Peace is better than chocolate

Grrr. I really thought I was smarter, braver and more empowered than that…

Something has shifted in me recently. I’m peaceful. I don’t hate my body. I can see that it’s not any smaller than it was 2 weeks ago. But I can also see that it’s pretty sexy. Beautiful.

Don’t get me wrong. It still looks big to me. Not grotesquely fat anymore. But chubby maybe? Soft? Smushy? Anyway, not the body I had that I loved. Because for a while there I was in love with my body. And proud of it. Not proud of myself for having that body. Proud of my body for managing to withstand 28 years of abuse and still end up gorgeous. I mean guh-ore-juh-us! (Good work, body!)

The honest-to-God-truth is that I still think this body is temporary. And that I want it to be temporary. But as long as it is temporary, I can allow that it is beautiful in its way. That being soft and womanly has some appeal. Though I don’t know what I would do if it turned out to be a permanent change. For example, would I start eating my vegetables steamed instead of sautéed in butter and olive oil? I don’t know. I love food. But do I love it as much as my size 6 body?

But when I ask myself what is so important about being a size 6, I do not like my answer. Because it seems I have bought into the image that I hate. I have taken on the impossible ideal. I am judging myself against bodies that don’t exist. It seems I am comparing myself to pictures of already thin women, Photoshopped to make them look even thinner and more symmetrical. As if they live without internal organs. Like their skin doesn’t pucker under a strap or a band. As if they are made of marble. And I am fascinated by how this could have happened! To me! I have been actively trying to avoid this kind of faulty concept of my own beauty. I don’t watch TV or go to the movies. I don’t read magazines. I spend my time with real human beings in real bodies. On the street and the subway. In shops and restaurants. I know what actual, real bodies look like. And yet somehow I am not seeing myself as a regular body in a sea of regular bodies. I am seeing myself as compared to underwear models as they appear in ads! Dammit!

It’s funny that when I was growing up, most of the beautiful women in movies and on TV were a size 8, the size I am now. And I was morbidly obese. Now famous women are 0s and 2s, and size 8 is considered overweight in movies and on TV. (Ok. It’s not that funny…)

And the other thing I don’t like is who I want to be a size 6 for. I am active and healthy and I have powerful integrity. In life and around my food. Who do I owe being 24 lbs thinner to? Some man I haven’t even met yet who would like me because I’m beautiful, smart, funny, sexy, have a profound relationship to my word, and being with me makes him happy, if only I were 24 lbs thinner?

The hardest part is that there is a little voice in my head that says, “Yes. That guy. So you’d better lose those 24 lbs before he shows up.”

I don’t know what to do about any of this. I don’t know if there is anything to do. But I feel like it’s important to note that I can have this philosophical discussion with myself because my self-hatred has lifted. I was paralyzed with my own irrational thinking. And I don’t know what changed. Perhaps my metabolism has started back up again. Or perhaps it’s hormonal. The one thing I will say is that I am so grateful that through that particularly long and difficult attack of body dismorphia, I kept my food boundaries and did not eat sugar. If I had, I am quite sure I would not have been able to get through such a dark period and find some peace. Here’s hoping it lasts!

So I’m curious. Tell me about your relationship with your body and body image. How much thinner “should” you be and what would you have if you were?

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2 thoughts on “Grrr. I really thought I was smarter, braver and more empowered than that…

  1. Tracy A on said:

    I LOVE this entry!!! You are so awesome! I can relate to so much of this. My body image has always been crap. I went from size 22 to size 8 and still hated my body. So I have no words of wisdom. Sorry. It’s something I will always struggle with. But the one progress I’ve made is I know longer strive to achieve a certain size for anyone else! That’s been huge progress for me. Still a work in progress. ALWAYS a work in progress!

  2. Thanks for the kind words. Body image issues will probably be a part of my life forever too. But I am hoping to make them more irksome and less devastating.

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