A few days ago during my morning commute to work, I had a pretty amazing realization: I love my body, right now, just as it is, and I want to take care of myself in healthy ways in order to show that love. This may seem like a basic realization to some, but it’s the first time I’ve truly been in this state of mind.
In the past when I lost weight the drive and determination usually came from a destructive place. I wanted to lose weight because a certain guy told me I wasn’t thin enough for him, or I blamed my weight for the reason my life wasn’t how I wanted it to be, etc. This lead to serious calorie-cutting and over-exercise which just wasn’t sustainable. I would push myself hard and be angry that I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted fast enough. Then, exhausted and starving, I would give up and be even more angry and disappointed in myself.
Thankfully, over time, I got to a place where I stopped actively hating myself and reached a more peaceful level of begrudging acceptance. “I’m just always going to be overweight. It’s really not so bad. I’m still an attractive person.” Now, I’m not saying that acceptance is a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s pretty important if we want to live emotionally healthy lives.
But now, I feel that I’m in a place of actual love for myself. Instead of looking at eating more healthily and working out as some kind of deserved punishment, I see these things as ways to show myself that I care about myself. When I feel like I should skip a workout because I’m tired and my body needs a break, I don’t see that as a weakness that needs to be overcome. Instead I just enjoy the extra rest day and know that I’ll have an even better workout tomorrow. I actually listen to my body instead of stubbornly pushing myself to keep going when I clearly need a break.
My relationship with food has changed as well. As far back as I can remember, I was someone who would “sneak eat.” If there were treats in the house that I was told I shouldn’t be eating, I would steal one or two and eat them in my room or another place where no one would see. Even as an adult in my early to late twenties I would buy junk food, hide it my room, and eat it out of sight so I couldn’t be judged by a roommate. Looking back, I actually thought this was normal and that everyone did this! It wasn’t until I moved into my own apartment a few years ago that I was fully able to stop doing this. I would still buy a treat from time to time, but I taught myself to eat only a small portion every few days. Now my husband I don’t often keep treats in the house, but when we do we eat a little bit of it together and save the rest for later. What a difference it has made!
It took a lot of emotional digging and examining to get to this point, but I see that I’ve made some real progress. So much anxiety, insecurity, and longing for control contributed to the majority of my issues with weight and food. I deeply believe that this time around the weight will stay off and I will continue to be successful because I’m going slowly and taking the time to address the less visible, less tangible reasons for being overweight. It will be slow-going, but it will be worth it, I’m sure!