I think that the title of this post says it all. Last week really was a time of reflection for me. To reflect on how far I've come, where I want to be, and what I need to change, and where I need to go from here. Yesterday I posted about losing my dieter's mentality, and really learning to live differently and think about food and eating differently. Today I want to talk about another topic I came across in my blog searches and it was a common thread throughout many blogs and success stories. It is learning to accept yourself, learning to love your body, learning to treat your body with respect. I am so guilty of thinking and even saying things like "I have myself, I hate the way I look, I am so fat, I am disgusting, I hate my body, my body is so gross, look at all this fat, look at my face, look at my hair!" etc, etc, etc... And I am sure you could fill in much more with your own thoughts (I didn't even mention my butt!).
But that is the point, we should not be thinking about ourselves in such a negative way. I learned that I am trying to do the right thing for the wrong reason. I was trying to lose weight (successfully to a point), so that I could reach an ideal. I did not have a healthy view of my body, I didn't even like my body. I have been too focused on numbers and how imperfect I still am. By the end of this journey I will have lost close to 90 pounds and, call me what you want, I started worrying about how I would look with loose skin. I have yet to come across a blogger who has lost 70+ pounds who does not have lose skin. I started worrying about if I would need to get a tummy tuck, thinking about how we could never afford it, and besides that I still want to have kids. I've had two c-sections and will need more when we have additional kids, will I even be a candidate for a tummy tuck with that many abdominal surgeries? Worry, worry, worry, fretting over my image, and my bodies imperfections.
Now I realize, it doesn't matter. Because this journey is about so much more than just becoming skinny. It is about learning to love yourself, and you have to love yourself to be successful. Do you love yourself and your body enough to do what it takes to be successful? It's about being healthy overall: improving in physical fitness, improving in what you eat, improving your strength, improving your mental and spiritual health.
I wrote a post a while back called Confessions of a Weight Loss Fanatic and I think it really depicts the unhealthy mentality I have had this past year. Not just the past year, but ever since I started to be aware about the world. My self image and self esteem issues stem all the way back to 6th grade when I started realizing that I didn't have the body the world said I should have, which made me upset and made me eat more, and made me gain weight, which made me more depressed so I would eat more, and gain more weight. And thus started the seemingly endless cycle of yo-yo dieting that so many of us get wrapped up in. This are issues that almost every girl in America faces, and many women across the globe. We are told that because we don't look a certain way we aren't good enough and are worthless. This is just not true, and I hope to be able to teach my kids to love themselves and their bodies no matter what they look like. I truly believe that when you have self respect and self love you will take better care of yourself and your body. (note: I am not saying that everyone who is thin loves themselves, there are certainly skinny people with low self esteem and a poor body image (think anorexia) and I am also not saying that all people who are fat or overweight have low self esteem and hate their bodies. I am making a general observation and stating that I believe when we have more self confidence, self esteem, and self worth we are more likely to take care of our health and our body and be happier people).
So from here on out, I am learning to love my body. I read on http://ronisweigh.com/ that she had to literally stand in front of the mirror naked and say to herself "okay. This is my body and it is okay. It's not perfect but I am okay with that. I am working to make my body stronger, and healthier. My body is amazing and can do amazing things." (Note: not the actual words she uses on her blog, I'm paraphrasing from memory.) So that is what I am doing. I am telling myself that my body is good, that it is my body and that it is amazing. My body can do amazing things even when I don't take care of it. My heart keeps beating, I keep breathing, my legs carry me around, my arms and hands can pick up my kids, cook, type this blog post, and so much more. My body created the bodies of my two children and healed itself after my two c-sections! My body may not be perfect, but it is the only one I have. I need to learn to love my body, and treat it with respect. Stop saying hurtful things to myself. Telling myself negative things makes me feel bad and further sends me down the cycle of emotional eating. So instead, I will try to celebrate my body and the amazing things that it can do, and know that I am working on shaping my body into the best it can be.