When I say ‘love’, I don’t mean that you have to be head over heels, loving yourself sick and thinking you’re the sexiest beast to walk the planet every time you look in the mirror – no improvements needed (although you are totally a sexy beast – just saying). I mean the act of love. The ‘being kind to yourself’ kind of love. The kind of acceptance for yourself and your body that you would give anybody else that you care about, but somehow forget to give yourself. The remembering that you are more than what you look like. That kind of love.
I used to be of the mentality that I would have to work hard to get the body that I want and THEN I could love myself – you know, when I got really hot. And you know what? I was MISERABLE. I was all about the destination and not about the journey. Holding off my happiness and acceptance of myself was not the best idea I’ve ever had. In fact, it turned out to be really counterproductive.
Also, WTF. How shallow is that?? I would never treat somebody else like that. Why do it to myself?
The funny thing is, it took me being the heaviest and most unfit I’ve ever been in my life to actually start loving myself (this was only a few months and a couple of kilograms ago). I think it’s because I had to accept that if I got myself moving and really made an effort to improve my health, it would take a lot longer than it ever has before. It wouldn’t be a quick fix (and nor did I want it to be). That’d be a really long time to wait to be happy.
For me, the happiness I feel when I’m saying nice things to myself, is what actually motivates me. I’ve made so much more progress in my journey to better health since I decided to be happy with myself NOW than I was ever making when I made the choice to loathe who I saw in the mirror each day.
How do I love myself and my body NOW?
I used to think that there was no point buying nice new clothes because I’d be heaps smaller and slimmer one day, so what’s the point? May as well make do with what I had until I was ‘hot again’ and then I could spoil myself. That was a HUGE mistake. Each day I faced a wardrobe filled with things that didn’t fit anymore. Stuff I was waiting to fit back into. See, I never got rid of that stuff because I thought that if I did, it was like telling myself I’d never wear that size/style again. I thought it would be like admitting I was giving up. Thing is, I was also subconsciously telling myself that I didn’t deserve nice new clothes that fit and flattered, because I didn’t think I was good enough how I was.
Each day I would have to wade through the stuff that I couldn’t wear anymore. I would feel sad and annoyed (it also was a big waste of time). Every day. I would put on some drab piece of clothing – probably something super floaty I could do nothing but hide in and hope I blended in with. It was often a few seasons old or it looked overly worn out. I never felt good.
I also never worked out. I told myself that until I was ‘hot’ enough to wear gym clothes, I shouldn’t buy any, like I didn’t have the right to buy it because I wasn’t ‘the real deal’ or experienced enough. But then I would never be able to exercise the way I wanted, because I didn’t have the right clothes or I felt frumpy and out of place when I improvised! Funny that.
So one day something snapped in me and I went into a little bit of a frenzy. I packed all the stuff that didn’t fit me into bags. One for charity and one to put aside somewhere just in case (in a container to be stored away so I didn’t have to see it every day). My wardrobe looked quite bare, but suddenly there was room for new stuff. Stuff I deserved to buy myself. Best decision I ever made.
Now I go clothes shopping when I can (which is not often but I make it count) and I put some effort in. I deserve it. I deserve to look and feel nice no matter what weight I am or where I am in my progress as I strive to be healthier and stronger. I have a couple of aspirational clothing items but I keep them to a minimum and they are realistic aspirations – not crazy dreams of a size 6 mini dress – the kind worn only by Hollywood socialites on the red carpet (socialite in mini dress I am not)! If I ever get small enough for that kind of thing (and someone invites me to a red carpet event haha), I’ll go buy it when I need it. For now, I’m happy to dress for where I’m at. Yes. Happy. I’m gonna be sexy NOW damn it!
The more I exercise and eat better, the less I care what people might think of my appearance. Because there’s something magical about knowing your truth. If I’m doing all I can, people can think whatever the fuck they like. When I was miserable and secretly eating my feelings every day and hiding in grey muu muu dresses, I thought that any negative thoughts people had of my appearance would be all I deserved. It wasn’t and to be honest, I don’t think other people thought much of anything. I was just projecting my own feelings about myself onto them. Deep, huh?
Another thing to do is to find inspiration (and perspective) in people who are more like you, physically. I know heaps of beautiful girls of all sizes and shapes who look AMAZING to me all the time and not once have I ever looked at them and thought bad things about them just because of how they carry their weight (or any other physical trait). In fact, I see who they are shining through more than anything. If I don’t judge them, should I be judging myself? Hell to the no! That’s also a good indicator that other people probably aren’t judging me either!
Now when I look in the mirror, I look for the good things. Sure, I might do a quick ‘does my back fat look too obvious in this’ check (old habits die hard), but I look for the little differences in my muscle tone since I started exercising more. I look at the things I like about my outfit or my body. Because I put love into my body and my wardrobe NOW, it is much easier. I’m proud of a ‘look’ I’ve achieved, rather than relieved I can blend in for another day (or horribly anxious that someone will ‘out’ me as not being good enough).
Even if my clothes aren’t fitting great (and the stuff in the shops is not helping either), I find ways to pamper myself. Cute accessories (they’ll always fit), colourful shoes, getting my nails done (or taking the time to do them myself). It doesn’t matter what size I am. I know I’m working hard and things will improve. I am kind to myself because I deserve my own kindness NOW (or at least I am working really hard on it).
Because what’s more motivating? Someone bullying us and saying we’re not good enough or someone telling us they care and that they’ve got our back and they know we can do this because we’re worth it?
Don’t be your own bully!
You are beautiful in so many ways RIGHT NOW!
The big question: Do you believe me?