DEAR BODY || First, I want to express how bad of a companion I have been to you over the years. I have taken you for granted. I have always expected and taken from your generous love for me and have been sooooo poor in reciprocating the same towards you.
I can't tell when I started to loose focus and respect for you but I remember a moment when I was around 11 years old. Nabisco had released a new brand of treats, Snackwells, and they advertised it as low-fat and fat-free. Prior to that advertisement, I had no ill feelings towards you. I remember being able to eat a cheese danish at anytime and I never thought once about how you would feel about me BUT something happened. Those words "low-fat" and "fat-free" whispered in my ear that everything I was eating was going to make me fat. I remember becoming more aware of my stomach and me suddenly looking like an inverted upside down question mark when I looked at my profile in the mirror. Why did I suddenly feel so uncomfortable wearing shorts? My mom...she has the most amazing legs....and since I'm her daughter, I inherited them, right? But I began to cover them. Once they were covered, I began to notice my thighs...how did they get so big? Why are they suddenly touching when I walk?
When I was going to my ballet classes, I noticed that I looked clunky leaping to get high above the ground. Why did the other girls look like tissues being tossed in the air and gracefully descending? And OH MY GOODNESS, why did my boobs bounce up and down? The other girls’ boobs seem to stay in place…it made them look more proportioned…they looked so much more prettier when they danced. BODY, I became so frustrated with you that I decided to fight with you. Those late night exercise equipment infomercials said to eat less. So guess what? That’s what I did! I heard the radio say that pasta was linked to causing cancer…so pasta was really bad for me! No pasta. While I was at it….no bread and no potatoes…I’ll eat a yogurt BUT only 2 bites…because I have to eat less so I can look like my other dancer friends!
I started looking at you daily in the mirror…mainly my stomach. Years past and I’m now in college. I’m still looking at you in the mirror. I did forgive you for a little bit. Freshman and Sophomore year was fun! Unlimited granola cereal, late night eating with friends, and those DIY Belgian waffles. One day, I visited my parents. My mom and I were walking in the mall. She made a comment about me about considering going to the gym. I think she was concerned for my health but I took it as “I’m fat” and sooooo….I decided to be angry with you again! I was so angry that not only did I stop eating but I got my hands on some diet pills. I WAS GOING TO WIN THIS ARGUMENT. Those pills did wonders! I had so much energy and I didn’t even need to eat.
BUT then…. I found out I was pregnant. I got distracted with this life changing responsibility that I forgot why I was arguing with you.
I wanted to be your friend again after having Jazz! I was a size 0 about four months after having her!!!! I was skinnier then before I was pregnant. But after having Zyphe, I thought you didn’t want to be my friend again. After 2 months post partum, I wasn’t looking like a size 0. I did what I normally do with you….I stopped eating again despite the fact that I was breastfeeding him. AND after having Audrey….well, you really wanted me to despise you! I had to run on the treadmill for days at a time, to get me down to a decent size 4….still refusing to feed you.
TWENTIES to EARLY THIRTIES
Myspace, Facebook, Instagram….so many beautiful women with the most amazing bodies. I’m working out 4x’s a week. I’m lifting weights now and my cardio game is strong. I bet you like the added muscle. BUT why don’t I look like the ladies I see on Instagram? I’m working out for you. Why aren’t you giving me those cut arms, perky butt, small waist, and a 6-pack. I’m feeding you more. Isn’t that what you wanted? Perhaps I should choose my food wisely. I’ll feed you all bland food and I won’t eat any sweets. That what all those ladies are doing on Instagram.
WEEKS, MONTHS, YEARS pass- BODY, I’ve eaten low carb, high protein, I’ve gone vegetarian, I went semi-paleo, I’ve restricted myself from my chocolate, peanut butter, and cakes, I’ve even faced my fears with fat and did keto…still no cut arms, perky butt, small waist, or 6-pack. You absolutely despise me, don’t you?
I had this breakdown at the age of 33. It was that kind of breakdown you see in those sappy romance movies where the gal sobs so hard that her head jerks back and forces her mouth to be wide open but frowning. She is curled in the corner just feeling like her life means nothing....SHE is nothing! I looked at you in the mirror (as I normally do on the daily) and I cried like I lost a family member. Really though, it was I who I lost completely. I felt trapped and frustrated. My husband came to the room to hug me and reminded me of how beautiful I was but I only just heard words. After 2 days, I came to a revelation. I thought about myself 10 years out and feeling the same way I have been. The thought saddened me. It was not a life I wanted to continue for myself. It felt lonely. It felt empty. It felt that nothing would ever be enough for me to love you. It was at that moment that I realized that you weren’t doing ANYTHING to me. If at all…it was you who continued to hold me up all through these years despite the torture I put you through.
BODY, you held me up through everything. It was my selfishness that consumed me. You used every ounce of reserved energy to allow me to dance. You kept me strong as I was carrying and birthing my 3 kids. You allowed me to nourish my children when I wanted to breastfeed them. Day in and day out, you held me up by my two feet to live out my busy life. When I had my breakdown, you helped me lift my arms to hold my husband as he consoled me. When my breakdown was over, you allowed my legs (my imperfectly perfect legs) to lift me off from the corner of my bed, to walk to the bathroom and gather myself.
BODY please know that I am truly sorry for how I have treated you. I know my actions have been very volatile and despite you feeling weak (many times) you still continued to keep me moving. I am working on seeing a picture of my current perfection. I am learning to stop looking in the mirror to look for that flat stomach. I am learning to now look in the mirror and admire those big thighs, "not-so-lifted" boobs, plump butt, broad shoulders, thick arms, and a soft mid-section. I work out to keep you healthy BUT most important, to keep me mentally healthy. I am now feeding you…A LOT now a days. I will admit that my past unhealthy eating habits does cause occasional episodes of binging but I no longer beat myself up. I use those extra calories to fuel my workouts and listen to you when you need to be better fed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I am at a healthy weight. I don't have any medical conditions and aside from my asthma, I'm not on any medications. IT IS ME and my fear of food, the life source to keep you alive, that is sick.
Today, I place my hand to my heart and make a vow to take better care of you and I have asked our friend, MIND, to help me through when I have my moments of weakness. Know that I am learning to love myself and you. I know that there is a reason for keeping this “fat” that I had despised before. I know that I am eating much healthier and more balanced now that you feel better. Thank you for loving me for all my imperfections. Thank you for lifting me up when I didn’t deserve it. Thank you for keeping strong when I couldn’t for myself. Please accept my apology, please accept my acceptance of me!