“My body is my home. It’s the only place I have to live. I will treat it with the care and respect it deserves.” –mantra from Day 1 of Molly Galbraith’s Love Your Body Challenge
Five years ago, I took the above challenge. I was at a healthy weight and felt fairly good about my body, but still struggled with certain body image issues. The challenge was amazing. It did so much for my self-esteem and my relationship with my body. And of course, a lot of that was undone when all the Bad Things happened in the months following that challenge. I developed a terrible relationship with my body that has continued for the past five years. It’s been like war: constantly battling, trying to be body-positive and to love my body despite weight regain and inability to lose and being at a weight where people treat me all sorts of negative ways (invisible! stupid! no willpower! gross! not worth listening to!). Those messages from others, the lack of respect – it weighs on you as much as the actual body, and makes it so difficult to have a healthy relationship with your own flesh. And when all your efforts to lose weight consistently fail despite your really awesome habits…then your body just equals failure on top of gross/stupid/invisible/worthless, and the cycle gets worse. I’m sick of it. I’m ending the cycle.
My body is my HOME. It’s the only place I have to live. I WILL TREAT IT WITH THE CARE AND RESPECT IT DESERVES.
It’s damn well time for me to stop the fight. I keep telling myself that my efforts to lose weight aren’t related to shame, that they’re just me trying to look like myself again, to make my outside reflect my inside. Fuck that. I have no control over the size of me. My diet is excellent. I have great exercise habits. I’ve repaired my disordered eating habits. I’m rarely sedentary. If weight loss was as easy as eating and exercising well, I’d have this in the bag. But medical issues keep putting up blocks, and until my doctors and I can get to the root of these problems, my body is going to resist change. It’s pointless for me to continue wasting my energy worrying about my size. It’s high time to start spending my energy on other things:
I will continue to eat healthy, making sure to get in a large variety of foods of all kinds, minimizing processed foods and sugar, and also being flexible enough to allow treats and celebrations.
I want my outsides to reflect my insides? Let’s work with that then, regardless of size. Let’s set aside some money in savings to get those tattoos I’ve been putting off for four years because I wanted to wait until I was small again. Let’s slowly acquire a diverse wardrobe of things I love. Let’s not shirk on decent haircuts, and why not have fun with color and design while I’m at it? And you know what? I’m an athlete even if I’m obese, and it’s okay to dress the part – it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it.
It’s also okay for me to have clothing quirks, and to concede to them. So yeah, I have no problem wearing a swimsuit, not in the least bit uncomfortable, but leggings without a skirt/dress/shorts to cover the crotch area? Not going to happen. I should stop trying to force myself to be comfortable with it when I’m not. Ditto dresses without something underneath them. It’s okay to wear shorts or pants under them if I please, or to skip wearing the dresses altogether. And if I look like a 90s throwback in tank tops and cargo pants, hey it works, and it’s ME.
As I said above, I’m an athlete. There are fitness goals I want to accomplish, and I’m no longer going to put off accomplishing them because of my size. One day I will be able to run a 5K again, and do pull-ups again, and do all those crazy-strong yoga poses like crow and headstands. I will build muscle and endurance, and even if my body stays the same weight or the same size, I will be stronger, more capable, and WAY more confident.
I’m done fighting my body. Now it’s time to fight FOR my body.