If I lose weight then I can…
Run that race, apply for that promotion, find true love, improve my relationship, go to the gym (this one still makes me shake my head), hang out with my friends socially, go on that trip, play with my kids in the pool, BE HAPPY.
Sooo many people I have talked to have expressed some version of this statement: “When I lose weight I will be able to ________”. The reality is you can do any of those things NOW!
Losing weight doesn’t magically make everything easier, you don’t get superpowers once the scale hits a certain number and your pant size shrinks. Your ability to take action is not dependant on your body being smaller than what it is now. The only thing standing in your way is your belief that you deserve what you want.
This lesson took me WAY TOO LONG to learn. On a surface level I got it and believed it. I was totally able to cheer other people on from afar and talk about confidence coming from the inside but on a deeper level personally I was still telling myself that I wasn’t worthy yet because of my size.
There is a term that I have learned through all my body acceptance reading “Fat Phobia”: The fear of FAT. A person can be completely loving and compassionate towards a person who is fat but on the inside be terrified about the possibility of ever becoming fat themselves so they do everything they can to avoid it. Then there is the person who IS fat and is ashamed of their size and constantly afraid of becoming more fat and desperate for anything that will rid the fat.
This Fear of fat is not something that we are born with. In fact as a baby it’s good to be fat! That extra fat on your body is going to give you a better chance of survival in those first few weeks- Breast milk is FULL of fat!
There were periods throughout history where fatter bodies were idolized because it was a symbol of affluence- AKA you had enough food to eat and weren’t starving. Somewhere along the way we as a culture (ahem Patriarchy) decided that emaciated was the new idol- most likely because it involved woman being under strict control- and the Diet Industry was born. Marketing FAT as the enemy enabled anyone working in the Diet Industry to make MAJOR DOLLARS because fear is a huge motivator. All of a sudden having a larger or rounder body meant you were unhealthy, undesirable, lazy, uneducated, and needed to be saved. Is it any wonder that with all this moralizing of thinner bodies we grew such a fear and hatred of the opposite?
Once I was able to see that my biggest motivator to lose weight was more about acceptance into a world I didn’t even agree with anymore and less about caring for and loving myself I realized that all the things I had put on hold for after the weight loss were the things that WERE going to bring forth self care and self love and that I needed to start incorporating them NOW.
I realized that instead of trying to change myself to fit the world around me I needed to start working on trying to change the world to fit ME!
Struggling with body image is not new and I’m not sure it will ever go away, at least not until more people get radical enough to define what beauty is themselves rather than looking to outside validation. So I invite you to take one small step in that direction, do something for yourself that maybe you didn’t think you could because of your size. Get in the pool with your kids, schedule those family photos, try out that class, go out with your friends and wear whatever the hell you want because your friends only want to see you wearing a smile anyways, throw away the scale because it has no interest in your well being- it’s just metal and glass.
Define Beauty, Well Being and Success on your own terms!