I had a realization recently, or I suppose it’s been an ongoing realization. Looking back over the years, I’m not sure I’ve ever once been truly happy with my own body, at least after the age of 13. Yes, there have been times when I felt I looked good in an outfit, some short periods when I felt fit and strong, even a few occasions when I forgot about my hangups and just felt great exactly as I was. And yet I never reached that point where I fully loved everything about my physical self. It occurs to me in my 33rd year, with 34 creepin’ hard, how utterly sad that is. To be perfectly honest, I’m sick of this shit. I’m just so tired of it.
I’m a nutritionist. I eat food that I know nourishes me. I’m really active which keeps me sane and happy. I feel lightyears better after experiencing the benefits of a whole foods diet and ditching the calorie counting. But like so many other people, I’ve dealt with an emotionally exhausting relationship with food and weight since the sunset of my tweens. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder, have been both smaller and significantly larger, dealt with the whole body dysmorphia thing…but I could dissect that for ages. It’s a long story for another day, and unfortunately a story so many people know all too well. Where I’m at now and why I suppose I’m writing this is because I want to say something that I need to be held accountable for: I’m ready to make peace with myself. I’m ready to stop grasping for that one exercise or superfood that will give me the body of my dreams. I’m ready to stop assessing the room at a barre class to see if my thighs are the biggest (sad but true). I’m ready to cut the crap and be truly grateful for the healthy body I do have.
The truth is, when I was at my most unhealthy, and ready to make changes, I promised myself that my goal was simple: to be healthy. That I would be happy with realistic, attainable goals. I saw the beauty in everyone around me. I knew I would never be a model or super thin, and I didn’t care, it’s not my body and curvy girls got it going on. Great health was my goal. But you know what? Here I am, in great health, and most days I’m still not satisfied. I am not by any means drastically overweight. Could I lose a few? Probably. Honestly though, what’s the point? I’d just be hungry. I’m a ‘waist up’ photo sort of gal. Whenever we shoot videos or take photos for Prescribe Nutrition, you will without a doubt hear me barking,”Hey guys, let’s do waist up? Waist up sound good? Cool.” God forbid you all see I have me some thighs. And a tush. A serious one.
I catch myself making comments about my own flaws to people. It’s weird. I have a zit? I point it out. I feel like I’ve put on a few? I make some self deprecating remark about how, “Ugh I’ve just been hitting the chips and guac real hard lately, so bad I know…” I see other people do it too – we make excuses for what we see as our flaws, as if we need to be pardoned for them. I’ve started to wonder if people do this because it feels much safer to stay in a place of awareness of how you’re ‘not good enough.’ It’s as if I want to make it abundantly clear to everyone that ‘this is temporary and I plan to do something about it,’ as if anyone noticed or cared about the State of my Thighs. Though that could be a good name for a Netflix show.
I was listening to a Marc Maron podcast with Melanie Lynskey recently and they went down the road of body image. It’s a long conversation, but eventually she said some things that really resonated with me. Actually, that just hit me over the head, kind of hard. “It’s horrible to not like your body. You can never escape it, you’re with yourself all the time. And also, you have to eat. Eating is social…it’s the most inescapable thing to have an issue with.” All of this I knew, but is it possible I forgot? It sure felt like it. She talks about how she finally gave up the struggle to watch her weight like a hawk, to stop obsessing and let her body just be. “Now I’m feeling like I’m in my body without obsessing about my body…and I also now think it’s kind of lovely. Sometimes I look at myself and say, oh, that’s kind of sexy. It’s all round and bouncy. What’s wrong with that? I don’t know why I was denying that for so long.” Melanie. Can we please be friends. But seriously if anyone knows her, please give me an intro.
Sometimes it hurts my soul to imagine what I could have done with all that self loathing energy had I put it towards something bigger than myself. In the end I have no regrets, I have a job I love and I’m part of the PN team. I would never have that without my history. It’s a part of who I am, and that’s okay. I just don’t want to wake up 30 years from now, devastated that I couldn’t accept my big, beautiful ass, especially while it was it was still relatively high.
So here’s what I’d like 34 to be about: Being in my body without obsessing about my body. Recognizing that I can help people feel better and eat healthy, regardless of the size of my pants. Realizing I already do have the body of my dreams, because it’s healthy, I rarely get sick, my thighs are great for bike riding, my booty makes my dance game strong, and also, I like my feet, which is nice. It’s going to be about never looking back on the occasions I choose to enjoy in some of life’s greatest pleasures [chocolate, chips, guac, wine, obviously]. So today is the first day I plan to take daily action to turn it around. To stop my hateful, self deprecating words dead in their tracks. Because in the words of Jay-Z, I gotta get these devils out my life.
I think a big part of my realization has stemmed from the support that I’ve found in the PN community. So here’s a shout out to all of you PN hoodrats [can i call you that?]: thank you. Thank you for reminding me that health is the ultimate priority. That feeling good is what matters most. The past few program runs have had discussion boards buzzing with positivity. It’s like reform school for not only dieting, but also self doubting. The fact that my job let’s me join this community every month gives me a lot to smile about. Here’s to kicking off again. I am so ready for you Prescribe 20!