Stop kicking the dog!


It’s been a crazy, crazy week, so I am asking for your indulgence as I dust off a previous post from the SVOA (Sisterhood Vault Of Archives.) This was not just any post. It is actually the very first post I ever wrote for this wonderful community of ours. I had asked if I could be a guest contributor and was thrilled when they said yes. (They’ve been stuck with me ever since. Ha!).

It’s a post about how we sometimes make things a harder on ourselves than necessary. And that we are the only ones with the power to change that. At the time I wrote it, I had just joined a Biggest Loser-style competition at my gym (which I am proud to say my team later won!). At the event’s kickoff, I was inspired by something I heard the nutritionist talk about. Enjoy. And give it some thought.

I am here to tell you it’s time to stop kicking the dog.

Some of you know I am participating in a Biggest Loser-style competition at my gym. I was inspired to sign up for it by the success and support of the virtual challenges of the Sisterhood. (Who says the Internet can’t be a positive influence on people?!)

The contest launched in late January with a kick off event. It was there that I met nutritionist Cara Zaller and learned about all the ways I kick the dog. Now, before you call the ASPCA on me, hold the phone! Kicking the dog is a metaphor for how we treat our bodies. Stick with me and allow me to do some ‘splaining.

Let’s suppose you have a dog (lucky you! Hubby is not convinced yet) and when you awoke in the morning, you gave this dog a swift kick. Each and every morning. Day in and day out, for weeks, months or even years. Do you think the dog would like you? Would the dog be friendly toward you? Kind toward you? Gentle around you? Be there for you in a pinch? Trust you? Of course not. The dog would not want anything to do with you. It would flinch, retreat and be royally pissed, rightfully so.

But let’s say after a few weeks or months or even years, you start to think ‘hey, this dog is still here… maybe I DO want to see if we can be friends. Maybe it’s time show this dog some love.’ You attempt to make amends. Will the dog be receptive at first? Not by a long shot. Will the dog wonder ‘what the **@#! is going on NOW?!’and look at you like you’ve fallen off your rocker? You bet. Will the dog trust you and react the way YOU would like for it to? Nope. Not at first.

But after a while, after seeing you at your best, after seeing you treat it kindly, gently and with thought, the dog doesn’t want to rip your head off or take a chunk out of your leg. The dog begins to breathe easier and hide less. You start to trust each other and invest in each other. This makes you feel great and the dog is one happy camper.

When we are not taking care of ourselves, we’re kicking the dog. We are kicking our own bodies. We all do it. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month.

Every time you’re not getting enough sleep? You’re kicking the dog. When you give up on yourself? You’re kicking the dog. When you go days without exercise, when you KNOW our bodies were made to move? You’re kicking the dog. When you beat yourself up with negative self-talk that paralyzes you and keeps you on the couch, you’re kicking the dog. When you don’t eat right or you smoke that next cigarette, you’re kicking the dog. YOU.

And you KNOW you are not the kind of person that would ever do something so harsh. Ever.Why do we treat our bodies so badly?