A Journey of Body Acceptance: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always tried to make my body smaller. I grew up with a wonderful mother, however, she was always on a new diet, always putting her body down, always trying to make her body smaller. And it wasn’t just my mother, it was family, friends and the world around us too. Everyone talked about diets and being thin, praising people who were thin or lost weight and talking behind the backs of those who were overweight or gained weight. I grew up thinking this was normal. What I didn’t know was that this was the start of my fat phobia and body dismorphia.
I started exercising at the age of 19, joining a gym and doing classes. It was fun but in all honesty, I didn’t join to be healthy, I did it because I was scared of living like my mom, always trying to lose weight.
Yet, that’s what my life became. I was rarely happy with my body, always criticizing it, comparing myself to others and putting my body down. Even when I was thin, it was never enough. In my early twenties when I went through a rough time in a relationship, I lost a lot of weight. Despite it being one of the worst times in my life, I was so happy to have lost all that weight and be “skinny.” I realize now, how messed up that was.
It was just as bad after having children. I kept being down on myself for not being able to lose the baby weight, not taking into consideration what my body had just gone through and done for me, the miracle that it had just performed. After my second baby, same thing. But this time, I did lose the weight. I counted calories, exercised and I lost all the weight. (Here’s the post I wrote about it.) And it made me so happy. When I think about that, there were so many wonderful things and people in my life, yet the thing that made me the happiest was losing weight.
At my 40th birthday, I was probably the strongest and healthiest I’d ever been, yet all I could see was that my stomach wasn’t flat and I didn’t understand why I didn’t have more willpower over food, why I couldn’t stick to a diet and why I’d keep binging at night. Body acceptance wasn’t even a thought in my mind.
It was just so exhausting and toxic. A few years ago, I made a change. I decided to stop weighing myself. I decided to stop dieting. I began to learn more about body acceptance, positive body image, appreciating what my body does and learning that I am more than just my body. It was also during this time that I developed thyroid issues and gained more than 20lbs.
Today I am at my heaviest I’ve ever been (excluding pregnancy,) and some days are still challenging, However, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself and to my body. I try and remember the amazing things my body has done for me; birthing two babies, breast feeding, 2 hour hikes, box jumps, burpees, hugs, keeping me healthy and alive, the list is endless.
And when I stopped trying to lose weight, counting calories, feeling guilty about indulging and weighing myself, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt a huge relief. Our bodies are so much more than just what they look like, yet society and media has made us think we are only worthy if we are thin.
But the conversation has been changing. Normal bodies all look different. All bodies are good bodies. We are more than just out bodies. Body Acceptance. We need to change the narrative, for ourselves and for our children; so they can grow up in a world where they are not obsessed with the number on the scale nor by the size of their hips and stomach. Where they can see all shapes, sizes and color on social media, on TV and in advertising. We can all help change the conversation. It’s not going to be easy. It’s hard to unlearn everything we’ve believed for most of our lives but at least we can try, we deserve that, don’t you think?
You can also find me on Instagram sharing about wellness, fitness, motherhood and body acceptance.