How often do we hear that? How often do we say it?
Do we recognize it for the poison that it is?
I looked at myself in the mirror today. Nothing special, I look at myself in the mirror a lot. But I did so today, with mind slightly cloudy still from obnoxious nausea causing meds with a purpose. To evaluate my body. To see it as it is. Right Now. Not what it was like before, not what I’d like it to be like, not what I think it is… But for what it truly is. A pair of tits, a reemerging belly, and jiggly thighs looked back at me.
What is special about today is that I *can’t* physically do anything about it. I’m still recovering from the extractions, and even the stairs exhaust me. I tire easily, I have a constant headache, and I can’t remember the last time I ate food that couldn’t be sucked through a straw (which, of course, I’m not allowed to do).
But between this and that, looking at myself and really seeing myself got me thinking a bit. Now, this isn’t much of a revelation for me, I’ve had these thoughts before, but simply not necessarily strung together coherently enough to make a point with them.
The sentence “I hate my body” is poison. It ruins all chances of long-term success in the nutrition and fitness departments.
Just like guilt after a cheat or binge starts a spiral effect that can destroy a diet’s chance of success, so does the self-sabotage of hate of self.
Here’s what you’re saying with those 4 simple words:
Now, seriously, is that the case? Because, certainly, as we more and more dislike something, we spend less and less time on it. Tee chick who hates her hair eventually gives up entirely and goes with a ponytail and hat, right?
So why would we do this to ourselves? Why send this damaging message to ourselves just because we have a bit more fat on our frames than we’d like to have?
There were a lot of factors that lead up to me finally having that little epiphany that started me down the road of health and fitness. One of the bigger ones was a shopping trip. I bought clothes. Not “giving up” clothes or clothes I wish I could fit into. Not something “temporary” until I lost weight. I bought some nice, flattering clothes. Not cheap crap, not used crap, not crap you find in the “women’s” (read: fat chick’s) department at Sears… Real clothes. And after that, I looked good.
I could look in the mirror and see a woman who looked good. She might have been fat, but she looked good. Fat or thin doesn’t matter. We are what we are, but we can control how we look, how we see ourselves, how we feel about ourselves. We can choose to be people who look good. We can take the time to actually care about ourselves and our appearance. Most importantly, we can be people who can accept ourselves for who and what we are.
And that allowed me to realize I was worth taking care of and changing.
THAT is what the whole “accept yourself” thing is all about. It doesn’t mean sit on your ass accepting that you’ll always be fat and out of shape. It means accepting that you are that way now, but you’re not a bad person because of it. You can change the way you look, but you really must first change the way you feel. Waiting till you’re thin or fit or whatever to be ok with yourself is a kind of denial. You’re in denial about what you are at the moment. You are in denial about the kind of person you are.
Because you hate yourself, because you carry the guilt and loathing, you’re attached to the fat more than it’s attached to you. You give your fat power over you, because you’ve given it power over your self-image, and then your self-esteem. You don’t find yourself worth caring about because you’re fat.
Would you stop caring about your spouse, kids, parents, or friends because of a few pounds? Then why do that to yourself? Why hold yourself down that way? Why give yourself reason to be angry and depressed? Isn’t that just going to make the changes harder?
Just like the guilt and feelings of failure can kill your diet after a single cheat; the depression, the self-loathing will sabotage you as you work to improve your overall health, fitness, and body.
I am, despite my current inability to hold my head up under my own power for more than a couple minutes at a time, a rather fit individual. Sure, I’m not perfect. Nowhere close. Don’t have the body I want. That doesn’t mean I have a bad body. It doesn’t mean I have to dress like a bum. It doesn’t mean I can’t be ok with who and what I am now and still strive for something “better.”
But it takes the lack of loathing to get there. Because, if you hate your body, you feel like a failure, and you will eventually fail. You have foreseen it, you have caused your own downfall, your failure becomes real. If you cannot envision that success, you simply cannot achieve it. You’ll find a way to skewer yourself and fail. You might get close, you might even make it to the “end”… but then what? Can you really go on?
Sure. If you’ve managed to change your self-image, self-esteem, and feelings about yourself. If you believe you are capable of success, are worthy of success; you have a much better chance at success. You will get there if you let yourself.
But we are always our own worst enemies, our own harshest critics. We see the flaws noone else sees, we have the doubts noone else does. We allow ourselves to to ravage ourselves because we often don’t realize we’re doing it. We don’t know we’re standing in our own way, we think it’s someone or something else. Genetics, how long we’ve been fat, our medicines, our families… all these things are what hold us back.
But they don’t.
We are all there is.
And we can either loathe ourselves or love ourselves.
And it makes all the difference.