My continuing journey to accept and love my body.
Like most (if not all) women and girls, I have insecurities about my body. I’ve had these insecurities since I was nine years old. I take after the women in my mother’s family, curves everywhere. Even when I’ve been at my skinniest, I’ve had curves. Wide hips, big chest, and always a bit of fat around my belly, thighs, calves and upper arms. I’m 5’5, and my skinniest was 135lbs, wearing a size 2. My weight has gone up, then down, then up, then down, then up again. I’m currently 255lbs, wearing a size 20. I feel the same way about my body now, as I did then. As far as I can tell, those curves and that thickness is always there. The only difference is how obvious it is in photos, how big those curves are. I’ll never have a flat stomach. My arms and legs will never look skinny in proportion to the rest of me. These are facts.
I’m sick of hating what I see in the mirror. Of only seeing flaws, and things that I wish were different. I’m sick of imagining a version of myself that I know will never exist. I’m sick of that pressure, that feeling that there is something wrong with the way I look. So I’ve decided my physical form is simply a shell. It has nothing to do with who I am as a person. As long as I’m healthy (my blood pressure is always textbook levels), and my weight isn’t causing any detriments to my overall health, I’ve decided it’s irrelevant.
I’ve tried multiple diets over the years. They worked, but only while I was strictly on them. As soon as I stopped, the weight slowly piled back on. I’m not going to stress myself out over what I eat anymore. I’m not going to count calories or track every single thing I put into my mouth. Even when I was on a diet I always found it unbelievably stressful and exhausting. I’m nevet going to put myself through that again. I acknowledge when I make poor eating choices, and try to balance it out as best I can.
I’ve never been a very active person. I did synchronized swimming as a teenager and into my early twenties, but that was it. I hate exercising, and I hate getting all gross and sweaty. Recently I’ve discovered two things that I’m willing to do for exercise. An elliptical device without the handle bars, just the pedals. It allows me to work my leg muscles while sitting comfortably in a chair. The other thing is exercise classes run by plus size women. It’s all about enjoying exercise, doing what works for you, not focusing on losing weight or burning calories.
I’ve also just discovered body neutrality, and I think it’s awesome. I’m intelligent, I’m empathetic, I love animals, I’m a huge geek, I’m a feminist. None of these things has anything to do with the way I look. They are aspects of my personality, of who I am as a person. They won’t change if my body changes. They are what gives me value as a human being. Whether I’m considered skinny or fat, if I do or don’t conform to society’s definition of attractiveness shouldn’t determine my worth, my value.
I struggle with my insecurities, my self worth every day. It’s a mindset I want to change, but I know that will take time. Some days are better than others. It’s a constant and continuous process. I know I’ll have bad days where I’ll slip back into old habits. The important thing will be to move past those days, to try and be better the next day.
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