(I posted here a couple of years ago, when I was in the depths of my eating disorder and beginning to slowly crawl my way out of that hell, today I am posting as someone who considers themself healed and well. It is wonderful. Never lose faith.)
For years I have spent so much energy and time hating my body. Through therapy, self-compassion and an eating disorder support group I have finally healed.
A few weeks ago I jumped on my turbo trainer (my bicycle hooked up to a stationary trainer). I hit the 30 minute or so mark and looked down at my legs as I stood up. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. I literally became overwhelmed with this insane feeling that I couldn’t describe. I just kept looking at them, marvelling them, taking them in. Then it dawned on me. I was looking at my legs with genuine pride and happiness, I was looking at my legs and admiring them. I was looking at my legs and it suddenly hit me, I was looking at them with love. I love my legs. Right there in that moment, looking down at my thighs pumping away on those pedals I realised how much I adore my legs.
They are nowhere near as toned or fit as they were when I was regularly cycling, but that doesn’t matter. They are not as thin as they were two years ago, but that doesn’t matter. Right now. How they are. Right in this moment. I love them. And after taking some sweaty selfies in the mirror I can honestly say, that whilst there might be a bit of extra fluff around my midriff, whilst in these tight shorts I have love handles and perhaps my arms could do with a little toning. Despite all of that, I still love my body. Right now. As it is. No exceptions.
That night I concluded that it was moments like that which make recovery so damn worth it. Not to look down at my legs, see imperfections and want to bully them into a different shape. But to look down at my legs and literally tell them, out loud, that I love them.
Today, a few weeks later I decided to jump on the scales for the first time in about 6 months. Partly because I was feeling out of touch with my body, disconnected. Looking in the mirror it feels like a bit of an illusion at times. Some days I think I am ok, some days I look and feel like I am taking up SO much space. But most days I let those feelings go, tell my body I love it and go about my day because let’s be honest, it really doesn’t matter what it looks like.
I was nervous before stepping on the scales, I can’t believe I used to put myself through that every.damn.single.morning. I was convinced over the winter/Christmas/exam period I had put on a considerable amount of weight.
The last 6 months I have eaten what I want, when I want. I have by no means followed a meal plan or a specific diet. I spent 2-3 months almost completely sedentary because of university work. I’ve done exercise when I wanted to and not forced myself to do it for aesthetic reasons. It’s purely been for mood, energy and general feelings of wellness. Plus a break from uni work. I’ve eaten pizza, takeaways, roast dinners, cakes, salads, wholesome meals and I have gained a whopping ~3lbs.
I’ve noticed by body composition has changed. Yes I used to range between two sizes and now I am always in the top of those two. Yes I am a little bit fluffy, the muscles my body built through cycling have been hidden. But you know what? That is ok! When I look back over the last few months, not caring about my weight, listening to my body and eating and exercising as much or as little as I want has allowed me to pass my degree, develop emotionally and go through a whole lot of stuff in therapy. And ironically, the moment I stopped trying to maintain or control my weight and started living and listening to my body, it started doing it itself. Yes I have gained a couple of lbs but seriously? In my book that is maintaining. I could jump on the scales again tomorrow and it could increase or decrease by 2lbs. That’s fluctuation.
It’s times like these that I am SO glad I trust my body and know that I don’t need to manipulate or control it in order to live a wholesome life and develop in so many ways. I am SO glad that I am not fixated or obsessed on changing my body in huge ways.
I can accept my body as it is, maybe one day I’ll want to change it, and yes I am excited for how my body might feel after lots of cycling but that will be a side effect of doing something I love.
I don’t want to change a single thing about my beautifully imperfect body - you know how big and how awesome that is? To not wake up thinking about how my body is going to look one day? But actually appreciating how it looks today? How it functions today? What it does for me and what it helps me do?
It’s bloody wonderful.
Tam - learning—to-live—again.tumblr.com
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