In case you’re new, I used to be fat. My 5’7” frame sat at 240lbs before I got pregnant. I don’t actually know how large I ended up being because there is a point of no return on the scale. For me 200lbs was it. I just couldn’t bare look after that. I only did once and 240 stared back at me.
When I talk about being fat I’m not talking about that number. I felt exactly the same way when I hit 150 in junior high. I can look back at picture of myself and see that I wasn’t overweight at that point. But in my mind I had been obese from childhood on. Being “fat” for me wasn’t about the BMI scale or any other objective measurement. It was a set of self defeating mantras and self loathing, countless chances not taken and the ultimate excuse for every failure.
So I made the choice to like myself. I made that choice for myself, sick of wasting so much time worrying about the looks of my body. I made that choice for my daughter, not wanting to teach her to not like herself and wanting to give her a Mom who loved herself and was on her own list of priorities. But this isn’t something that just comes naturally. I spent a good 25 years with the voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough. Turning that off is still a daily task.
So I became an athlete. I cook healthy. I lift big things. I’m proud of what I can do with my body, and I have embraced all of me– even the parts that don’t look photoshopped. I’m a personal trainer. I’m freaking fit mama! I help other people with body image and getting in touch with their respective inner bad ass.
But I still struggle with those same old demons. The ones that tell me I can’t wear something I want to because my thighs don’t look right. That is literally shocked when I tell someone I’m a personal trainer and they don’t laugh.
The point is; it IS hard to love yourself. It’s hard to accept that you are good enough. And it doesn’t matter if you are a size 2 or a size 22, those voices are hard to turn off. They come from everywhere. It’s this accepted task of womanhood : here is your body, it won’t look like any example of what we are told it should look like, deal with it.
So here is how I deal with it.
I do shit with my body everyday that makes me feel good. I lift weights, run stairs, sprint hills (rewind a few years ago that looked more like take walks, humbly start jogging). I regularly take bubble baths. I eat food that makes me feel light and energetic and keep to a minimum those “eat til it hurts” occasions.
I practice, practice, practice loving my body everyday. Which probably sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. I stand butt ass naked in my mirror when I don’t feel so hot and stay there until I do. This usually happens when I’m having a random “I don’t want to put anything I own on my body right now” moment. I start out by checkin out the things I reliably always dig and move on to the other parts. This isn’t like an obsessive, hours long process. But I probably spend a good 15 minutes a week just looking at my naked ass and telling myself – “You look good damn it.”
Maybe that sounds vain. But I would so much rather spend 15 minutes a week telling my naked behind I look hot than the countless hours I have spent in the past loathing all of it. Trying on clothes and hating them. Not wanting to buy new things because I knew I’d have to go to a special store and that felt too embarrassing. So yeah, I’ll take a little vanity over all the self hatred.
I have new mantras. So when the old “you’re not good enough” ones pop up I just conger up one of my much more bad ass ones and tell myself that.
It gets easier. My old mantras don’t come to mind so much. I don’t battle daily with the mirror. The scale can now completely kiss my ass. But all those things came with time.
The point is, I get that this is hard. But you deserve to dig yourself. Think of all the people in your life who dig you. I’m sure it isn’t in spite of your thighs. But the only way to start becoming the confident, bad ass you were meant to be is to start. Decide you’ve had enough fights with your reflection. Decide you deserve better from yourself. Decide that if you are telling yourself something you would never tell your best friend that’s not good enough. And if you have wee ones, realize your thoughts about you are determining the ones they will have about themselves. Decide to be a better example.
It’s not easy killing off the inner fat girl. But damn it, it’s worth it.