What Happened When I Gave Up Hating My Body
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I hated my body!
Would you believe me if I told you that there was a time that I literally hated my body? Let’s just say if I could describe my relationship with it at the time, I’d say it was rocky at best and filled with contempt, thanks to my constant self-loathing.
Can’t I Just Look Like Her?
I worked out and dieted…Why couldn’t I look like that girl on the fitness magazine cover? It’s so terrible to admit that there were times I would look with envy at these girls in the magazines and dream of one day having a body like hers. I mean, if I ate like her and did the workouts she promoted in the magazine, it was sure to happen…RIGHT?
I wanted it to happen in like 2 days and I wanted something I was never going to achieve. Here’s why…I am NOT her. That was something I had to come to terms with. Everyone is different, we have different goals, different body chemistry and genes and so much more. I was me and she was her and that is why I would never look like her. I had to be okay with that.
My Relationship With Food and Exercise Became a Punishment
I can remember looking into every diet imaginable and then turning in all into an obsession. If I ate that, I had to make sure I worked out extra hard to “burn it off”. I started to hate exercising and food and I were a little bit at war.
We had a love-hate relationship with food and exercise. I would restrict myself from so many “bad” foods that it would then binge at night on junk food and of course, I’d hate myself in the mornings. I’d wake up thinking it was time to get in my workout to punish myself for what I ate.
It even became a little “joke” in our house. “Oh, you know if you eat that, you’ll have to do extra push-ups”!??! Can I tell you how much that made my blood boil along with feeling guilty for even thinking about eating whatever it was I was about to eat?!
I hated myself for thinking that way. I hated my body even more because it didn’t look the way I felt it should look. It took me a while to realize it wasn’t about a look. Sure I felt if I looked different, I would feel better but that wasn’t really what I needed.
I Needed to Start Loving Myself
I needed to start loving myself from the inside, not the outside. I was a bit ugly on the inside because I was so busy hating my body on the outside. I noticed that the more I obsessed over my body, the less I was taking care of everything else in life.
I felt like it was a constant “before” picture where there was never an after or end in sight to what I was seeing or feeling. What I needed to realize was that I was NOT loving myself at the moment. See, if you can’t love yourself right now, with who you are, then you will not find that happiness you are looking for in an “after” photo or anywhere else.
I had to love myself right then and there while working on becoming the best version of myself. AND I had to realize that the best version was NOT in size or number on the scale. It had to come from the inside.
As I started that little journey on loving myself more each day, I began to notice a few things…
The More I Started Loving Myself, the Less I Focused on the Emotional Eating Part
I would pretty much hate myself into an emotional eating binge. This would mostly happen at night when everyone was sleeping and then I would feel the guilt in the morning. They would ask what happened to all of the ” such and such” ( which was whatever I dove into the night before).
I had to find an outlet when it came to me not even caring what I was putting in my mouth. There was something deeper that was sending me into the kitchen at night and even though I wasn’t quite sure what it was, I knew I had to find a way to cope with it or I would forever have those negative feelings.
I felt I wasn’t respecting my body by aimlessly shoving food into my mouth. Whenever I got the urge, I would redirect my thoughts into something positive. It seemed to work and the more I was able to cope that way, the less I felt the need to sneak in those late night binges.
I Had to Realize that Food Was NOT the Enemy
Oh, I would count all the numbers and measure all the shit until my brain was hurting. Logging my food intake, making sure I wasn’t eating the “wrong” stuff and if I did, I was upset with myself. What the hell was that doing to me? Making me crazy is what it did.
I had to switch up my mindset and look at food as nourishment NOT the enemy. Food is my fuel, it’s what keeps me going. It was like I had no control over it when I was counting and measuring.. and I’d look at myself in the mirror and think, I’m NEVER going to lose any weight.
That wasn’t a mind frame I wanted to stay in, so I practiced eating with intention and awareness, which eventually allowed me to eat whatever I wanted in portions that supported my weight loss.
Don’t get me wrong, I still slip up on some days, but I now know what to do to return to a place of balance, nourishment, and calm.
Exercise Started to Bring Back Joy Again
I can remember how working out was like a punishment to what I had eaten. I would work out to burn off something I ate that I “shouldn’t have” and I just began to hate it. The more I hated to work out, the more I would look at my body and hate the way it WASN’T changing from working out.
I’m sure it was, in ways, I just couldn’t visibly see. I was too focused on how I thought I should be looking in certain areas from all the workouts I was doing. I remember doing workouts and feeling my”fat” juggle and I would cuss myself out silently.
It wasn’t until I took a moment to step back and realize that I WAS actually getting stronger and I WAS actually building up a little muscle. That’s when I realized that exercise was not going to be about weight loss or about my body having to look a certain way. I was going to love my body for what it allowed me to do.
Exercise was making me strong, confident and HEALTHY! I was just refusing to see it before. I found it fun again and I started to challenge my strength and saw a LOT of improvement there. That started to be my goal…strength, and confidence. It wasn’t about a look anymore.
I Started to Focus on the Journey NOT the Outcome
Having struggled with my body image for so long, the thought of ever liking or even loving myself felt impossible. It felt so out of reach that for a long time, I just didn’t do anything. I was too focused on what I thought the outcome should be.
I had to realize that it was so much more about WHO I became on this journey. I eventually decided to focus on taking one step at a time, one day at a time, and focus on the process. I had to stop looking at things from where I “thought” I should be with things.
Instead of stressing over how I would get to my end goal, I gave my attention to how I could get healthier one healthier choice at a time, how I could get stronger one workout at a time, and how I could love myself more, one nurturing thought at a time.
Baby steps became my priority. I focused on the progress and who I was becoming along the way and let go of trying to be perfect. And you know what? It worked.
After reading this you may see a lot of what I went through and still go through, in yourself. I want you to know that you are not alone. It’s my goal to help others that have gone down or are on this path by sharing my story.
It’s time to make amends with yourself and your body. Put in the effort to learn to love yourself again.
It may not happen overnight. But, I can promise you that after some time and a lot of self-care, you’ll start to see a new kind of relationship with your body. You will begin to love parts of your body that you have never truly looked at before. You’ll learn how to appreciate the things your body can do for you.
Feeling more confident within yourself and your being may feel a bit awkward for you at first. Allow yourself to LOVE YOU! Let the relationship develop.
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