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For far too long I was held back by the idea that my life would not start until I lost weight. I was sure I would be happier if my body changed, I was certain that happiness was this magical thing that only people with abs and perfect complexions experienced. I was seriously misguided.
At some point several years ago I started observing my behavior and how often I thought about my body during the day (I say “at some point”, but what I really mean is after a long time in therapy with a lot of prompting from a trained professional. Trust me, my stubborn ass was not just going to suddenly become super reflective about the way I lived, I was totally comfortable thinking I had it all figured out and being miserable.) and to my surprise it was very very often. I mean, all the fucking time. When I got dressed (of course), when I took a shower, when I walked out to get the mail, when I went out to eat (when I ate at all), when I met a new person, when I had sex, when deciding if I should walk or drive somewhere, when getting my hair done, seriously all the time. I thought things like “does my cellulite show in this?”, “i can’t go on trips because i don’t fit in airplane seats”, “I don’t want to go to yoga everyone will think I’m breathing too loud”, and “i hope he turns the lights off so he doesn’t see my stretch marks”.
The thing I realized was that I was saying “no” to a lot of things I wanted. My decisions were based in the fear that my body was not “good”. I had been so hyper aware of my body for so long that I started letting the shame I felt around my fat body hold me back. I felt safe when I said “no” because I wouldn’t be forced to think about my body more than I had to, which is reasonable because damn these thoughts about my body were pretty consuming!
So what changed? I started asking myself very simply “do you want to do that?”.
It was really hard at first. Someone would say “come to yoga with me tomorrow!” and my thoughts would go something like “that sounds fun! No, I don’t even have yoga pants that fit me. What if my stomach grumbles cause I’m hungry? What if I can’t do the poses? I need to lose weight. Will any other fat people be there?”. That’s a lot to think about before even thinking “am I available tomorrow?”!!!
Slowly, I began saying “maybe” and then my “maybe” turned into “yes”. I even started to plan for “yes”. I bought a bathing suit just in case I might want to go swimming.. I wore cute lingerie in case we kept the lights on. I let myself get excited about meeting new people. I ate… in public.
When asked if I want to do something I’m now able to answer with facts, instead of fear. I’m not waiting to do the things I want anymore. I do what I want with a reasonable amount of regard for my body. I balance my thoughts about my abilities and my desires. I am experiencing my life, and it turns out… that makes me pretty happy.