Body Image and Weight Loss
Surely I can’t be the only person who’s thought:
“I’d love myself if I weighed X amount” or “I’d love myself if I wear X size clothing” or “I’d love myself if it looked *exactly how I want to look*.”
Which is bullshit.
Love is unconditional.
You either love yourself, or you don’t.
Or you like yourself, but you’re just not quite ready to make that commitment. Loving yourself every single day no matter is hard.
Weight Doesn’t Matter
When I started losing weight I was 74kgs. When I looked at pictures of myself at 70kgs I thought I looked PERFECT then. If only I could be 70kgs again.
At 70kgs I looked at pictures of myself at 65kgs and though – I was PERFECT at 65kgs, if I could be 65kgs again I’ll love myself.
Well, I’m now 65kgs…. What do I see when I look in the mirror?
Perfection? Beauty? A body that I love?
No. I see thighs that stick out, a soft belly, fat arms, AND now I see deflated boobs.
It’s quite bizarre if I just look at the last two photos on that timeline I can see everything that I perceive as being wrong with me – it’s only when I look at them next to my “before’ pictures that I can see that I’m actually looking pretty good.
Body Image and Weight Loss are two different things
I do like myself more since I’ve lost weight, I appreciate the way clothes look on me now, and I feel good about myself for losing weight. But it’s not the same as truly, unconditionally, loving myself just the way I am.
I’ve known all along that body image and weight loss aren’t actually related. All through the promises I make myself, all through the “if only”s and “one day when”s I’ve known. Because if I could love myself now, I’d love myself then.
Other people’s approval and compliments are nice. The “Wow, you look great!” and “Don’t be ridiculous, Rach! You’re not fat!”. But they can’t fix how I feel about myself.
I’ve felt this way about myself since I was 10 years old. It’s been two decades of thinking “I’m fat”. Isn’t that deeply sad in itself? That by 10 years old I was already wishing I could be skinny. I wanted to look like a Disney Princess. They had tiny tiny waists and I was still round in the middle.
There is no diet or quick fix for self esteem. In some ways it’s much easier to change my body than it is to change my body image.
And I know that a lot of this is because of media and wildly unrealistic expectations about what all women should look like. Most of the time we are only shown one acceptable body shape for a woman – tall and skinny, with long legs. I will never have long legs. Ever. That is beyond my control.
I’m Committed To Myself
It’s not just my body. There’s other thing I don’t like about myself. I hate that I cry when I’m angry. And that I care so much about what other people think of me. I drive myself crazy with how forgetful I am (and yet I remember vast amounts of completely useless information!). And I hate – hate – my anxiety.
But this is who I am, and just like my physical health, I’m committed to keep working on my emotional and mental health. I owe it to myself. Even if it’s hard, even if it takes the rest of my life, because I do like myself enough to keep trying to love myself.