I run my hands against the different fabrics in my closet. This is my ten-pounds ago blouse. I fit into it just last summer, but today it is snug and unflattering. And here is my 20-pounds ago dress. Even when I fit into this beautiful thing, I felt fat and unattractive. Up here are my jeans that span across six different sizes, including my 50-pounds-lighter-pants.
My closet is a reflection of my life-long battle with my weight. Reluctant to get rid of old sizes, I allow my guilt to set in because I can no longer fit into them. With a dedicated focus on my health, I hope that one day soon I will return to these smaller size clothes.
This was a journal entry from a year ago.
For the past 25 years, I’ve struggled with weight. But if we’re being honest, weight was never the issue. My real problem was lack of self-acceptance.
If we hate any part of ourselves, then nothing is ever good enough. No matter what number I was on the scale, whether my chest bones were poking out or whether I had so many rolls on my body I couldn’t fit into a public seat comfortably, the issue was never the weight.
But it was much easier to blame my body than to take responsibility for my own insecurities and examine my lack of self-worth. The weight roller-coaster was a reflection of my imbalanced thoughts. If I felt unworthy and unloved, my body would turn into my enemy.
No matter my weight, my doctor would always tell me I was healthy and fit. But in my mind, well,that was where the real battle was. When you hate any part of yourself, it doesn’t matter what others say about you. You won’t believe them until you feel it for yourself.
For decades, I used my body as a personal punching bag, abusing it with my thoughts. I’d say things like:
- The reason you didn’t make the dance team is because of your size.
- He didn’t call you back because of your thunder thighs.
- You aren’t more successful because the size of your body.
- You won’t get what you want because the way you look.
Self-shame, ridicule and humiliation were my everyday habits. I would put my happiness into achieving a certain body weight. And until that happened, I would be doomed to sit on the sidelines of life, not getting what the pretty, thin and beautiful did.
This was the old me. The one who thought all of the problems in her life were because of her body. Little did I know at the time that all of the problems in my life weren’t problems at all, but actually pathways.
Today, my life is much different. I look in the mirror and say compassionate, kind things to myself. I enjoy my food and no longer fear the calories, nor do I obsessively count them. I look forward to going shopping again, because I like the way my clothes fit. I no longer avoid mirrors or eye contact. The radical shift? Self-acceptance and self-love.
Several months ago, I made it my full-time mission to look at the areas of my life that weren’t going well. The one focus was my body and learning how to accept it.
Self-love is about acceptance and seeing yourself as the gift you are. Today, I am in love with myself because I respect my body. I see my body as a tool and teammate. My body helps me live my full potential. I listen to it and honor what it needs.
If you are struggling to love yourself or your body, you can let go of certain things in order to reach the love you desire. Here are 10 things to stop doing today if you want to truly accept and love your body (and, well, all of yourself).
1. Stop blaming your body for the bad things in your life.
It’s not your body’s fault. Instead say, “Thank you, body, for being with me on this journey.”
2. Stop letting a look or comment from someone else determine how you feel about yourself.
That person probably wasn’t judging you. You are judging yourself. Instead say, “Self, I forgive you. I send you love.”
3. Stop thinking you aren’t in the body you are supposed to have.
You are in the best body for you. Let your body be your teacher and guide you to more love.
4. Stop letting the number on the scale or your pant size define you.
You are more than any number. What matters most is how you feel, not how you look.
5. Stop judging yourself by what you can’t do and instead celebrate what you can.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. The limitation is in your mind. Start saying “I can” and watch how your life transforms.
6. Stop being mean to yourself when you look in the mirror.
You are more beautiful than you can truly see.
7. Stop joining in when your friends compare and trash their own bodies.
You hurt yourself when you bash yourself with others. Instead, celebrate your natural beauty and each other’s successes.
8. Stop thinking your looks are more important than how you feel.
Your health is not determined by your size. Focus on feeling good and everything returns to balance naturally.
9. Stop waiting to reach your goal to enjoy your body.
Your life is happening now. You can choose to hate yourself or love yourself. Choose love.
10. Stop thinking you don’t matter because of the size your body.
Life is far too hard as it is without you being at war with yourself. When we get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.
Enjoy the miracle that is you.