The lesson I learned…
Hate your body.
This was a fairly new lesson.
I don’t remember hating my body in high school. Or college. Or post-college.
My weight fluctuated throughout those years, and I did go on and off diets, but I didn’t hate my body.
I was just fine after my first child. My body mostly returned to my pre-baby body.
Then I had my second child. And my body changed and the weight didn’t come off like it did the first time.
My size crept up, more and more.
I was ok with it for a little while because I had just had a baby.
Then a comment from a coworker based in the NY office.
Someone I had met in person but whom I mostly communicated by phone.
One day, we needed to Skype.
He asked me what happened to me.
“You’ve gained a lot of weight.”
I told him I had a baby.
“But that was like a year ago.”
I was bothered, to say the least.
I relayed what he said to my female friends at work, and they were appalled.
“How dare he? What an asshole?”
I agreed, but his comments stayed with me.
I started to look at myself a bit more closely.
I paid more attention to the fact that I was wearing clothes 2-3 sizes larger than I had before having my child.
I noticed but didn’t do anything about it right away.
As time passed, it ate away at me (no pun intended).
I now felt uncomfortable in my skin.
I hated what I saw in the mirror.
I developed new habits that would stick with me.
I would claw and pinch at my belly every morning.
I would bang my thighs with my fist.
I would squeeze my back fat.
I would study my profile and then suck in my stomach as much as possible, uncomfortably so.
I compared myself with every female body I looked at.
I never measured up.
I would say very mean things to myself.
"I hate you."
I stayed this size.
I stayed in this body that I hated.
And hate it I did.
But I didn't do anything about it.
I was yet to take control of my life.
Why do something when you can just hate yourself every day?
We moved to a new home.
My commute changed which brought new people into my life.
One day I realized that my new friend only knew me at this size.
He didn’t realize that I used to be smaller.
He didn’t know me at the size I was before my second child.
It bothered me.
This coincided with the time in my life that I started to take control.
I was in command of my life, not the other way around.
I went on Weight Watchers.
I lost weight.
Then, sometime later, I started running and working out, and I liked my body.
I never fully appreciated the transformation because I always thought it could have been better.
But I did feel healthy and strong.
And I liked myself in my clothes.
And in a bathing suit.
And in front of the mirror.
Then I got Covid and I couldn’t work out.
Then I was exhausted for months and months and it was winter and I started eating more.
Then I gained back the weight that I had kept off for almost 2 years.
Then I clawed and pinched my stomach.
And punched my thighs.
And squeezed my back fat.
And sucked in my stomach.
And said vile things to me.
And compared me to others.
And hated me.
For sliding back.
For having that body again.
For losing control.
As summer approached, I decided I was going to get it back.
The body from last summer.
So, I went back on Weight Watchers.
But it didn’t work.
I hated my body even more.
I started working out again.
But it wasn’t working.
I hated my body even more.
I started to blame my age,
In reality, I believe my body was revolting.
Deliberately defying me.
Purposefully doing the opposite of what I wanted it to do.
It was telling me that it didn’t give a shit what I wanted.
It wasn’t budging until I stopped hating it.
Overcoming the lesson...
It took me a bit to get the message.
But I did.
I read a memoir by a woman who had a very loving relationship with her body and food.
She ate for nourishment, for fuel, for the good of the planet.
She put optimal things into her body to function at her best.
She was loving to herself and everyone and everything around her.
She was inspiring.
I eased up on my body.
I stopped scrutinizing myself in the mirror.
I let go of the expectations.
I stopped comparing my body.
I started eating well; lots of veggies, fruits, and whole grains; whole foods.
I wanted to take care of my body for the first time in a long time.
I started working with it instead of against it.
I laid off the intense workouts and returned to the exercise I love to do.
And I felt better.
So much better.
I’m not scrutinizing my body.
I’m not looking to be thin.
I don't even weigh myself anymore.
Healthy and strong are the goals.
I want a happy relationship with my body.
I don’t hate my body anymore.
I accept it for all that it is.
While also doing what I can to take good care of it.
We are friends again.
I am grateful for the peace after being at war for so long.
Until next time...