Let it go.
That’s what I want to tell every young woman who hates her body. It’s what I tell myself, almost daily. Yes, daily.
Let me tell you a story…
Ten years ago I was not the woman I am today. I guess we all aren’t, but I was an insecure, body-conscious yo-yo dieter. I would have done anything to be “thin.” ANYTHING. Yet for some reason, I would eat entire 12-inch subs loaded with fatty lunch meats and extra cheese. I’d devour an order of hot wings at 3 a.m. after drinking my weight in beer. And pizza, in hordes, was a daily meal choice with a side of mozzarella sticks and cheesy garlic bread.
I ate to fill a void. I ate because I hated the body I was in. I ate because it was fun and social. I’d complain about my body ALL the time, hide in baggy clothes and never look in a mirror naked. I’d ignore compliments and focus on the few jackasses that told me I’d be pretty “if I only lost some weight.” What does that mean, anyway?!?
One day, in a fit of pure desperation, as nothing else he had said in the past to make me happy worked, the boyfriend (now the husband) replied to one of my self loathing comments with “Who cares, so what, you’re fat.”
WHA?!? He knew I was fat? All his compliments really WERE “lies”? My jaw hit the floor.
It was the first time someone agreed with me! Now you might be thinking that was an inconsiderate comment and at the time it stung a bit but you have to understand this was after years of him trying to tell me I was beautiful. Trying to tell me that he loved me for who I am and that I should love myself. Trying to tell me that it didn’t matter. I’d just shrug off his compliments and focus on everything I hated about myself.
This is why Babs’ comment a few weeks ago struck such a chord with me. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way or had this experience. I’m not the only one whose body-image issues caused a weight problem. Yeah, yeah, I wasn’t THIN but I had a beautiful, healthy body. My 32-year-old self knows that now, but the 15-year-old would NEVER hear it. Never.
I still struggle with negative body image. Yes, STILL. It must be something threaded though the fiber of my being. It’s not about weight or size — there is something we need to change about the way we accept ourselves. We have to work on loving who we are, body and all. For me, that was the key to stop the dieting cycle. But I didn’t do it on my own, I had some help!
Having a child showed me how wonderful my body really was. I was able to grow a life and that life needed a confident, HEALTHY role model. That life wouldn’t care if I didn’t fit into a size 6 or have pencil thin arms (two of my 15-year-old self’s dreams). That life would love me for who I am, no matter what, and would depend on me to show him how to live happy and healthy.
Isn’t it strange how one event can really change your perspective on life? Days after “the toddler” was born I was out and about wearing clothes I wouldn’t dare wear when I was 50 pounds lighter. I wore tank tops and let my flabby arms hang out. I wore shorts and saw my lumpy thighs. I decided it didn’t matter and I just LET IT GO.
And guess what? The sky didn’t fall. People didn’t point at me while walking through the mall. No one snickered as I passed them by. I realized then that I was the one who had the biggest problem with my body. ME.
Am I still my own worst critic? Sure. But just like everything in this short life of ours, I’m working on it. I wear tank tops in my videos even though I still don’t like my arms. I wear a bathing suit without a T-shirt at the beach and I’ve worn shorts ALL summer. I’m not hiding who I am anymore. This is my body, this is the body I have to enjoy life in, and this is the body I am making strong and healthy.
I still have to make a conscious effort to let it go and accept myself for who I am. Every day I get a little closer. Every day I get just a bit more confident.
Will you join me?
Can you LET IT GO?