Since I was a teenager, I've been riding the waves in and out of eating disorders. At the height I am now, I've fluctuated 60 pounds, up and down, rarely settling in on a point of balance. Two summers ago, my weight started to shift upwards. Sometimes it does this without explanation. I will be eating the same, exercising the same, but my body will decide that it wants to hold on to every.single.thing that I eat. & instead of letting it, loving it, and appreciating it, I was totally hating on my body. To be clear: I was by no means actually overweight. I was still normal, still healthy. However, I said things to myself daily, perhaps even hourly, that I would never even dream of saying to anybody else. How could I be so cruel to myself, to this body that allows me to be alive?
& it's no wonder that I kept gaining weight. I mean, I was telling myself that I was fat constantly. I was feeling guilt and shame for eating three meals a day. I was feeling down for being hungry no matter how much I ate. I had nothing nice or positive to say about myself, so my body listened. Every time I said "I'm so fat" my body listened and agreed. It complied. It said, "if that's what's going on, then sure, let's gain weight." I stumped doctors. I took tests. I went to acupuncture. Besides some slightly elevated thyroid levels, everything was normal. My diet is pretty balanced -- full of veggies, low on processed foods. I swing kettlebells, play on my yoga mat, and go running. Even though my weight was within normal range, my body fat percentage was categorized as "obese." Things were getting weird.
Then a couple of months ago, I decided to put an end to it. I decided that I was so lucky to have this body, regardless of its size, regardless of how much muscle I have, regardless of what the size says on my jeans. I started checking myself out. I started loving the muscle in my legs. I started saying "I'm so sexy" to myself instead of "I'm so fat." I started massaging my body with various oils lovingly. I started to appreciate my body and its instincts. I listened to it. I asked it what it needed. & what it needed was love.
Once I started to love my body, I began to fully believe that I look good. My confidence soared and oddly, my appetite plummeted. I'm still hungry, but not in the same ravenous and unaware way that I was before. My body was hungry for other things, like fun and play and self-love.
Recently I ran out of clean pants to wear and dug into my closet to find pants that I wore 2 summers ago, before I started gaining weight. I tried them on, for kicks. & they fit, albeit a little big snugly, but still -- they buttoned up with no problem. My actual weight had not shifted one single pound, but my body must have shifted composition. Finally, all of my kettlebell swinging/weight lifting/yoga sweating was transforming my body. My body was listening to my self-love declarations. I realized it wasn't the number on the scale that mattered or even the number on my pants. What mattered, at the heart of it, was love for myself. Love is really what my body wanted. I bet it's what your body wants, too.
I'm telling you this not because I want you to try it to lose weight. I didn't actually lose anything on this journey. I'm telling you this because I want you to love yourself and understand that power of positive thinking and negative thinking. The more you say things to yourself that you wouldn't dare say to anyone else, the more you fill your mind with hateful thoughts about the body you have, the more your body listens. & it goes the other way, too: the more you show yourself love, compassion, understanding, and care, the more your body will listen. What do you want your body to hear?
Say it with me: I love my legs. I love my belly. I love my hips. I love my arms. I love my skin. I love myself.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.