Two years ago I beat my demon, conquered my foe, slayed my monster. I flipped the bird at the body shamers, took to heart the quotes on my “Words to Live By” Pinterest board and vowed to love my body as it is or as it ever will be. I changed a fundamental belief that my body needed improvement everywhere, that it was not good enough and therefore I was not good enough to a belief that my worth has nothing to do with how much I weigh or what size I wear and that I am worthy. I am enough.
Growing up in the United States my old body image beliefs had long roots with seeds planted in childhood by Barbie, Twiggy, mini-skirts and a thin mother always on a quest to be thinner.
As my sister and I sat eating our not necessarily healthy after school snacks, watching Gilligan’s Island reruns, our not overweight mom sipped her hot beverage and chewed an Ayds weight loss candy before exercising. We all laughed as she butt-walked down the hall of our mid-century, not yet modern, ranch home. I can still see her sitting on the shag carpet, legs straight in front of her, scooting by pulling one leg and then the other forward until she reached the far end of the hall, the end of the hall with the full length judgment apparatus, um, mirror.
The specter of dieting loomed throughout our house and because I was a skinny teenager my mother seemed to delight in warning me that “it” would catch up with me. What? Was I simply outrunning some kind of monster waiting to lob globs of fat that would stick forever to my hips?
After having both my children and losing the pregnancy weight quickly, I still found a need to join Weight Watchers using the thin woman’s diet excuse that my clothes didn’t fit. Well, duh, having two small humans inhabit your body has some lasting effects on your shape that have nothing to do with the number on the scale. But, hey, I lost my 10 pounds and became a Lifetime WW member. A curse, I’ve decided now, that says you aren’t good if you don’t fall between the range of numbers they have assigned your height.
I watched my weight increase over the years and made the same old, same old New Year’s Resolution to lose weight because, ugh, there wasn’t anything I really liked about my body. Until my epiphany two years ago, that is.
After spending decades soaking in the toxic waters of Skinny is Best Lake, I climbed out of that stew and headed straight to the top of Eat Whatever You Want Mountain. There, the air is thin and judgement can be just as impaired as it is in the lake.
So here I am, with clothes that don’t fit, searching for balance between denial and indulgence, coming to the realization that neither is healthy. This search is much harder than I expected it to be, but I’m confident I can at least get close to that place where I can love and accept my body as it appears and also love and accept that to keep enjoying the health that I currently have I need to replace all-out indulgence with some moderation and restraint.