If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen my occasional gym posts or humble brags about weight loss. Every time I post these I am wracked with anxiety and guilt (surprise!), so I wanted to take some time to touch on loving yourself, weight loss, diet culture, and fat shaming (This post isn’t particularly political, so take a deep breath and keep reading).
It’s really not a big secret that we are done having kids. Becoming pregnant and having a baby are literally the worst possible thing that I could do for myself and my family, so we decided long ago that it was off the table. Our family is complete and our hearts are full. Related: please don’t ask “what about when you die?” because I am one more of any iteration of that question away from losing. my. shit. on someone. At my annual appointment earlier this year, I told my doctor that I would like to explore my options for sterilization, and she gave me the answer that I figured I would get: she would be happy to do it but I had to bring my BMI down nine points; I had to lose 65 lbs.
I had tried to lose weight previously with little success. But this time was different. This time I no longer looked at myself and my body with disgust and pity. I have the gall to look a fat-hating society in the eye and say FUCK YOU and accept myself where I was and where I am now. I truly believe that this is the key to successful fitness and weight loss journeys, but also – and more importantly – to a happy life. Nothing is truly accomplished by hating ourselves and treating ourselves with resentment. Truthfully, I was awesome 35 pounds ago, I am awesome now, and I will be awesome when I lose 30 more pounds because the awesomeness of no person is dependent upon their weight.
That is the thing that keeps me up at night when it comes to sharing my weight loss and fitness journey with the world: I am not losing weight because I hate myself or feel any measure of disgust or disappointment with myself, and I don’t want anyone, especially another person who is my size, to feel that they must lose weight to love themselves. The number on the scale does not any way indicate the amount of love and respect that we deserve. Being thin (or pretty, or looking any certain way) is not the tax that we pay society to exist in this world. We are allowed to take up space in every way: physically, emotionally, verbally. It is not our job to shrink ourselves in any capacity to comfort shitty and unrealistic social “standards.” So much of the current diet culture is rooted in preying upon people and their insecurities. “If only you lost some weight and looked like this, you could maybe start to be okay with yourself.” What a an ass-backwards way of doing things, and what a colossal lie we are being told.
You have permission and the right to love yourself right now, wherever you are, however much you weigh, whatever your dress size. You don’t need to change a damn thing to be good to yourself.
So far, my journey has been successful. I’ve lost 35 lbs and my BMI is down five points. I decided that this was not going to be a journey loaded with anxiety and guilt. I still eat donuts and cheeseburgers because I believe that, short of medical indications, there are no bad foods. I prioritize health over fitness and I don’t beat myself up if I go “too long” without a visit to the gym. But long before all of that, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to wait one more second to love myself and give myself the same compassion that I give to others.
And you shouldn’t either.