Learn how to love your body

I’m in the process of trying to lose weight. My current number on the scale puts me at a BMI that labels me as obese.

2009 Me at the age of 22 and 186 lbs

Over a decade ago, I lost weight. I went from my heaviest weight of 186 lb and lost 50 lb in a year—another 20 lb in two years.

Surrounded and alone

There were influences in my life at the time that made me doubt what I was doing was enough. Those influences couldn’t understand how challenging it is to lose that much weight. What was worse was that I wasn’t able to appreciate how the human body works.

I kept thinking I needed to be smaller and smaller and smaller. I could not accept myself as I was. I was not grateful for my body and how much work it had done. Therefore I could not see how amazing it was after the work that I put in.

Eventually, I got to a point where I was small enough I didn’t like how small I was.

My body felt old even though I was only in my twenties. I ached everywhere and moved slowly.

I felt alone. I felt like I couldn’t win, like I wasn’t good enough. I thought there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t lose enough weight. I couldn’t get small enough or be the right size and shape.

2017 Me at 107-110 lbs

In my mind, I was the fat girl, a slob. I told myself I was worthless and would never amount to anything. Weight loss was not a means to be healthier, happier, fit. It was a struggle. It was my hell. I isolated myself. I didn’t enjoy food or any moment that involved food.

Movement and exercise were a chore, a requirement, a necessity. It was a lonely solo activity, and just because I improved did not mean I could celebrate. I felt like my wins should not be honored. I picked at every mistake, misstep, and everything that I thought I should be, yet I wasn’t.

I am in the process of losing weight now, and I’ve chosen to accept and appreciate my body. Some days it’s hard, the old insecure ways are going to be there, but now they’re tools to show me which way not to go.

The scales ups and downs

Stepping on the scale no longer causes me anxiety.

Instead, the weight losses are times to celebrate, while the weight gains are a time of reflection.

Is the weight coming back because of natural fluctuations in my body? Or are they because of a recent food or exercise choice I made?  No matter what the answer is, I don’t beat myself up over it.

I’m me and only me

I’ve stopped comparing my body to others. I’ve also stopped comparing my current body to my old body. I used to do that a lot. I have plenty of pictures of myself I took when I still thought I wasn’t small enough. I have had moments where I spent hours looking at those pictures feeling like a loser because I’m not that size anymore.

I don’t need to be any particular size to be acceptable. I also don’t need to fit into certain clothes or have a specific shape. I only need to be happy with myself.

Am I looking within for happiness? If I’m not, why not? Why do I think my outside appearance will make me happy? Is it because someone else said so? Maybe I should stop listening to whoever that was because they don’t have my best interests in mind.

I also shouldn’t listen to the people who tell me I shouldn’t try to lose weight. The well-meaning sorts think they are spreading body positivity by putting down thinner people or saying one should be happy being their weight with no desire to change.

Change is not a bad thing

Neither weight loss nor weight gain is terrible. Too much of either for the wrong reasons are.

I don’t want to lose weight so that I can look like someone else. I don’t want to lose weight because I think it will make me more attractive.

I want to lose weight so I can avoid lower back pain and feel comfortable in my body.

Someone once asked me, “Do you think losing weight will make you a better person.”

My answer is no.

The only thing that makes me a better person is how I treat myself and others.

By healthily losing weight, I am treating myself well. I am also setting an example for others that will allow them to see that weight loss isn’t about starvation and pills.

A body is beautiful no matter what size or shape it is. It’s even more attractive if the person who lives inside that body takes good care of it and respects it.

Love thyself

All I want is for others to love their bodies, love themselves, and be their healthiest selves.

I strive to be this for myself, even when it’s hard. And boy, is it hard sometimes.

Like going on social media and seeing a beautiful woman with a great body, perfect hair, and expertly applied makeup, the angle of the picture at the ideal angle makes her look like she has no flaws. Let’s not forget the post-editing and filters that smooth her skin and give her the perfect sun-kissed glow.

Scrolling through enough of those makes me want to hide in a corner until all the weight drops off and I’m nothing more than a skeleton walking out of my house. I can’t do that, and I won’t.

Instead, I’m choosing to be happy as I am. I’m refusing to look back at the old me, and I’m saying, this is my body now, and I love it.  

Do you find yourself struggling with body image? Why? Leave your answer in the comments, we read and reply to every comment.

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2 responses to “Learn how to love your body”

  1. michelle kelly Avatar

    What an awesome post you wrote about body image. i really like how you told us about your problems and how you come to terms with it. Makes it easier for me to talk about my problems with body image.

    Mine stem from the fact that I suffer from Psoriasis. what started as some dry skin on my elbow a few years ago has affected all part of my skin now, my finger and toes nails, along with my joints. the skin peeling and patches of dry skin are bad, but it is what has happen to my nails that bother me the most.

    I had a lot of pride in my nails and took care of them. now they look like someone took sandpaper to them. no matter what I do I cannot get them back to what they where.

    It took me some time to realize that this the way it is for me. nothing to be ashamed or feel bad about. I can control my Immunize response with Medicine and diet so my Nails and skin can heal. But I accept at times I will have flare ups and things will go bad. Instead of getting depressed or angry about it, I try to understand what may have caused the flare up so I can avoid having them.

    thank you again for posting this and telling about your struggles with body Image. I really appreciate it!!!!!

    1. Kathryn Avatar

      Psoriasis can be really challenging, especially since it’s something that is almost entirely out of your control. Yes, medication and changing one’s diet can help, but as you mentioned, there will still be flare-ups, and since our bodies are constantly changing what causes your flare-ups likely changes as well.

      I’m happy that sharing my own struggles helps you to open up about your own. I can only hope that my story helps many more people.

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