Loving yourself and your body with RA


I mentioned last week that I have somehow strangely turned into someone who enjoys cooking: chopping vegetables, using fresh herbs, finding ways to make cheaper at home versions of processed foods I like so that I know the ingredients I am putting in my body.

How did I get there?

I am a Pinterest junkie. I can pin all day if I wouldn’t get fired for it. So for motivation, I started a board where I pinned pictures of skinny people and various workouts. I deleted that board and all its pins recently because…guys… I had it all wrong.

The pictures I was a fan of were all along the lines of ‘thinspiration.’ If you know what that is…or even if you don’t…I think those pictures are dangerous and misleading.

Being female, I already feel the societal pull to be a zero. Even if my body is not made and would look all Skeletor as a zero. Being autoimmunely awesome, I feel even more pressure. Look normal. Look thin. Make sure nobody can tell you’re struggling with RA.

But at what expense does this come for a healthy person? And magnify this expense for someone with rheumatoid arthritis.

Finding this quote really made me think.


Am I making these decisions to work out and change my eating habits because I love myself and my body? Am I celebrating changes I see in my body because they are structural changes I’m making that will in the long run help support joints and make living with RA easier OR am I simply celebrating the number on the scale getting smaller? Do I even really love myself and my body? Can I say anything nice about my body? Well…why the heck not?

I was really surprised at my answers and motivations, and I’ll admit it scared me. I want to be skinny. I want to be normal. But none of those things connected to cultivating a lifestyle of wellness nor did I appreciate anything about what my body CAN do. And I feel that looking at it that way and treating myself and my body accordingly is not giving my body and myself what it needs and deserves. I also think that maybe translates into some not so great situations in my emotional life. And I imagine I’m not alone here.

This was not an overnight realization nor is it one that is completely no longer a struggle.

What I plan on getting into is trying to detail how I realized that I loathed my body and in some cases myself, and how I continue to address and try to change that thought process. This is a whole person, multi pronged approach and I expect to have multiple posts talking about fitness, how to work out with RA, nutrition, sleep, you name it. My goal is to post at least once a week.

But for now, a quick statement and a few more (healthier) Pinterest quotes for you.

Today, I love my body for not fighting me on getting up for work after a three day weekend.


And now I’m curious: what do YOU love about your body and yourself today?

6 responses »

  1. Hi Amanda,

    What a great idea – sharing your story about life with RA. My name is Renae. I was diagnosed when I was three years old. I’m now 38. All of my life the RA has had a mind of its own. Some days I hurt and some days are great. I mostly use small doses of prednisone (5 mg or so) for short periods of time (one or two weeks). Then the beast goes into remission for a while – usually a few years, if and when I’m lucky. I have only had one severe attack when I couldn’t walk, at all. My feet and hands swelled up so bad that they were red and white speckled and tingled. That time, they put me on some heavy duty prednisone. Well, I’m hurting – again, but not like that. My left wrist/thumb is the hot spot at this point in my journey. When I hurt, I go to the internet to see what new information I can find, and I came upon your blog. I’ve learned that birth control pills are something for me to avoid. They make RA worse for me. And I’m now thinking that perhaps dairy might be causing my latest flare up. I recently started eating much healthier than I had been and all of a sudden I’m hurting. Based on the wisdom of Google and its supporting documents, sounds like dairy is a food to avoid. Sigh. So much for that delicious yogurt and cheese sticks I’ve been enjoying.
    Good luck to you and many wishes for pain-free days.


  2. Loving my body and myself – what a powder keg! I have been overweight all my life – the middle girl with 2 slender sisters. It has been a struggle because I always thought everything would be so much better and easier if I were slender. Guess what! I never made it being thinner. RA certainly didn’t help, so for 44 years I have not only dealt with RA, meds and pain; I have been working on losing weight. I kept focusing on what was “wrong” with my body.

    Recently I have begun to thank all the systems, parts and cells of my body for working so well – just the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments have some difficulty. last week I was thinking how ugly my hands have become with deformity and less flexibility. But I sudden;y thought “These are creative hands, look at the quilting I have done, the crafts, the work projects, projects for my husband, my writing, crosswords – I have used my hands to create things. I think about all my systems – digestive, respiratory, circulatory, elimination, etc. and I realize how well they all work to keep in good health. I think of all my organs that are working so well and I realize I have an amazing body. I think about all the places I have been able to go, things I’ve seen, people I have met and it is truly amazing how much I have experienced.

    No, I don’t have a model thin body, I am not considered beautiful or blonde, tall or movie star looks. But I am who I am right now and that is really great. I went yesterday to a radio station about having my own talk show and I realized I wasn’t agonizing over all the things I’m not. I was comfortable being who I was at that moment and I felt confident. I am still a work in progress and I have accomplished a lot so far.

    • That made me tear up! I totally agree! Focusing on what you can do and for me, accepting it being what it is and living simply to be healthy with all things in my control ie don’t stress about weight, removes a significant burden! It’s a good feeling to feel good and secure in your own skin, especially dealing with these diseases.

      • Interestingly enough, in reading Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Yourself”, she writes that when you love yourself, it changes so much. I checked that book out of the library 3 or 4 times, then finally bought it. I found so many things in it that help me so much.

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