I was still trying to hold on to my eating disorder in more ways than I was comfortable to admit to myself. I was still only eating certain foods.
I was still controlling my appetite up to a point where I was constantly hungry and I was still working out more than I probably should have or even really wanted to.
And why was I doing this? Well, I liked the size I wore back then. I liked my body the way it was. My stomach was still flat enough, my thighs and shape still small enough for me to really love my body.
I was scared of letting go of this one last pillar tying me to my ever-present self-control. I was scared that once I ate what I felt like eating, I’d suddenly stop being worthy, lovable and, well, satisfied with myself.
I was also engaging in the same thoughts when I was still heavily anorexic. I was thinking that I’d never be able to love my body once one couldn’t see my ribcage anymore. I was convinced that I couldn’t live, breathe or look in the mirror without the world seemingly going to end.
I believed I was going to be judged and thought less of once I lost this (what I then perceived as the only) “strength” of mine.
And so I held on to the vicious cycle of not eating enough, exercising too much and abusing laxatives. I succeeded in forming my body to society’s standards and as my world fell apart, brought myself to believe that I was going to be happy, successful and wealthy if only I lost even more weight. In other words, I bought into what the media had brainwashed me to do.
However, the deeper I fell, the more I saw that even though I wore a size 0 (or even smaller than that), nothing got better and instead everything got worse. My relationships, my dignity, my health, my integrity and so much more were on the brink of total destruction.
I had chased a dream of bodily perfection in order to silence my inner turmoil and had never realized that it was just an unrealistic, unattainable goal.
Which dreams are you holding on to when it comes to your body?
Are you naturally bigger and are starving yourself because you think this will bring you some form of self-acceptance?
Are you working out too hard and fight your body’s natural shape in the hopes of finding self-love and self-worth? Are you engaging in other forms of getting rid of the food you consumed in order to fulfill a societal standard that only 2% of all the women worldwide are able to live up to?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about working out and eating healthily, but there comes a point when we have to accept that if we want to function properly, have enough energy, be able to think and perform, we need to let go of this quest for perfection when it comes to physical appearance.
We need to let go of the lie that by losing pounds, we’ll gain self-worth.
We need to let go of the belief that by shaping our bodies a certain way, we’ll feel better, empowered and self-loved.
For me, the realization that I would survive possibly gaining a bit more weight when it would give me a lot more personal freedom was incredible. I suddenly knew that I would survive wearing a bigger size, being just as beautiful as I was before, if I could eat fries or pizza every once in a while and skip going to the gym whenever I didn’t feel like going.
Now, a few months later I can tell you that not only did I survive being more relaxed about my body, my quality of living has improved in ways that is hard to describe.
I did not lose my love for my body, but found an even more intimate one.
I did not lose my self-worth, but built upon the one I already had.
I did not face social rejection, but made more friends than ever before.
And my weight settled in a natural setpoint range and so will yours, if you only let it.
Be active. Be healthy.
But stop going after a bodily ideal that you can’t achieve or only if you’ll do damage or harm to yourself.
A bodily idea that will never ever ever bring you happiness, fulfillment and self-worth.
No matter how many people in the news, in the magazines or even here on social media are trying to tell you.
I want to hear from you: Are you chasing the dream that if only you got rid of more pounds, you’d finally be in love with yourself? Are you hurting yourself because you believe that’s the only way to be accepted? Or are you completely free from all these self-doubts and at peace with your appearance?
P.S. If all this sounds very familiar to you, then subscribe to the Body Image Revolution Early Bird Newsletter for tons of body image empowerment tips!