I got a front row spot in my class at the gym tonight, which meant an hour of staring at myself in the mirror. And I realized something I never had before – not only am I no longer the biggest person in the class as I once was, I am now the most athletic looking woman in the room, aside from the instructor! There are some girls who are skinnier, but nobody with as much muscle definition.
Sometimes I just want to stand at the top of the stairclimber in the gym with a megaphone and proclaim to all the larger ladies just starting out “Just keep doing it!!! It is going to pay off!!! You can be as fit as you want to be!!! You can completely change your body!!!”
I feel like I have reached a forbidden land and nobody can believe that when I set off across the ocean, I didn’t fall over the edge. No, the world is not, in fact, flat. It IS possible for a woman to look at her perfectly flawed self in the mirror and say, “Body, I like you.” It is possible even after years of destructive hatred. It is possible even though you think you can’t be trusted to make the good decisions and to stick it out to the end. It is possible, all you have to do is make it possible.
That’s why there is no secret I can share that will satisfy the questions. The secret is in YOU. I can’t tell you what it is in you that is going to get you there. Nobody can. No book, no guru, nobody. Only YOU can figure that out. It isn’t a question you answer. It is a journey you take.
And sometimes I feel like I am an alien in a foreign land. How bizarre it seems to other people when I say, I like myself. I am happy with how I look. How bizarre it is to walk down the aisle in the CVS and see all the products promising to change you, fix you, make you better, and to laugh and say “No thanks. I’m fine the way I am.” To see all the promises. “lose weight and live happily ever after. Losing weight is the answer to it all.” And to know it is all lies. And see clearly the lie that every empty promise is built upon. If only you were a little bit better. A little prettier. A little thinner. Everything would be perfect, right?
I’ve said this many times, but I am going to keep saying it:
I wasn’t unhappy because I was fat. I was fat because I was unhappy.
And there is no such thing as perfect.
If I hadn’t dealt with the underlying reasons, I would not have made it here. I am not talking about the weight loss. Anybody can lose weight. Eat less. There you go. I’m talking about losing weight and getting healthy in body and mind. Changing my whole way of looking at the world. Not undereating. Not punishing myself. Respecting myself. Accepting that the whole world isn’t my responsibility and I didn’t deserve the guilt I imposed on myself for so long over situations beyond my control.
Getting fit is wonderful. I no longer think of myself as separate from my body. I see now that the “self” is a part of the thing we call the body. And the “self” is very much tied to our physical health and wellbeing. But simply losing pounds won’t heal your body. I think it’s a combination of feeding yourself with nourishing food and moving your body the way it was designed to be moved. It truly changes you from the inside out. But it doesn’t make the fairy tale ending.
You write the ending yourself.