Do you have an accurate image of your body? Sometimes it’s hard to love if you don’t know what it really looks like. Image from Healthy Is the New Skinny via myfitnesspal.com.
Ever feel like you’re wearing a permanent costume? I don’t know why in the past it’s been so difficult for me to accept that my body is actually mine and not that of someone else. My shape was temporarily on me, but not me. Just to be clear: I didn’t hate my body. I felt surprisingly sexy at 15+ my “normal” weight. I just didn’t think it was really me. I would look at women who were probably my size or shape and view them as sexy, but I couldn’t see that as my own “real” size.
I didn’t mind my body because I thought of it as temporary. I looked at is as something that wasn’t really me. Because the change in my size would happen so quickly, I didn’t have time to adjust to new representations. In my mind I was really ten pounds smaller, but I just happened to be walking around heavier today, all week, and, really, for the last year.
Despite my slight delusion, I didn’t lack confidence. There is something surprisingly empowering about living in the Sunshine State. Florida gives the gift of year-round dress-wearing weather. For those of us that are either a) small-waisted but round-bottomed, b) uncomfortable in shorts, or c) partial to simple, but sunny, clothing, the ability to wear dresses year round is phenomenal. It allows women of all sizes to be as feminine, curvy, dressed up, or casual as they please.
Acknowledging the fact that sometimes a drastic change in body weight (and fat) is scary, risky, and unhealthy, I can say that I am, generally speaking, healthy. And, personally, the benefit of dress-wearing weather is that I can swing within a 15-pound range (yup) and still feel smart, sexy, attractive, and confident regardless of where I sit on the scale.
Then one day I had an epiphany. I looked at my naked form and realized that it had basically been my size for the last year, and, thus, was probably accurate. I had been considering my form rented, but it was actually me. There was a blessing, a calm, not just in standing up for my body, but in considering it mine for life, rather than something on loan. At this very size, shape, and tone.
This seems straightforward, but it was humbling and quite amusing to realize that I hadn’t been thinking of my body this way. And while I am simultaneously appreciative of being able to feel sexy and confident and attractive and worthy (though those terms aren’t mutually exclusive) at this “new” size, I am even more grateful for this second shift in mindset. For the instant magic of looking at my body in the mirror not as an odd costume that just appeared on my frame one day, but actually as my own body. It was a change from a mentality I didn’t even know I was harboring.
Of course, it hadn’t really been an instant shift, but a pinnacle of preceding mentalities. Of energy put into loving and appreciating myself. Of understanding that eating better may lead to weight loss, or it may not. Of not looking at my body critically, but in really smiling in amusement at how it’s changed.
And with this realization, I laughed loudly. I wasn’t fighting my body as if it were a parasite. It was mine, and it made sense, given my change in lifestyle, exercise, and eating choices. It was an adequate representation, though not the sole representation, of me. It is not rented; it is owned. And I love it.