A little note to self about self-love:
It’s been 6 years. 6 years since I thought eating less than 400 calories a day would make me a more competitive runner. 6 years since I carried a measly 98 pounds on my 5’6” frame. 6 years since I ruined almost every friendship and relationship in my life simply because I was afraid of what I’d have to eat.
I’ve come a long way. I put on weight, and then some. I took it off, I put a little back on. I shrank and I grew. I had good days and I had downright abysmal days. I had days where I wished I was a skeleton again, and I had days where I wondered how I ever ate so little. But the one constant? I still struggled to love myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve grown fond of certain parts of me over the years. I used to hate my legs, but now I marvel at their ability to run mile after mile after mile. Where I used to see vertebrae and scapulae, I now watch muscles contract and support my back.
But I still don’t like everything I see. Today, I had an epiphany.
The thing is, you can gain and lose all the weight in the world (and trust me, I’ve done my share of both), but there are going to be things you cannot change. No matter what size I was at, I always found myself knit-picking at the same details. But I realized today that a lot of those things I would scold in the mirror are things that will not ever go away. I cannot change the structure of my bones. My hips will always be this wide, my shoulders always this broad. I need to stop pulling and contorting the skin around my middle. No, I may not look like your slender, lean long-distance runner. But you know what? I am one. And how I look does not devalue what I am or what I have accomplished.
So I make this promise to myself on the 6th anniversary of the start of my ED: do not stress over what you cannot change.
You’ve come a long way, and you’ve made great progress. It is okay to want to improve yourself and your health. But it is not okay to hate your body and use that as motivation to change. So hug those hips that will one day carry your children. Praise your broad shoulders for being able to give those big hugs that your family and friends love so much. And be thankful for that little extra fat on your middle that comes from the food you are so fortunate to have.
And when you look in the mirror, focus more on what you cannot see. <3