I stared at the rainbow sea of fabrics that hung in my closet. What started off as a simple task in choosing what top I wanted to wear for the day turned into a hurricane of thoughts riding around my mind on reminiscent and dangerous memories.
Jumping out into my line of sight, like a fierce lion, was my 10 pounds ago denim shirt…and next to that was my 15 pounds ago black dress pants…and hanging beside that was my 30 pounds ago (and before kids) pair of button up (and somewhere between bell bottom and boot cut) jeans.
I realized my closet was a perfect reflection of my lifelong battle with weight. Before I savagely went through my closet and got rid of most of the items I knew I would never fit into again (and probably would never be in style again anyhow-haha), I had a real moment of clarity and certainty.
I was CERTAIN I never wanted to feel shameful about my weight.
I was CERTAIN I no longer wanted to have to go on a diet in order to lose weight.
I was CERTAIN I never ever wanted to attach my worth to what someone (anyone) else thought about me.
For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with weight. At my lightest, I still thought I wasn’t light enough. I still wanted to take up less space in this world. If I’m being honest, was weight really my struggle?
Or was it my need for self acceptance?
I have thought about that a lot and I’ve come to the conclusion that there was something else peeking in through my reality of simply wanting to lose weight. Yes, self acceptance was one reason, but I was also concerned with what others thought.
I was really concerned.
No, scratch that, I was MAJORLY concerned and EXCESSIVELY obsessed with what others thought.
There are tons and tons of labels you can slap on this type of mentality, but lets keep it light today. Let’s just banter over my journey to peace with my body
It Didn’t Happen Overnight
For years (decades actually) I brutally mistreated my body with thoughts of negativity like this:
- You can’t leave the house because of your size.
- They must not like you because you weigh more than you did a year ago.
- You can’t go to that event because you still haven’t lost all of your baby weight. What will people think?
- You can’t post that picture because your face looks a little chubby.
- You shouldn’t buy those pants because the size is bigger than all of your pants in your closet…just get the leggings (I would just like to insert a clause of empathy towards leggings…they ARE pants and they just might have saved my wardrobe a time or 10!)
- You cannot buy any clothes until you lose 10 pounds (rewarding myself with smaller clothes only fueled my obsession with self shame and ridicule).
- You could never dress trendy like her because you are bigger than she is.
- You’ll never get what you really desire because of your weight.
Gosh, sisters, do any of these sound familiar? Self mockery and shame were common negative warriors battling in my mind.
I attached much of my happiness to what I weighed. I was so conditional with the amount of self love I would give myself. It all depended on my weight.
I get a little emotional about how my thoughts bullied my body.
It didn’t happen overnight..and to speak the truth, it’s still happening right now. That moment in front of my closet happened about a year ago.
I have gone through one 8 week gym compulsive quest, one 20 week educational experience in a pretty supportive online fitness community, 501 zillion podcasts, numerous friends speaking truth into my life and a few fabulous books that supported even more truth into my journey to make peace with my body.
This isn’t who I am today.
Today I look in the mirror and use grace filled words towards myself. I do not restrict certain foods from my diet (this is so freeing, especially when you are out with friends and family… no one wants to be the one in the room punishing yourself and not eating).
I love shopping again (maybe too much haha) because I buy clothes that fit my body and I feel comfortable in my clothes. I don’t avoid posting pictures of myself. I don’t avoid mirrors anymore!
5 Tips that helped me make the change (and are still helping me make the change!)
So what helped me make the shift? What fueled my self love and grew my trust in myself?
Here are 5 specific tips on how to make peace with your body. These are things I did that catapulted my mindset from shame to grace, love and peace with my body!
#1 BANISH ALL THE NEGATIVE SELF TALK- Get rid of that negative self talk and the heartache you feel that has so many times lead to frustration, isolation and deep anxiety.
You don’t deserve to waste your time on feeling less than, no matter what size your are. Your identity is rooted in much more than your physical appearance.
#2 STOP ALWAYS THINKING AND TALKING ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT- Now this is harder than you think. I remember the first time I told myself I was going to be really intentional about this.
I didn’t realize how often it came up in everyday conversations.
I didn’t realize how much I talked and thought about it.
I felt a little disoriented. You might feel lost without this piece of kryptonite in your life. But, sister, it is so freeing. It is so liberating once you strip the shackles of this from your conversations!
#3 BUY CLOTHES THAT FIT- This might sound so simple, but like I said before, it’s dangerous to restrict yourself with new clothes that actually fit just because you gained weight.
And if it’s been more than 6 months or a year since you’ve gotten new clothes just prepare yourself to feel absolutely redeemed and rescued when you have a wardrobe that you can finally express yourself with.
Not boxing yourself in with society’s rules of what you “should” wear and freeing yourself with clothes you adore and love. Go get that bright striped dress and girlfriend!
YES, you can wear that skirt and those shorts you’ve had your eye on for so long!!
Here’s what I found out… The style I used to wear was a style created by others that hated their bodies as much as I used to! I found out I liked bright colors and striped tees and wedges…I love wedges again!!
#4 GET YOURSELF A GANG OF SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE- Where do I even start with this one?
Ok, first of all, go unfollow all the people on social media that make you feel less than.
Second, go follow a ton of people that exude your style, your body type and who are positively passionate about self love and being body positive!
Third, evaluate if there are people in your life (friends and family) that you may need to distance yourself from or maybe even put on time out for a bit (or forever).
I had to have some conversations with people I didn’t want to cut out, but the rest, I literally purified from my life. Again, it was freeing. I’m an adult and I had to get my heart right with a few people but the rest were chains that only fueled my self hate.
Here’s a little tip to know whether it’s time to let someone go from your life…Do you feel like you have to perform around them? Like you are putting on an act for them?
I allowed myself to be an adult and allowed myself to choose who I surrounded myself with and YOU CAN TOO!
#5 DO WHAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT- Now that you aren’t talking and constantly thinking about how much space your body takes up in this beautiful world, you can actually see how wonderful it is! What do I mean by this?
Well, once I began to shift my mindset, I realized I could focus at work and I could enjoy my family so much more. I realized there were some things I used to LOVE doing that I had stopped doing.
Maybe it was all the mental clutter I was allowing into my life or maybe it was all the anxiety I cleared from my life..either way, I figured out I loved writing and I missed reading.
I began picking books back up and this is when I actually started this blog!
You’ll Be There to Defend Yourself
It hasn’t been easy.
It’s been downright grueling at times.
Those ugly negative inner thoughts try to visit every now and again, but I’m finding it easier with time to send those thoughts packing.
Keep on moving!
I’ve got things to do, people to enjoy and goals to accomplish!! I know you are strong and I know you too can make peace with your body. It takes a whole lot of grace and trust.
Those thoughts will come on strong some days, but you’ll be there to defend yourself…After all, you’ve got a gorgeous life to live and you’ve got some fabulous memories to make!
Enjoy the process and feel how freeing it is to cease fire with yourself… Life is waiting for you pretty girl!