Something my therapist has brought up several times is why I've always had bad body image. Had there been comments from my parents? My brother? My friends? Boyfriends? No, no, no, and no. In fact, no one has ever made a negative comment about my weight—except to express concern when I've gotten too skinny. I suppose that could be a result of me never having been overweight, but I think also because I've been really lucky to have amazing family and friends. Intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate people with the good sense not to make weight or appearance much of an issue.
Which is why it sometimes seems baffling to me that I've always been so gosh darn obsessed with my weight. It just seems so shallow and out of character for me, you know? Anyway, maybe that's why articles like this have never really resonated with me: 'Fat Talk' Compels, but Carries a Cost. When I sit down and think about it, I can count on one hand (well, maybe two hands) the number of conversations I can remember having with friends about feeling fat, wanting to lose weight, or any other general body dissatisfaction. Is this weird? Maybe I'm just lucky. Maybe I've just gotten good at steering conversations away from that stuff that I don't even realize it anymore. Maybe I'm so wrapped up in my own internal 'fat talk' that I'm totally oblivious to all the outside 'fat talk' happening around me.
Anyway, I've been thinking about this because I can honestly say that my body image is better right now that it has been in, like, years. No, I don't love my body, but I'm okay with it. Actually, I'm better than okay with it: I almost-sort-of-a-little-bit-dare-I-even-type-this....like it?
Is it a coincidence that I am also at my highest weight in over five years? Is it the universe's greatest irony that I've spent most of that time killing myself to lose weight in pursuit of that elusive perfect, skinny body when in fact, the best cure to my body image woes was to gain weight? Someone pinch me.
I was walking down a busy street in College City yesterday afternoon in shorts and a t-shirt, watching myself in the passing storefront windows—because I still lack the ability to pass any reflective surface without scrutinizing my body—and realized, with a jolt, that I wasn't actually disgusted by the sight of myself. I realized that I wasn't fat, wasn't super disgusting, and wasn't a blobby freak of nature. I'm not super skinny anymore; I'm not even skinny, just normal. And that's fine.
The biggest body image woes I have right now are more related to feeling lazy and untoned, since I don't really exercise at all. The pain still makes it kind of tough, but I'm making an effort to get out and at least walk, if nothing else. Anyone ever used My Yoga Online? I'm thinking of trying some videos there.
Anyway, my point is: I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin than I have in a long long time, and am pretty much perfectly okay with the way I look. (Well, almost!) 'Fat talk' takes on a whole new meaning when you've got anorexia, and I'm proud to say that there is very little 'fat talk' happening in my brain right now. I can't say I've noticed any more or less of it among other women around me, but I can say that the internal obsessing has lessened tremendously.