This morning I read a blog post about body shaming, not only towards other people but towards yourself. So many of us believe that we don’t body shame—who cares what other people weigh, what size pants they pull up over their thighs, what they eat for dinner. But, when it comes to ourselves, everything is wrong. There’s 5 pounds that weren’t there yesterday, the belt loop isn’t in the same spot it was and tomorrow, more vegetables and less bread. Why is it okay for us to be comfortable with other peoples bodies but not our own?
When I weighed 230 pounds, I worried what people thought. I knew they were watching the food enter my mouth, I knew they were watching me walk to the plus size section of the store and I knew they were whispering behind my back about how big I was.
If I lost weight, this would all go away. No one would worry about me—they’d worry about the next biggest person. I could eat what I wanted without thinking twice, I could shop in the normal sized section and try on clothes with friends.
At 145 pounds, I’ve realized how untrue this is. I went from believing (because no one actually ever said anything) that people were body shaming me to continuing to worry that they might or that they still are. Now, it’s “will people notice that the scale says I’m a few pounds heavier?” what if they comment on the amount of food I eat? If I don’t go to the gym and my body changes, people will notice.
If anything, I have become more fearful and more shaming of my own body than I did when I was overweight. When I was heavier, it was just the way it was. Was my body ugly? Yea, I thought so. Were my clothes ill-fitting? Yea, I thought so. Did it matter? Eh. Not really. Did it matter what I ate? Nah. I was fat anyway.
But now? Every new mark, every minute difference that occurs naturally depending on the day, I fear that people will notice and think about. If I eat something that I don’t normally have or fuel myself for my heavy weightlifting, I worry what people will think.
It’s a work in progress but the most important part is that we only have one body. It changes: it grows, it shrinks, it gets new marks and bumps. This body though, is the only one we have. It fuels us, it allows us to get up every morning and move. It gives us the knowledge we need to get through everyday. It’s not only the one we have, it’s the only one we will EVER have. It’s ours. It’s special, unique and custom tailored. There will never be an outfit that’s as customized to you as your own skin is—no matter how you think it looks to other people.
Of course, the easiest part is saying the facts. The hardest part is putting it all into motion.
Over the last few weeks while I have been away, my own body shaming has improved. I don’t need to workout 7+ times a week. My body will feel better with maybe 4 or 5. Maybe I want to get ice cream after dinner; someone will get some with me. I don’t need to eat 1500 calories and count every single gram to maintain my weight.
Praise your body–find one thing you like about it. Not one time, but every day. If you want to lose weight, gain weight, maintain your weight, do so because YOU want to. Not because you think others want that for you. Whether you want to eat pizza or carrots, make that choice. Be proud, be confident, because you are you and you get one physical expression of your cells, and a million of your brain.