to get started, the nutritionist tells her to slow down a minute, that she has a question to ask first. The nutritionist asks

"How would you feel if you made these changes but did not lose any weight"

- in other words, what if this was Kelsey’s normal weight? Kelsey was shocked and outraged by the question. Honestly, I was just as surprised by the question at first. Why put yourself through something if you are not going to see any results? But then it hit me how much this question resonates in my own personal experience.

Why are diet and exercise so often associated with weight loss? I have spent the past few months changing my lifestyle in an effort to change my body, but it has not necessarily changed my mind about how I feel about my body. Shedding a few pounds might improve my overall appearance, but it does not mean that I will automatically be satisfied with the way that I look.

I am realizing that it is just as important for me to feel better about myself as it is for me to take better care of myself.

I love complimenting others - the lightness it stirs in one’s soul and the smile it brings to one’s face. I used to struggle to take compliments from others, but I have gotten much better at taking compliments overtime. What I need to learn how to do now is to give myself compliments. Sometimes it is hard for us to love our bodies.

I know it is hard for me to always love my body.

Enough is enough though.

Moving forward, I hope to love my body more as I continue to take better care of it.

I believe it is important for me to find a way to embrace myself for the woman God has made me to be.

Instead of looking in the mirror and telling myself that I need to change, I want to look in the mirror and commend myself for the ways I am continuing to grow and better myself.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KATIE MATTHEWS

Hi everyone, my name is Katie Matthews! I live in Cincinnati and am the Director of Campus Ministry at St. Mary's Church working with the college students at Miami University in Oxford. Fr. H.Paul Kim first introduced me to his idea of the Living Person in 2010 when he encouraged me to do two things: pray and run. Since then I've fallen in love with this concept and challenged myself in a variety of ways. I most enjoy swimming, running, yoga, laughing obnoxiously loud, dancing, and all aspects of Ignatian Spirituality.


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