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Self-Love + Weight Loss

I am going to begin this post with the reasons why, in three years of blogging about body image, this is a topic that I chronically dance around, dipping my toe in and running away terrified.

I’ve noticed that many people like to talk about their body in one of two ways: as something they are battling against in an effort to appeal to whittle it down to something smaller or as something that they love so unconditionally, they are uninterested in any weight loss talk – thank you very much.

I also want to take a moment to add a disclaimer that some totally awesome people that I respect very much navigate this territory with gorgeous transparency and integrity and authenticity – Christie Inge and KCLAnderson, I’m talking to you, amongst others – and I think they are just the bees knees.

But I don’t really talk about it, here. 

I don’t talk about it because if you get nothing else from this website I want you to get this message:

Love yourself. Love yourself unconditionally. Love yourself with everything you’ve got, every ounce of strength and courage that you can muster, because at the end of the day it’s just you, alone with your thoughts. Love yourself because you have suffered enough. Love yourself because you deserve every possible good thing that you are keeping out of your life when you’re deeply submerged in the muck of confusion and self-doubt.

I don’t talk about it because I don’t want you to get this message:

Loving yourself is all good and grand, but not if you’re FAT. Loving yourself is great, but you really should lose weight because you’re not very healthy, lets admit it. Loving yourself is wonderful, but only if you’re being good and sticking to your weight loss program.

I don’t talk about it because I didn’t want you to think I had softened my resolve, or that I didn’t think all the same things weren’t important anymore. I didn’t want you to think that I had abandoned you.

But somewhere along the way, it became markedly apparent that I had abandoned myself.

Now, I’ve done this both privately and publicly, but, bottom line, I have not been walking my walk. I have been consciously putting thoughts of discomfort and dis-ease out of my head when I think about my body, currently, as it is right this second. I wish I had been telling myself messages like:

You’re gorgeous just the way you are. You’re perfect. You don’t need to change! You’re lovely.

But, often the message is:

Don’t you dare lose a pound, you fraud. You just sit up here on your high horse yammering on and on about self-love and you don’t love yourself?! You feel fat?! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! Who do you think you are? (and ultimately..) They are all going to leave your site and never come back, and you will deserve it.

Here’s the thing: I do feel gorgeous. I do feel perfect. I do love myself.  It’s just that, for the first time in my life, I am understanding that sometimes loving yourself means wrangling yourself in when you’ve spiraled out of control. I understand that loving myself means, taking care of the only body that I’ll be given – it means speaking my truth, but it also means living my truth. 

My name is Mara, and I am a compulsive eater, sometimes recovered and sometimes not so much.

My name is Mara, and I believe this: you have to love yourself first. You have to love yourself above everything else. But wanting to lose weight, or the act of weight loss when you’re feeding yourself the foods that make YOU feel good or moving in a way that YOU love, will not make you a body image warrior exile in my book.

My name is Mara, and today, I love myself enough to recognize that I feel a little lackluster.

My name is Mara, and I love myself enough to take care of myself first and foremost, for the first time in my life. 

I may not have been able to say it strongly or clearly enough during my first years of blogging, but here it is:

Medicinal Marzipan is a blog about self-love and body image, and documents my journey (as well as our collective journey) to radically love our bodies to the best of our abilities. Here, in this community, loving your body means: taking care of it the best way YOU know how and engaging in the deeply personal process of deciding what is YOUR healthy.  It means the continual work of severing YOUR voice from the voice of the media, Hollywood, advertising, your mother, your partner, etc. At Medicinal Marzipan, loving your body means: listening to it, acknowledging hurt and pain, treating it sweetly, digging deep, having courage to be honest whenever possible, and holding yourself accountable to YOURSELF.

My name is Mara, and this is my site. I love it with everything in my body, and bring to it the absolute best and worst that I have to offer.

My name is Mara, and this is my best work.

48 Comments to Self-Love + Weight Loss

  1. October 27, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    YESSSSSS! Love this! Thank you, Mara. I am right here with you.

  2. October 27, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Applauding! Love your vision and emphasis on the individuality of self-love. I find that to be so true; there is no one way, much less one right way, to do it. My name is Anna, and I thank you for the work you do. ♥
    Anna Guest-Jelley recently posted..Loving Awareness: The Curvy Scoop with Eric KleinMy Profile

  3. Alice Oates's Gravatar Alice Oates
    October 27, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Great post Mara, and definitely a good thing to be clear about. I have to say though that in the time I’ve been reading your posts I’ve always felt you’re very clear that body loving means being honest about what your body needs, and if that’s a bit more on the fruit and veg side and a bit less on the chocolate cookie side, then you should listen to what your body needs :)

  4. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    October 27, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this. I love your site.

  5. October 27, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Hey darling,
    I have been emailing about this very topic right these past few days, and it has been weighing on my mind; that of weight-loss & self-love.
    Basically, it’s okay to lose weight! It’s not so great if you feel shitty in. order. to. lose weight. It’s okay to want to move more and eat healthier! It’s okay if weight loss occurs! It’s slightly less cool to link up being healthier with weight loss, or weight loss with becoming healthier.
    I think it can be a tricky line to walk, especially when there are so many societal ‘benefits’ to being slimmer (I’m not denying they exist, just that I don’t think there should be) and losing weight can appear like trading in on the shit one takes for being fat, for becoming slimmer and cashing in on the benefits, and to talk about, as evidenced by all that stuff about the Glamour writer.
    Anyway, I’m sure this is nothing that you don’t know, but ultimately, go you for speaking up and out!
    Amelia Jane recently posted..I won’t try to fix you.My Profile

  6. October 27, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Oh! Oh! OH!!! This really touches my heart

    and reminds me of one of my favorite quotes (from Carl Rogers):
    “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”.

    Thank you!

  7. October 27, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    This is such an important message. Loving yourself means treating yourself well. It means making healthy choices so that you can be around as long as possible. It’s about genuine acceptance of where you are, but also about working to make sure your physical health matches your beautiful inside. Beating yourself up for being fat is ridiculous and hurtful, but so is thinking that your health doesn’t matter.
    Heather recently posted..Fennui*My Profile

  8. October 27, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    This is a brilliant example of both/and thinking! When I get caught up in thinking in either/or terms I lose sight of what’s really possible.

    Love you Mara, and thanks for the shout-out!
    KCLAnderson (Karen) recently posted..How I Learned To Love – Part 2My Profile

  9. October 27, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Mara, I’m proud of you. Not for losing weight, of course, but because admitting ambiguity when you have a reputation as a self-acceptance blogger can be difficult. (In fact, that’s part of why I’ve probably been loudly ambiguous from the beginning–I know that if I tipped toward blatant self-love I would eventually have to own up to my own conflict on the matter.) I think at your core the tools of self-love that you’ve given yourself will only help you in your journey; it may shift the conversation a bit, but it won’t change it.

    I’m in recovery from an eating disorder (basically, bingeing and restricting). As a part of my recovery, I *cannot* sign on to a “just eat the cookie already!” line of thinking. I wish I could, but I can’t. I’ll eat the cake, of course, but in order for it to be healthy for me it needs to be detached from any sense of “deserving.” Usually it needs to be social so that I won’t then buy another slice, and another, and hell, why not the whole cake? I can’t be someone who has two cookies just because she feels like it. If I feel like having two cookies, there’s something wrong–not because there’s anything wrong with having two cookies, but because, for me, it is a signal. Indulging that signal can be as harmful as “controlling” it through restriction.

  10. Magpie's Gravatar Magpie
    October 27, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    love love love love this. might even print it out and put it on the fridge!

  11. Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
    October 27, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I am a lurker on your site, never one to comment much, but I find it astonishing that you are able to write exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it. Self love = caring for oneself, and if that means you need to lose a few then do it….. in a care-full way. Thanks.

  12. October 27, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Love. Love love love. You and your blog and what you say.
    Foodie McBody recently posted..I Lied About Not CryingMy Profile

  13. October 27, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hannah recently posted..Yoga TherapyMy Profile

  14. October 27, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Oh dear…this is something that I needed to read.

    I’ve been struggling for a year now…basically every since I fully embraced the self acceptance, self loving, fantastic thinking. I’ve been struggling with figuring out the balance between loving myself just as I am…and feeling not quite so happy with the weight I put on during the process of getting here. I accept my body, I know I’m healthy. I also want to lose a little bit of weight, because I know that I FEEL better with a little less weight on. Not down to a ‘normal weight or bmi’, just a few pounds, for me. For vanity? Maybe, but I know my body, and I know when it has felt better. It’s not at the extreme of punishing myself and hating my body into a smaller size, it’s not at the extreme of accepting it, and slacking off in the name of accepting it either though. It’s hard work, and pushing myself, and being amazed at what my body can do, and how I can see a small physical transformation….and THAT IS OKAY. I’ve been trying to tell myself it’s okay. But then I feel like a hypocrite, I feel like I should be ashamed of wanting to lose a little bit of weight. I remind myself that it isn’t a lose weight to fit into societal expectations, but just to be a little more comfy in my britches. But you know what? It’s all okay. It’s my choice, it’s your choice, and I completely support you, and thank you for talking about this. SO much. Thank you :) xo

  15. October 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    You are brilliant. I’m so glad you shared this, beautiful Mara.
    Sally recently posted..Will it Fit Me Like That?My Profile

  16. Ela's Gravatar Ela
    October 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    And thank you for sharing your best work.
    It is so hard.
    I was just listening to an audio with Carol Look (who is a wonderful Tapping teacher), in which she was saying that you can’t even begin to address losing weight so long as you’re telling yourself you’re fat. Or any other thing in your life with which you’re uncomfortable. So true, and this is just what you’re saying here.
    Ela recently posted..Technology Worries and "Rethinking Bananas" Bean SmoothieMy Profile

  17. October 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    This post speaks to me in so many ways. I don’t like to think about my lifechangingjourney as a “battle”. I don’t like to think that I’m fighting. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that the reason I was able to find a way to live my life healthier was because I found love for myself and made that decision to put myself first. Now I’m learning to find room in my life to someone else. I just blogged yesterday about how making that room for me has meant initially putting Tara first (not at her request trust me!) and now I’ve found myself leaning into non-self-love territory and making decisions that are not putting what I want first. I had a little wake up call and shifted the gears (with external love and support cheering me on) but its about exactly what you’re sharing here. I don’t think weight loss and self-love are ever mutually exclusive. I think you can love yourself and still want change. Its just when I’m in the frame of mind of loving myself that I make the most progress.

    Thank you for this.
    I truly cannot wait to hug it out with you when we get to meet in person…
    Meegan (redstar5) recently posted..Sea ChangeMy Profile

  18. October 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    oh mara, thank you for these words. they’re beautiful. i think you should know by now none of us will run in the opposite direction if and when you choose to talk about the “sticky” subjects. nor will anyone consider you a hypocrite. self-acceptance usually means acknowledging how well you and your body feel, weight included. weight loss motivated by self-love is a hell of a lot different than weight loss motivated with self-hate.
    zoe (and the beatles) recently, latelyMy Profile

  19. Solar Sailor's Gravatar Solar Sailor
    October 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely post! I really feel a kinship with that. Recently, I’ve been trying to make some lifestyle changes with the help of a nutritionist because not only do I know (intellectually) I need to be healthier, but (personally) I WANT to be healthier and to achieve things I currently can’t achieve (greater agility and endurance, an easier search for clothes I like, etc). And…you know, it’s hard. It’s hard when I suddenly see my mother’s wonderful Italian pasta meals; and it’s hard when, as has happened recently, I’ve been in and out of the hospital a bit and those pre-plannned, balanced meals I discussed with my nutritionist haven’t always been a choice.

    What I try to keep my brain on is not the “need” part, because that makes me feel bad and start disliking my body. I try to keep focus on the “want” part, because when I remember why I WANT to be healthier, I get energized and motivated – and then I can love myself, for who I am right now, and for who I will be in a few months, and for who I will be a few months beyond that. It becomes less about a “weight loss goal” and more about training myself to do what I can for myself, when I can, as I can, and remembering that each step should be a conscious and loving one, even when they are not necessarily “perfect” ones.

  20. October 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    This post is so beautiful, Mara. And I’m so proud of you for sharing your truth. Inspired by your vulnerability and courage.

    Loving you, too. :)
    sui solitaire recently posted..I believe in you.My Profile

  21. October 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Mara, I am SO grateful to have found you. You have one of the brightest, most generous spirits I’ve ever encountered. After reading your post, I scanned through the comments and found so many familiar names there . . . Karen and Zoe and Sui And Sally . . . people I follow and admire, who enrich my days as you do. And I’ve met them all through you. I think we all come here because you DO give us the best you have to give here. You are brave, you are honest and you are beautiful. We love how you love us . . . and help us to love ourselves. You are a ROCK STAR, Mara!! xoxo, Deborah
    Deborah recently posted..Busy As A ….My Profile

  22. October 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    My name is Ellie, and I’m a HAES/body-love advocate who’s struggled with disordered eating and believes that one day I won’t fight anymore.

    My name is Ellie, and I know that losing weight doesn’t cock up anyone’s position as a body love warrior because we’re all looking after our bodies with love.

    My name is Ellie, and I want to see my sweet girl Mara write her heart out about her journey, even if it seems contradictory. We all contain multitudes.
    Ellie Di recently posted..Your Hardest Challenges Are Your Best Friends In DisguiseMy Profile

  23. October 28, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    (no words.)
    MizFit recently posted..I am the WINNER! (Brita giveaway post)My Profile

  24. October 28, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Wonderfully, powerfully said, Mara. You are loved (by me- and many others- and by you, too, which is awesome)!
    Rosie recently posted..this momentMy Profile

  25. October 28, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I love this. I love you.

    (and thank you for the shout out!!)
    Christie Inge recently posted..Intuitive Eating + Weight LossMy Profile

  26. Aurora's Gravatar Aurora
    October 28, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you’re approaching the topic! It’s nice because it seems like all these “body love” blogs are really telling people that they’re a victim of the Evil Beauty Machine if they decide to lose a few pounds, even if they’re not hating themselves and angsting over it.

  27. October 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    You write so beautifully and true, it resonnates with my whole being.

    It’s so inspiring how you manage to put that love for yourself first, you’re helping a lot of people, Mara!
    Marthe recently posted..55 gentle ways to take care of yourself when you’re busy busy busyMy Profile

  28. October 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Seriously. Thank you for this post.

    This sounds like it was literally taken from my mind lately. Having recovered from an eating disorder (and being very passionate about that cause), I am big on the whole love-your-body-you’re-perfect-no-matter-what-size thing. But, like you, I compulsively eat sometimes…and that’s had a small effect on my size in a way that I view as unnecessary weight. I still love myself, and my body. And it’s been bothering me that I feel like I’m betraying my cause by wanting to lose some of the extra weight, but you’re absolutely right–IT’S OK. I love myself enough to know that I’m not entirely comfortable right now, and that I can do this in a healthy way.

    Oh, and as for losing readers? Yah, you just gained one with me. I’ve read your blog occasionally (actually I don’t know why I never subscribed), but this post has made me an official subscriber :)

  29. October 29, 2011 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Oh, I adore this post! So very much. Thank you for this. I’m struggling lately with this overwhelming urge to indulge my sweet tooth and eat allllll the things. I *know* I’m not hungry, so I do my best to refrain, but sometimes I just can’t anymore – between the change in weather (SAD), a resurgence of depression (increased meds), and the stress of learning I’ll be out of a job at the end of November has just piled up and up and up.

  30. October 29, 2011 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Perfect. Just beautifully perfect.
    Lorinda @ Waisting Away recently posted..Or, Perhaps a Bit of Reverse Psycology??My Profile

  31. Rosie's Gravatar Rosie
    October 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Great post! I also struggle with this- how to align my feelings that I should feel beautiful at any size with the actual reality- which is that when I am eating well, exercising and at a slightly smaller weight I do actually feel better, more energetic and my body feels more comfortable. I guess the conclusion I’ve come to is, if being at a higher weight is a result of bad eating habits, too much chocolate and beer and not enough bike-riding, then in fact it is a great way to show myself some love by taking care of my body and getting it to a point where I feel good physically. But also, it possible to lose weight from a place of self-acceptance and self-care instead of from a place of self-hate and there’s nothing wrong with doing so if it makes you feel better.

  32. October 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    There is such wonder and beauty in this post Mara and from the comments its clear to see has resonated with so many people. Thank you for writing it. There’s nothing more beautiful than something speaking and living their truth.
    Julie Parker recently posted..You Are Whole To MeMy Profile

  33. Lexi's Gravatar Lexi
    November 1, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this post, Mara. I have also been struggling with this issue. Thank you for beautifully and eloquently putting this. Between you and an email buddy, I have completely changed the way I was viewing my body and weight loss just one short week ago. So thank you so very much for writing this and for putting this out in to the world. People like me needed to read it.

  34. HappyReader's Gravatar HappyReader
    November 2, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Thank you! Just thank you :)

  35. November 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully written, thank you, what you’ve expressed is so rare and wonderful to hear.
    Melissa recently posted..Very close to being done with this project. A second set of full…My Profile

  36. jessie's Gravatar jessie
    February 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    “But wanting to lose weight, or the act of weight loss when you’re feeding yourself the foods that make YOU feel good or moving in a way that YOU love, will not make you a body image warrior exile in my book.”

    The post was beautiful. I’ve been searching for the words, for the validation, to understand and grasp this particular struggle. Your words resonated deeply with me. Thank you for sharing.

  37. April 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I truly believe that when you take care of yourself–give yourself the exercise, the food as fuel and nourishment (emotional and physical) that you need, and the self love you deserve—your weight will be PERFECT. That’s the definition of “ideal” in my books! :)

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Welcome! I’m Mara.

I’m Mara Glatzel. I’m an intuitive coach and writer. I guide women home to themselves and teach them to create lives brimming with supreme self-care. read more
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