This weekend I wore one of my favorite dresses. It is body con with rainbow stripes, and It makes me so happy. I proceeded to go to pick up the best donuts I have ever eaten in my life, and to no surprise sported my “food baby” in the form of belly bloat as I went about living my life. I ate lunch out with a friend I haven’t seen in far too long, I stopped at home and had a salad because I knew it would make my slight sugar headache feel better and then went out to have some drinks and socialize to end the night. I didn’t think twice about any of it. There have been times in the past few years where I would have put far more thought into the calories of that day. That mental headspace would take away from all the good, lovely events that made up my Saturday, which would be such a shame.
I’ve lost about 30% of my body weight in the past few years. I loved my curves prior to any of that, and I love my curves today. I’m not perfect and I’m sure looking back at my writing I’ve probably already said problematic things, but during my time slowly losing weight I never intentionally over-restricted. I self corrected my actions and mindset many times as I had interactions that I never prepared myself for and needed to protect myself against.
I counteract people’s problematic compliments of my weight loss with positive self talk about treating my body right and loving it at any size it settles in. I never hit my arbitrary goal weight, at least yet… who knows what my body will want to be as I continue to live my health conscious life. That doesn’t make me look less “good.”
I’m going to try and concentrate my rant a little, but I am going to make a potentially controversial statement: I don’t think people should comment on how they feel about other people’s weight no matter the size, even if the comment is “positive.” If you know them well, I’m sure you can confidently say they look happy and/or healthy when the weight loss is a side effect of good changes. I don’t see anything wrong with having a conversation about their lifestyle changes if both parties want to. That’s a good way to check in with loved ones and show you actually care about their well-being. People’s aesthetic preferences on the other hand should not be put on other people, and I need to stop there because I could go on and on.
I’m going to continue on with being controversial and say: I’ve intentionally lost weight and I am a supporter of body positivity in what it truly is. I do not think I was any less beautiful or worthy at any point in my life or with any number on the scale. Big is not what makes someone beautiful, skinny is not what makes someone beautiful… people are beautiful. According to BMI I’m still overweight and I consider myself fat, but neither of those things do I say in a negative headspace. Those are just facts to me. Nor do I think someone being “healthy”… if their weight happens to be a reflection of that… should change the way people view them. Physical health being a top priority in someone’s life does not make them more worthy of respect.
That being said, I was overweight because I used food as a coping mechanism, didn’t honor my body’s hunger cues, and didn’t take the nutrient density of food into account as much as I should have. Working on educating myself and working out my mental health and how it affected my diet had a SIDE EFFECT of weight loss. I’m not going to lie and say that I started my journey with this mindset, but I have grown in my health all around and have gotten to a place where I feel so strongly about this. We need to change as a society and stop looking at weight loss as a way to please other people, get respect, prove we are “good” and earn love.
My life has improved as I have lost weight and that statement is not contradictory to what I have already said. Social pressure and habits no longer dictate my diet and routine. When I am feeling down, I crave Blogilates. Getting on the mat and listening to Cassey’s positive words as my body releases feel good chemicals and recenters me on what matters in life. I feel the hard emotional stuff, without eating until I am in discomfort and that feeling is all I can think about. Respecting my emotions in the moment is hard, but I deal with them and the issues and in the long run I’m actually making progress with the hard stuff. I also have more energy now, and am so proud of my flexibility and strength gains. I am stronger in so many ways, including prioritizing and loving myself better than I did before. Most importantly, I still eat things like donuts on the occasion that my body and/or mind really wants one, and when I do I fully appreciate how amazing they taste and how much I truly craved it.
Losing weight didn’t erase my body insecurities. The people around me don’t love me more, and are not any more proud of me. The symptoms of extreme diet if anything would hurt them and in my moments of slip up probably did: food obsession, low energy, moodiness, guilt attached to certain foods, social isolation for diet reasons, body dysmorphia, decreased labido… and just the fact that hurting yourself hurts them. None of that is healthy and none of that is “good.”
So for today, I will end this rant here. I’ve been told many times at this point “you look good.” I’m one of the lucky ones because I happen to be good. I would argue most people who diet aren’t good, because to no fault of their own their diet ends one of two ways: they develop an eating disorder or they gain a bunch of weight back once they give themselves a little grace.
I’m here to say I hope you ARE good. No matter what size you are, you deserve all of life’s happiness. If your body is changing that’s okay, you can trust it is doing what It needs to do and is not lying to you when you are hungry or crave something a little more calorie dense. Your body has your best interests at heart and so far has supported you through this one life you get. It’s your only permanent home, and if you’re lucky has loved you unconditionally and stayed resilient even when you haven’t treated it right. So put in the work to create a healthy relationship with your body like you would with a significant other, because you have the body you’ve got, there is no breaking up with it and looking for a “better” one. Don’t worry though, you were made for each other.