If you don’t read anything else I write this year, please read this.
There has been a conversation simmering beneath the skin around here, and it is something that I can no longer choose to ignore because it makes me uncomfortable. The abbreviated version is this:
“No, I’m afraid to read her blog. I’m afraid that if I start reading it, if I believe in loving myself exactly as I am – I will lose all sense of my self, and wake up someday, somewhere down the line, as huge as a house.”
Now, there are several things wrapped up in this statement, and I want to make sure that I address them all.
Right now? I feel as huge as a house, but I am not afraid of that. See, over the course of my 26 years on this planet, I have gone through the dieting cycle again and again and again – I have binged, dieted, binged, cried, prayed, screamed, endangered my own well-being, binged, hated myself, and cried some more.
Now, when you are recovering from this breadth of self-inflicted abuse, it takes a hot minute. On occasion – GASP – it includes weight gain, periods of confusion, terror, intuitive dilemmas, hibernation, regaining a sense of security, and ultimately? Learning how to trust your brain and your heart to take care of you 100% of the time, no matter what.
I know that some of you guys are much heavier than me and some much thinner, but the reality? Weight doesn’t matter. Body image impacts each and every one of us in different ways. We are all bringing different stories, adventures, triumphs, and fears to the table – and each and every one of us is the expert of our own experience.
I don’t often talk about the connection between weight, weight loss, and body image here, because it is really important to me that the message here is one of loving where you’re at, right now, today, no exceptions. However, I want to make it very, very clear that for readers who are on journeys to lose weight: I am here for you, I understand the wish, and there is a place for you here.
Loving your body exactly as it is does not mean just eating and eating and eating until you are as fat as a house [editor’s note: I am not quite sure what constitutes “fat as a house” but I am going to just go on ahead and declare it a state of mind that has the potential to impact anyone, at any size].
Loving your body means: moving around, having fun, knowing your own worth, eating the foods (and portions) that make you feel good, supporting yourself unconditionally, being sweet to yourself when you make mistakes, and knowing deep in your heart that YOU ARE WORTH EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE FOR YOURSELF.
Can you love yourself and still want to lose weight? Yes. Can you love yourself and recognize that your habits are unhealthy? Definitely. Can you love yourself AND love working out? Yup.
The difference between loving yourself and not loving yourself is not in the things that you do it is in the way that you feel when you are doing them. It means being honest and brave, and not spiraling into a pit of self-hatred when you don’t like what you see or how you feel. It means reassessing, doing what is best, and being very, very sweet to yourself when you are scared. It means proving to your body that you are capable of providing a safe and healthy environment to grow and flourish. It means melting away the shame that you’ve developed over the years about your size. It means going to bat for yourself, the way you would for someone that you love.
You need me. We need one another. At some point in your life, you need someone to tell you to: stop in your tracks, put down whatever you are holding on to, and learn how to love yourself better. You need someone to tell you that everything you are doing right now is perfectly understandable and acceptable, but there is an easier way.
I am that someone, and I’m so glad you’re here.
Because all of us? We’re in this together.