Once upon a time, a reader admitted that she was tentative of reading stories of self-love, because she was afraid of becoming “as fat as a house.” This concept was the driving force behind the Marzipan Manifesto – where I broke the ties between self-love and indiscriminate weight gain, and I was reminded of it last week when I was considering what loving your body TRULY means.
The questions remain:
What does it mean when you are afraid of being left to your own devices? What does it mean when we believe that someone else is an expert, and, thus, is better equipped to tell us what to do with our own bodies? What does it mean when we are afraid of our own intuition?
What it comes down to, and what, often, we are truly afraid of, is a fear that left to on our own we would consume every last crumb in our house and then get in our car to head out to procure more food – and consume that too. That, somehow, if we lived without the confines of a diet or program or plan, we would exist in this lawless state chock full with ice cream and french fries. That if there was no one telling us to stop, we never would.
It seems that people scurry around the periphery of “self-love” and “intuitive eating” and “health at every size”, nervously dipping their toes in, but returning to the cozy confines of this is what I should look like, this is what I should eat and how I should work out.
Because at the end of the day, MANY of us are afraid to trust ourselves.
Maybe once upon a time we WERE as fat as a house, and we are terrified that without the structure that enabled us to lose the weight or run the marathon or simply get out of bed in the morning we would some how self-destruct. Or that we have always been so terrified of becoming like our parents or the people that we see discriminated against by the media, we have set out on a path where we are hell-bent on not becoming like those people.
Those people. The ones without any self-control. The ones who lack will power. The ones who are lazy and slovenly. The ones who want to eat themselves to death. The ones that no one would touch with a ten foot pole.
We are scared that deep inside of ourselves, one of those people is hiding within our own skin.
When we are scared of the weight gain that so often comes hand-in-hand with re-mothering our relationship with our bodies and with food – we are denying the possibility that a natural, easy relationship can exist. Yes, maybe initially we will gain weight, but as we return to a healthy relationship with food, the weight will balance. Within each and every one of us exists the potential for eating when we are hungry, making healthy food choices, and stopping when we are full.
We are born knowing exactly how to nourish our bodies, and we are the experts when it comes to knowing what our bodies require for nourishment.
The fear of being left alone with yourself is very real, however, and is particularly complicated when you are a person that has had a murky, difficult relationship with your body or has survived disordered eating. This fear can be completely debilitating.
But, if we want to get cozy in our skin and re-teach ourselves how to trust our own instincts – we will be stronger for it. If we can look at ourselves in the mirror and admire all of our hard work, we can learn to love the deepest and darkest parts of our being. If we can remove the fear of our bodies ballooning to infinity and beyond, we can learn to eat intuitively.
If we learn how to trust ourselves, we will be rewarded in every aspect of our lives, as if a rock were thrown into the ocean ripple effect touched every shore for miles. When we trust ourselves we are better lovers, partners, employees, sisters, daughters, brothers, parents, and friends. When we dig deep and know that at the end of the day, we will love ourselves no matter what, anything is possible.
And that is something that I am willing to work for.