Loving my body where I am and where it is
Last year, I almost weighed 200 pounds. According to my body mass index (BMI), that meant I was severely obese, on the verge of diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. I was nearly 65 pounds over the top-end of the weight I should have been. At one point, I stopped wearing all of the beautiful clothes my previous body had been able to slide in and out of. The bando tops and midi-dresses I used to wear—naw. Those shorter than short-shorts, and bikinis—nope. Not happening.
Yet, none of this was enough to make me go to the gym, diet, or lose the weight. I also can’t say I “loved” my body, or felt “joy” from it, but I wasn’t disturbed enough to change my lifestyle.
My body was honestly just something that got in the way. It got in the way of my happiness, but I wasn’t unhappy enough to do something about it. It got in the way of the woman that I wanted to be, but I was still who I was, and I still loved myself.
That conundrum – knowing you want more for yourself, but being unwilling, or rather, unbothered enough to not change it – was where I had been with my body over the last few years.
It’s moments like these where we have to actively decide for ourselves what kind of body we want. I had to come to the conclusion that I obviously didn’t want my old body enough to do something about it, and that I had to learn to be content with this body. I didn’t have to love it, but if I was unwilling to change it, I had to learn to live with it for my emotional and spiritual health. I had to find things I liked about it enough to get me through the days where I hated it more than anything.
So I started doing that. I started telling myself my body was perfectly beautiful. I stopped putting off buying new clothes until I had my “new” body, and I started figuring out what clothes fit best for my body right now. I started loving my new body in a way that I don’t think I had taken the time to examine or reflect in my own body.
In October 2016, I came down with the flu and four months later, I experienced a nasty, dry cough that only affected me when I slept. I put it off to my fiancé (now husband), that it was a symptom of my flu and that it would go away. It lasted for months, and in January, I finally visited my healthcare physician, who told me I had acid reflux.
During that doctor visit, my physician talked to me about my weight, my physical activity, and my diet. Prior to this point, I didn’t have to lie because this wasn’t a conversation I didn’t have to have with my physician. After I gained the weight, I found myself during doctor’s visits lying about what I was eating and how much exercise I was doing. You know, trying to put it off on me not being able to lose weight, more than me just being stuck with horrible body image issues that still weren’t enough for me to do anything about it.
We talked about my weight, and exercise and dieting. I told him I was in the midst of planning a wedding and didn’t really have a lot of time to focus on a new routine.
“So you’re not working out to fit into your dress? I thought all women wanted to look perfect in it,” he said.
“I’m already perfect. I bought my dress months ago and it doesn’t really bother me.”
“Really? Most women would be exercising like crazy for it.”
I remember smiling. I remember telling him that I was content with my body where it is was, and I was happy.
That was the day I knew I could make a change for my body for the better. It still took months for me to get into a routine. Work, travel, and wedding events greatly occupied my time, but I had a different outlook. I knew that I could do it. And, that I wanted to do it for me because I wanted to take care of myself.
I used to work out and find myself frustrated because I felt like nothing was changing. Now, I’m just happy to be working out. To be meal-prepping with my husband, finding new ways to cook and eat food, having new outdoor adventures. Now, the journey to rediscovering what my body can do excites me.
Back then, losing the weight wouldn’t have been enough. I had body image issues for as long as I can remember, and I knew I needed to change my attitude about my body and its beauty in order to regain myself.
Sometimes, even though we know we need to change something for the betterment of our health, or our mental stability, we become so stuck in the “now” that we forget to live in the present and be content with where and who we are. I needed to learn to be happy with who I was, and where my body was at this moment and in this space.
It’s not until we learn to be content with where our bodies are, can we fully transform them.