This post has been a long time coming. Both on the blog and in my life. It makes me nervous, because in writing this I am letting a whole part of my self fall away; in cutting out an aspect of identity there is left negative space. This can feel like you’ve missed a step on a staircase. Or you have been pushed out of an aircraft sans parachute. But that’s ok – it has been a long journey to get me to this point, and I am not afraid of sharing it with you all. And when we have space in our lives, there is endless opportunity for new. Which is life.
In August this year I made myself a promise. It was time to make peace with my body. I threw away my scales, my measuring tape and my body checking. I threw away all my clothes from when I was at my smallest. I deleted all the gym selfies from my instagram, and all of the “progress” shots from my phone. Basically, I wanted no point of reference any more of a time when I was smaller, or larger. I just wanted to stop looking in mirrors and telling myself that I was “too fat”, and “not doing enough”.
Easy to say, insanely hard to do. I was attempting to undo twelve years of being told to lose weight and “tone up”.
So I began to relax into eating well; healthily, because I feel better that way, but no longer skipping meals, and no longer restricting volume. I let go of any attempt to diet, and stopped having foods that were “bad” or “good”. I stopped allowing guilt to exist, and I stopped hard workouts altogether. Working out became something to make me stronger, not something to diminish me. I was going to give my brain and body a chance to exist on the same page for once.
They did not want to.
I cannot tell you how many times I went to bed with my head whirling – trying to get me to latch onto how much I ate at dinner, or during the day, or trying to convince myself to change my diet, start training hard again, start tracking my size, just start doing more. It felt like two steps forward, one and three quarters step back.
Then I went on set and worked with a person who is much wiser than me. He has worked with me monthly since I was 21, has known me through all walks of my early adulthood, and he listened to me berate myself for an entire day. I was making excuses and trying to say that I will work harder and the next time he saw me I would be smaller. He looked at me, and said, “You realize that everything you say, you become? In life we have the ego path, the easy, shady path, and the right, harder, harsher way.” It stopped me in my tracks. It makes sense, and I had heard it said before (and believed it cognitively), but at that point in time I was finally completely ready to hear it.
And that was it. I looked at my life, and I realized through obsessing over my body I was selecting the easy path. I was choosing to focus on externality, and ignoring the larger picture. I was choosing the ego path.
From that point on, I said no to anything negative and body related. If body talk came up with friends, I shut it down and refused to engage. If I felt the need to look in a mirror, I read a book instead. When I was ordering food for dinner, I ordered what I wanted. And strangely enough – the need to gorge myself is slowly fading away. I was ok with being done when I was full. When food isn’t a scarcity we stop feeling so desperate around it. But most importantly, when I saw my body reflected back at me, I said nice things to myself. I chose to empower my self.
Because the fact is, life is way too short to be focused on the exterior. Time spent worrying about your size is time wasted. There are far bigger fish to fry in the world than your thigh size. There are so many better uses for your brain.
There is a life to be lived. We have so much to offer to the world – every single one of us – and we get missed when we get caught up in egotistical pursuits. I never realized how much time and energy I would spend on dieting. I am much freer now, and it is a fantastic feeling. I wish I had discovered it sooner – but late is better than never.
I hope this resonates with at least some of you. Because here’s the best part.
I have gained weight. And I do not give a fuck about it. My life is so much more than my jean size. And every day when that voice in my head tries to tell me I am worthless, it gets a little easier to shut it down. I am setting myself free slowly.
Peace and love,