I remember the first time I heard of this while attending UND. I just laughed.
“Me? Love this?! Umm… OK. Let me get back to you.”
You see, I lost 130 pounds, and although a very large part of me has gone away (literally)… I still have a lot of reminders of my former self.
My skin hangs. And stretches. And it’s covered in stripes that used to be red, angrily declaring that my skin was being asked to take on more than it was capable, and are now (thankfully) a flesh color.
It’s not pretty, and most days it doesn’t make me proud.
At times I happily claim it as my “weight loss trophy.” But then there are those times when I’m with people who don’t know my story… and all I can think about is the possibility that they might think that I have really odd-shaped rolls and a very “unkempt” body.
The truth is that I go to the gym most days of the week. Exercise is such a great release and escape for me. Make no mistake- I work out! And for years people told me that if I lifted weights and did sit-ups they were SURE my skin would “bounce back.”
Well… I tried that… and it didn’t.
Option 2 was surgery to remove the excess skin. It’s a very dangerous procedure, and the thought of them slicing and dicing, and then stitching me back together like a rag doll is extremely nerve-wracking.
So. Here I sit. With my loose skin.
About a year ago, I made a conscious decision to quit weighing myself. It had become a way for me to determine my mood and the kind of day I was going to have. If the number was up, it was going to be a bad day. If the number was down, I allowed myself happiness (and an extra marshmallow or two).
I wanted to stop doing that to myself. I wanted to feel “normal.” I wanted to feel FEELINGS.
It was really hard at first, but a year later I feel much more confident in my abilities to make healthy decisions (without an electronic device as my moral compass and guide). My clothes fit just as good as they did a year ago. (In fact, I probably wear them more confidently not having to worry about the number of pounds that they are encasing.)
One of the most important changes I’m working on now is learning to Love My Body. ALL of it: accepting my “flaws” as unique bits of beauty; exercising because it feels good and gives me strength, not because I saw a bigger number than I was comfortable with and need to try harder; eating healthy foods because they taste good, not because I “screwed up” the day before; looking in the mirror and smiling at what I see.
Pardon the cliche, but life is really short. I’m 27 and often wonder when that happened (and you will figure this out the older you get, too!).
I’ve spent far too long dwelling in the negative, forgetting to appreciate what I have and what my body does for me. The truth is, it’s been awfully good to me.
How about you? Do you want to cut yourself some slack and Love Your Body? Do you make healthy choices because you Love Your Body?