Giving a shout-out to your body

For the past five years, I have written 60 articles for Iron Girl. Wow- that's a lot of brainstorming and researching!
Every month, I try to think of a topic that is relatable but can also make a difference in your life and how you go about reaching your personal goals.
There are many topics that I can choose to write about for my last monthly column (December) of the year on Irongirl.com, especially with the New Year approaching.
But, I try to stay with my philosophy of seeing food for fuel and for health and focusing on a balanced lifestyle in order to improve quality of life.
I hope you enjoy my latest column with Iron Girl as you think about your goals for 2014 and reflect on 2013. Not only is it a personal topic for myself, but as a clinical dietitian and exercise physiologist specializing in sport nutrition, my mission is to help athletes and fitness enthusiasts (men and women) learn how to have a better relationship with food and the body as the first step to improving health, reducing risk for disease, changing body composition and reaching performance goals.
(this article is not limited to females - male Trimarni readers, you need to thank your body as well)
Dear BodyBy Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC

As an Iron Girl athlete, you have a lot to be thankful for and you owe it all to your body. As the only place to live for the rest of your life, it's important that you go into the New Year with a balanced approach to reaching your health and fitness goals. Instead of spending the holiday season body bashing and making unrealistic exercise/diet resolutions for 2014, perhaps it is time to thank your body for all it has allowed you to do in 2013.  
I will help to get you started.
Dear Body,
Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me for the past ____ (age) years. I am a ______ (job), a _______ (parent to, significant other to, family member, best friend, etc.) and I love to ______ (hobby) and ______ (sport) and ______ (in your free time). I enjoy inspiring others by working hard for my goals and body, you keep me going strong every single day. We had some amazing highs, like when __________ (best athletic moment) and as you know, a few lows ________ (what obstacle did you overcome). But, I refuse to give up, so body, please don't give up on me.
I have hopes to ________ (short term goal) and eventually _______(long term goal) so let's continue to get out of bed every morning, to see what WE are capable of achieving in our awesome life together.

Body, I realize that I have not always been the best to you. There were times when you were ______ (ex. sleep-deprived, stressed, uncomfortable) and you told me that you were feeling off. Sometimes I listened and sometimes I did not. 
Body, I apologize for keeping you malnourished at times and my dietary choices made you feel restricted, moody, lethargic and hungry. Body, thank you for reminding me that you love to eat real food.  Body, I'm ready to maintain a healthy relationship with food.
Body, I love the muscles that help me cross finish lines and the beautiful weight on my arms, thighs, butt and hips that remind me I'm in good health.  
Body, what matters to me more than anything is that you don't fail me. I want to live until I am ______ (years of age) and I promise I will always respect you.

Body you are beautiful and I thank you for an amazing past year. I look forward to making memories with you in 2014!
Love, ________ (your name) 

You do not have to share this letter publicly with others like I did in 2010, but I encourage you to share this exercise with anyone who may need to give a little (or big) shout-out to their awesome body. Feel free to reach out if you'd like to share your letter with me or let me know how this exercise will make a difference in your lifestyle in 2014 (or now).