You have to understand, I’ve never had a body that looks like mine does now in my entire life. For most of that life, this body has been enveloped in a thick layer of fat. What I’m discovering underneath is thrilling. I will admit I can’t walk past a mirror or reflective glass without taking a look and admiring my handiwork. I’m sure this fascination will dim and fade as I get used to being in a fit and healthy body. But right now, I’m still noticing the changes every day.
My waist is defined, my hips are narrowing, my shoulders have visible separations and divisions. Most of the time when I look in a mirror, my reaction is “Damn, I look good!”
I could offset that statement by telling you about the imperfections my body still carries. But I’m not going to. I believe in focusing on the positive. I’m not going to let the “flaws” negate the positive traits. I love my body just the way it is, the way it was, and the way it is will be. I am no longer waiting for perfection that will never arrive before I decide I can love myself.
If I could give one piece of advice toward the goal of accepting your body, it would be to let go of the idea of Perfection. Let go of the idea that there is something wrong with you. Let go of the notion that if you could look just a little better, you would be able to love yourself. Realize that self acceptance is a choice completely independent of your physical appearance. Realize that Perfection does not exist.
There was a big part of me that simply would not do this for the longest time. I was afraid to let go of it. I thought that letting go of the idea that I should be perfect was giving up and a cop out. If I just tried harder, I would be perfect. Only ugly girls say you should love yourself the way you are. Only fat girls say weight doesn’t matter. I’m not sure where I picked up those ideas, but I did. I was afraid that the only thing separating me from the perfection that could be mine was my own lack of effort. And I beat myself up for it.
Then, by some miracle, I simply stopped doing that, cold turkey. I didn’t tell anyone about it. I didn’t say “I am not going to berate myself anymore.” I just stopped. I wish I could say what finally made me able to do it. The more I think about it, the more I realize that it was when I decided I could trust myself that I began to make the most profound changes. I used to always worry that I would screw everything up without knowing it- somehow I would sabotage myself without my own permission. But at some point, I realized that it is and has always been my choice what food I eat and how much. It had always been my choices that created the shape of my body.
I used to worry that if I didn’t record my calories, I would eat everything in sight like I had in the past. But I learned that I can trust myself. I am in charge of me. I had to choose to eat the right amount, not too much and not too little. The hardest part of learning I could trust myself was admitting to myself that all the mistakes I had made were choices I made. It would be really easy to place blame on outside factors, but it would be false. You can’t control the circumstances of your life or the actions and words of others. You can only control your reactions. I accept that many negative things that have gone on in my life have been due to my own choices. At the same time, I forgive myself. This comes back to not expecting myself to be perfect. There is a huge difference between accepting responsibility and placing blame. Yes, I had some difficult situations in my life that I dealt with in less-than-healthy ways. But it was not the difficult situations that caused this. It was my own choices in how I dealt with them. By saying this I am not saying that everything is my fault. I am only acknowledging that it is my choice to make changes.
Is losing weight really difficult? Not really. It’s pretty straight forward when you consider the actions you take. Eat less. Move more. Everybody knows it. Deciding to do it, believing you deserve it, sticking with it… those are the hard parts. Not because you don’t know how- because there are so many mental and emotional barriers in your way.
Break them down. It is worth it. The pleasure of discovering the body that was hidden underneath for so long, and reacting to it without all the judgment and negativity is indescribable.