Trigger Warning for some negative body talk
I recently got married (yay!!) and while gaining an incredibly wonderful husband, I also gained a super freaking cool sister-in-law, Rachel. This lady is nearing 40 and has a 5 year old son and 2 year old twins. Though she is actually closer to my mother’s age than my own, she is one of my best friends and role models. She is very trim, at least to me and I am …. not as trim. But she is one of the few people smaller than me that I feel comfortable around. Do you know that feeling? Like, I shouldn’t bend over or do anything unseemly around him/her, they might see my rolls, or my butt crack, or heaven forbid my cellulite. Not Rachel. She is one of the best female complimenters I know. She is so quick to say “You look great today!”, “I love your blouse/lipstick/hair/whatever”, “You have such a cute form”, “You are beautiful!”, “I wish I had your bathing suit!” and all sorts of other wonderful, genuine things that make me think “Hey yeah, I do rock!” and never is weight or clothing size mentioned.
Recently she shared with me that 12 years ago, she was a teeny bit smaller than she was now and fell really, deathly ill. The thing that plagued her was some sort of intestinal mystery, one that baffled doctors and eventually put her in the hospital for a month plus. During this time, she was so sick every day that she could not eat. She went some insane number of days with no real food. She shared with me the horror of watching her body basically eat itself to try to stay alive. She had no way to stop it. After weeks of agony, she was finally released from the hospital. She shared how scared she was to eat - right before she was hospitalized, food was what triggered intense intestinal pain. Her doctor actually instructed her husband to take her on a cruise and make her eat at the buffets constantly. And my brave sister in law did! She gained back her weight. And a little extra. After all that, she told me she’d shared all that because she learned that “You need a skosh to live on.” You never know when you might get sick - yeah we all pray it never happens, but no one knows what tomorrow holds. She told me that being “model thin” was actually rather dangerous (and to all the thin girls out there, this is no judgment on you, I promise). This was actually revolutionary to me. I have heard many heartfelt professions of love for fat, but here was something factual: having 0% body fat is bad in case of an emergency. And I am ALL about being prepared. But really, what a thought: fat is GOOD. It HELPS. It is OKAY and maybe even INTENTIONALLY DESIGNED.
I have struggled for years to find peace with my body, much less love it. Though this does not put me at total acceptance or love, it changes things. It makes me smile at my love handles and try to guess how long they could help me last. Maybe that’s sick? I don’t think so. Just another way at looking at parts of my good, okay, intentionally designed body. I know that loving your body is a journey, and I hope that you’ll carry this with you. Fat is not bad, friend.
BE BRAVE! JOIN THE BODY PEACE REVOLUTION!