(Other titles this post has had in drafts were: …Still Wanting a Perfect Body and We are Not on This Earth to Be Small)
Something has clicked in the past few weeks. I am happy to say that what I wanted: Better Body Acceptance, has started to happen, LEGIT.
It took me realizing how caged I still was by my beliefs and standards for myself, and re-realizing how unloving and self-destructive my beliefs were, before I was able to decide to go on this quest FULL FORCE.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had good intentions about all this stuff for a long time, but there have been so many buried layers of shame and perfectionism and fear and beliefs and beliefs and beliefs that I didn’t even have the emotional or mental frame of reference to get here until now. But now is the time.
I get a lot of comments and emails along the lines of “WHEN AM I GOING TO BE OK WITH MY BODY???”. And this is what I have to say:
I had the same problem with thinking “but this is ten pounds over what I used to think was too fat!”… Obviously the problem with this is that we are still using disordered and self-destructive parameters to define worth and beauty.
Here are some things that have really helped me (even just in the past few weeks):
Well first off, this all really kicked off when I made my “Lenten” sacrifice: Deciding to love my body “Like a Psycho” and “As Irrationally as Need Be until it is Rational”. So below I have listed how I went about loving my body like a psycho:
(Btw, loving your body is not psycho, it is very important and healthy, but it was so impossible and unacceptable for me for so many years, that I literally had to put those definers onto my Body Love Quest)
1. Realize that everything you are afraid of about being fat ….isn’t necessarily true. They are just beliefs. Beliefs that you took to be true, that are not necessarily true. (for instance being fat means I am ugly, I am worthless, I can’t do anything right, I am unlovable, I failed, I am uncontrollable, I failed again, nobody will take me seriously, nobody will think I am beautiful… and on and on) notice what beliefs about “what being fat means” are strongest for you, and then question them a million times until you can come up with some real reasons why they may not be true at all. Then replace the shit beliefs with some better beliefs.
2. Buy clothes that fit you NOW (and/or at your fattest) that are fun and beautiful and GET RID OF YOUR SKINNY CLOTHES. I have to say…I resisted this one for so long. Because even though I told myself I was over diets and body image shit, I still thought… “Yea… but I refuse to be fat. And obviously buying new clothes is a sign of sure failure”. So my old clothes were still a marker for how “well I was doing” and still stressed me out and reminded me of “success or failure “. Seriously, buy some amazing clothes that you love that fit perfectly NOW and get rid of the rest. If you ever are thinner again under natural, healthy circumstances, you’ll buy more clothes that fit then. It is not defeat. It is not saying “Well I guess I’m fat now. Close the blinds let’s stay in bed”. It is saying I DESERVE TO WEAR CLOTHES THAT DO NOT REPRESENT AN EATING DISORDER, THAT FIT AND CELEBRATE WHO I AM NOW.
3. Look at blogs or Pinterest boards that celebrate Health at Every Size and size diversity. I never had room for any other standards of beauty in my mind. But if you are like me, I invite you to challenge that. Look at pictures of people who are bigger than you who have decided to love themselves anyway. Desensitize yourself to the way people of every size look both naked, and with awesome, cute outfits on. Looking at these women, as well as beautiful plus size models, has really made me realize that the beauty standards in my mind have been conditioned. What I accepted as beautiful and successful and competent before was simply something that I learned by osmosis and accepted. And then I believed it and perpetuated it. Not only was I incredibly judgmental of myself, but I was judgmental of others. But it just doesn’t have to be that way. Anyone can be beautiful, and it REALLY DOES COME FROM THE INSIDE, and it shines through on the outside.
4. Notice all the people who are wonderful and attractive and who live great confident full lives who are not perfectly toned or skinny. Are they onto something? Also, notice all the people who you think are fabulous, but who don’t think they are good enough. Don’t you want to shake them and tell them how awesome they are!? What does THAT tell you?
5. We Are Not On This Earth to Be Small. Sometimes I hear that in the back of my mind, like someone is saying it to me. And it really resonates. Because for the longest time my sincerest goal and desire was to be small small small. The smaller the better! The smaller the more successful and competent and powerful and beautiful! It was like a fact in my life and I thought it was a fact in the world. A year ago when I started this journey, sometimes I would hear in the back of my mind “You are not on this earth to be small”. And it would inspire and uplift me, but I could not fully embrace it. Not yet.
Of course I am not telling you if you are a small person that you are not meant to be on this earth. But what I am saying is to really ask: Why am I trying to be as small as humanly possible? Really- Why? Why am I treating my time on earth like this? Why am I using up all my precious energy to value being as small as humanly possible? Why am I trying to control everything like this? Why am I trying to shrink away, to diminish myself, to fade into the corner? Why on earth is it sane to believe that my power comes from being a frail little thing who doesnt take up any space? What on earth am I trying to accomplish? And isn’t there another way? Wouldn’t it be better to be open and bold and brave, and take up space and celebrate who I am and what I’ve done and greet the world with a shining smile? Isn’t there more to my life than being small? I am not on this earth to be small!
This is getting at a deeper part of body image: spirituality. I really believe that trusting this world (life/”God”/whatever you believe) is the only true way to peace, with your body and everything else.
6. Speaking of spirituality. Accept that however your body is NOW is the way your body is supposed to be NOW. It’s true because it IS the way it is now. Your body isn’t meant to be another way now, because it isn’t. Get it? Your body is smart. It is either they way it is now because it’s perfect and exactly how you are always meant to look, or because you are healing, or because your body needs to be bigger for a while to teach you something about yourself. WHO KNOWS, but TRUST it. Trust it and love it and celebrate it and let it teach you, and live your life in your body NOW.
7. Girrlllll THROW OUT YOUR SCALE. Yes… I know…. sometimes I do weigh myself at my parent’s house out of curiosity. Which is how I know I am __ lbs over what I used to consider fat. But, you know, that number literally does nothing for you. ANNNNDDDD, your clothes are enough of an indicator/stressor. But you are going to buy beautiful clothes that fit you, right? And when you start to beat yourself up about being a size ___ and hooowww could i have let this happen, go back to #1, and ask yourself why it upsets you so much, and what are you believing about being a size ___ that may not be true at all.
I have to say that all of those things above would have not affected me if I read them 2 years ago. I would have been like,”sure… That is nice for some people…” I would have read it, but it only would have gotten in so deep.
It took time. It took a lot of time actually. It took me realizing….. “Woa , I have been trying to accept myself for a while, and I still am waiting to be thin… ” It took many many levels of realization to even start considering legitimately starting my life now, as opposed to judging myself constantly and waiting for that glorious day when I was the smallest EVER. Look at me! You can barely see me! I have arrived!
Ahhhhh I have just had this very own realization for myself within the last two weeks! And most important, I have realized that in order to be happy- I have to MAKE myself happy and no one else! I have chosen to be happy, and I have chosen to be strong, and see the positive side of life….and because of that my life has turned around 100%! Its perceptive that makes the difference! Have a positive outlook! 🙂
This was a brilliant post. I have been interested in Positive Body Image for a long time and have read a ton, taken classes, taken up practices…..and STILL, I don’t feel like I really GET it fully. Your post gave me hope—with time and persistence, I will heal. 🙂
Fabulous! Right on! You go girl! Thank you big time! Yes, yes, yes! Just bought clothes from thrift store yesterday…and put back the one with too tight elastic on the sleeves. Not going to buy anything that doesn’t fit perfectly now. Unless it’s the 5 sizes too big shirt for $6.99 to be made into a long lightweight plum faux suede jacket…for my now body. Woohoo!
This website is helping me to find the pretty at my current appearance.
Hallefrickinllujah! All of these things. I am quite far along the body acceptance thing, and I feel tremendously grateful to feel as content as I do with my body and my relationship with food. And yet….right now there is a small bag of clothes at the bottom of my wardrobe THAT ARE TOO SMALL FOR ME. They have not been there in a one-day-I’m-going-to-diet -my-way-into-these-beautiful-small-clothes-made-for-beautiful-small-people capacity. The truth is I have been losing weight very slowly in the last three years since I got off the yo-yo dieting wagon, and I wanted to keep those clothes (completely out of sight though) just in case my body decided it wanted to go that size smaller. Well let me tell you, today I’m going to take that bag of clothes and I’m going to give it to the local charity shop, and then literally there will not be a scrap of clothing in my wardrobe that doesn’t fit me wooohoooo! Thanks for this great post! xxxxxxx
I’ve been saying, “I love and trust you body! Thanks for being the house of my soul this time on Earth”. I deliver Meals on Wheels because they are home bound. Man, am I lucky I’m not!
I am tired of keeping my ‘small clothes’ with hopes of wearing them. i am tired of planning to make friends, go to my grand-children’s games, walk outside in the daylight, etc. WHEN i lose weight. I have been doing this so long. IT’S TIME TO STOP ALL THAT AND TIME TO START LIVING. amen thank you so much for this blog! (thank you Nina)
Like a punch to the gut (in the best way). I have been trying to “love myself thin” like I could trick myself into being size __. I have literally caught myself mentally announcing, “Hey! Go ahead and eat as many cookies as you want, self!” then hiding behind the couch in my brain and waiting to see if I magically don’t want cookies anymore. It’s exhausting. I’ve been turned against myself for so long it’s hard to see any other way of being. Thank you for this.
But I’m young and I want to be attractive. Who doesn’t? When I got skinny people told me I look better. I don’t want to be at a weight which is not natural for me anymore because sooner or later my body will fight against it. But I want to be at a weight where I still look nice. I just can’t say to myself “It would be ok to be fat”. Do you think it’s necessairy? I’m attracted to one boy and he’s so skinny and now I’m gaining weight… Just imagine how I would look like next to him. I’m kind of desperate. What should I do? Should I try to change my mind?
I have two sons, and both have chosen very round women. They didn’t choose these ladies based on size, but on personality. When you eventually date to find a spouse, your size then will not be an issue for someone who is truly interested in you as a wife and mother. He will seek you out, and you will be beautiful to him. Believe him.
Alex, boys are naturally skinny and don’t begin to look like fully muscled men until well into their twenties. You are young and really don’t need to be worried about dating. Dating is for adults who are seeking a spouse in the near future. You date to find out who that person is for at minimum18 months. If they appear to be marriage material, then 6 months of premarital counseling to finalize the decision of whether or not you two are a match. AND you keep your clothes on until ring and marriage night. Read Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s books.’
If you want to be your natural weight, stop dieting, stop restricting foods, stop restricting calories and eat consistently enough calories to be active and happy. If you have the energy (by enough calories and nutrients) your body size will be what it is meant to be….higher or lower than now by never again believing you live in famine Ethiopia.
For now you need to finish high school. Learn a trade by going to trade school or business college…another professional school or whatever you want to learn to possibly have your own business or work out of your home or a company with whatever wage or benefits you personally desire.
Again, eating enough will give your brain the energy to pursue your dreams…and up the ante from what your current dreams may be. Well nourished you will want more than the basics, but still be satisfied with what is.
Schooling/education beyond high school will more likely put you in contact with responsible young men. But never forget, ALL men are always thinking naked woman/naked woman/naked woman. Just because they do, doesn’t mean you need to show/give yours to catch one of the good guys. Actually, holding out until marriage will gain their respect for you and you will be more likely to have a great man desire you to be his cherished wife and mother of his children.
Work and be on your own and learn who you are. Then consider dating to find a spouse. Pick wisely and treat kindly.
When I start worrying about and hating my body I try to imagine myself at 80 looking at a picture of myself today and what I would think. Probably “wow look how young and pretty I was” and “I can’t believe I was so worried about how flabby my arms were or if my muffin top was visible”. It helps me remember that hating my body is just not worth my time and doesn’t make me the best possible me. It makes me shy and quiet and not fun because I’m in my head and worried. It’s more important for me to feel free (from worries and self-doubt), be in the moment and have fun than to worry about what other people might be thinking about my body parts. Because fuck them if they don’t like what they see.
Love this article and the comments. Just got home from shopping for clothes. I said a lot of not nice things about my body to my wife and she hates when I do that. I decided to change that today which is why I found this article. Thank you all. I need to get rid of my smaller clothes. I call them of my Martin Luther kings because ” I have a dream” that someday my ass will fit into them. I realize now how defeating this I is.