I was talking with a friend a bit ago who has been struggling to lose weight and has been following some fitness people online who promote “loving your body”. She made a comment that really stuck with me because with my history, I completely understood where she was coming from. She told me “I am sick and tired of hearing how I need to love my body. I HATE my body. I look at myself and all I see is fat. I hate how I look, I hate how I feel and I hate that I cannot walk for just a few minutes without having to stop and catch my breath. I just hate myself period. There is NO WAY I can love my body and I am sick and tired of being told I need to. I can love my body when I lose this weight”
I completely get this. I felt that way at one time to. And you know what? I have lost the weight but I still do not “love my body” or at least not all parts of it and at this moment I have no clue if I ever will get to that point. I no longer hate my body anymore and I am very proud of it what it can do, as well as appreciate the hell out of it, so I guess you could say I have more of a love/acceptance relationship with my body. Now don’t get me wrong, there are parts of it I do love, but no, I do not love every part of it like we are being told we need to do, and I am perfectly okay with it.
Yes, I have lost over 150 lbs and yes I am unbelievable proud that I was able to accomplish that, and that I have been able to keep that weight off. But, that does not mean I now magically love my body. Just losing the weight did not make that happen. Now, I love the way my body performs and all of the feats of strength and speed I can perform as well as some of the fun yoga poses that I have been able to work up to, and how much endurance I have, but I do not love the way my body looks in some ways.
I love that I have some muscle definition on my body in several areas, but what I do not love are the massive stretch marks. I am not talking about just a few stretch marks on my abdomen from child birth either. I have stretch marks all over my body due to my skin stretching from gaining and losing all the weight multiple times over the years. I have large amounts of excess skin that hang on my body because I lost so much weight. The excess skin is unsightly, especially the huge flap of skin from my belly that hangs down my abdomen and tends gets uncomfortable when it sweats and get pimples since the skin rubs together. Since I was in my early 40’s when I began to lose the weight, my skin is not as elastic as it was when I was younger and while it has tightened up some after several years, it probably will never get any better.
Sure I know I could have surgery to have the excess skin removed, but I am not willing to spend that kind of money on something that is not going to make me any happier. Sure it may make me look better, but again, looking better is not going to bring me any happiness. Because that my friends was my underlying problem. I was unhappy. So I ate. I turned to food to try and find the happiness or to hide from what was really the root of the problem or both. Sometimes when I was in periods of not being overweight I used alcohol instead. When we are unhappy we always find something to try an numb the pain of what we do not want to face. Some do it with control, or maybe have OCD tendencies, alcohol or drugs or food or whatever.
So often we tend to think that how we look, or having expensive homes, cars or the latest gadgets will make us happy. When in truth happiness comes from within. Happiness comes from being content with what we have right now in this moment. Actually, not just content, but grateful for what we have. No matter how little or how much. We can still want more, and yes work for more, but we have to be able to accept what we have now in order to find that happiness.
I thought that losing weight and getting back down to a certain size would make me happy, but it did not. While I got what I wanted, it was not exactly how I envisioned it. But then nothing ends up being how we thought it would be does it? Thankfully, by the time I had lost most of the weight I had already began a personal growth journey as well and had begun to put a few practices in place to help me learn to accept things as they are for exactly what they are and even be content with them while still wanting something entirely different. That is why I have been able to accept the things I do not like about my body and even appreciate them to a degree and still be happy.
The first thing I had to do in order to even begin to get to this place? I had to release the bitterness and anger I had towards myself as well as the other people that I blamed for the things I did to myself to put me in that position to begin with. I had to #ownmyshit and take responsibility for my actions. All of them. Shit that was hard because Oh boy was I good at the blame game. I could turn anything around and make it seem like nothing was ever my fault. I was on the defensive and always trying to excuse anything that might be thought of as wrong. I wasted so much energy trying to make sure that everyone thought I did everything right and to try and make everyone like me, that I did not like myself because I was not being true to who I really was.
This journey that I began back in 2012 has had many twists and turns and uphills and downs. I have been flying higher than the eagles one minute and then felt like I was drowning the next minute. And you know what? I love every single minute of it.
If feels like I finally decided to get off merry go round I was on for so many years that just went round and round. I knew exactly how it was going to go and while it was boring it was comfortable and I could control it. Now days it seems more like I am on a roller coaster ride in the dark where I cannot see what is coming up. I am being thrown from side to side from the fast twists and turns and I am scared shitless of heights, but damn what a ride!
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