Monday, September 23, 2013

My body's nobody's body but mine

Yesterday, I attended a bridal shower for my cousin's lovely bride-to-be and while chatting with my aunts the conversation naturally turned to my upcoming nuptials. One aunt commented on how my mom had said she had lost 17 pounds and then asked how Mom had done it. I said Mom was just being more aware of what she was eating and then cracked a joke about how Mom was more concerned with losing weight before my wedding than I was.

But the thing is, it's not really a joke. I'm not stressed or panicked about losing weight for the wedding.

I had a dress fitting a few weeks ago and that was a little stressing but I wasn't wearing the proper undergarments and the bridal shop didn't have bras that went beyond a D-cup (and I'm beyond a D-cup...sigh), so while the dress fit it didn't look perfect, you know? But I'm going back on Wednesday, armed with all my undergarments, and I'm convinced it will look perfect. And I haven't lost any weight since buying the dress.

I don't even know when I stopped worrying about that. It might have been when more important things - seating charts and making favours and meeting with our officiant and planning the ceremony and finalizing the reception set-up - came up. It might have been when the Beau had chest pains and was later diagnosed with periocarditis and body image was the last thing on my mind. It might have been when I started spending more time on xoJane, an any-body-positive (among other things) website. It may have even been when I did some shopping and found a bunch of things that fit at a size I could handle.

Or it may have just been that I'm really getting tired of hating on myself. Like, just fed up and done with it. Because, honestly, it takes a hell of a lot of energy to be constantly down and degrading towards myself and there are so many more things in life that are much more deserving of that energy.

Also, acceptance, which is hella major too. Being on Weight Watchers let me prove to myself that I can lose weight, but I have to track everything I eat, measure all my portions, plan ahead as necessary and get on a scale each week to make sure I'm doing it all properly. This did help make me more aware of what I put in my body, which is a good awareness to have, but the little things started to weigh on me and really sucked the fun out of living (at least for me; I don't want to take away from the success that others have had with the program).

So I know I can lose weight and I know I can gain it all back and now I know that this body, the one I'm currently in, the one I'll be getting married in, that the way this body is now could be the way my body just is. This me is the me, where I'm happiest, at least physically. And by accepting this physical happiness maybe I can move to mental and emotional happiness with myself.

Of course, I'm not about to eat pizza and chocolate cake for every meal. I'm still going to run (currently nursing a sore calf - boo!) and do strength training (three sets of 10 FULL push-ups are now a regular thing for me - hurrah!) and be aware of what I'm eating. It's not dieting or trying to lose weight; rather, it's doing the things for my body that will help my body do things for me. Eating well and being active will give me the energy I need to run 5K and plan a wedding and help keep the house tidy and go out for friends' birthdays and dance at my wedding and chase after my nephews and all the other things that make life good. And my good life will include wine and too many fun-sized chocolate bars and pizza and chocolate cake because these things make me happy.

Now this isn't just some epiphany that will last forever. Body acceptance and body love will still take work, every single day. But it's about starting with good thoughts ("I look good in this dress") rather than bad ("This dress makes me look fat. I can't ever wear it again.") and embodying those good thoughts, acting like I look good (but not being arrogant because that sucks) and believing that I deserve to feel good about myself. And that leads to happiness and, really, isn't being happy what it's all about?

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