A year ago, I had lost so much weight that all of my clothes were baggy and falling off of me. My breasts were virtually non-existent. People asked me, “Are you eating?” I had lost my appetite completely. Nothing tasted good to me. Even foods I had always loved. But I ate anyway. I forced myself to eat because I knew I had to. I felt like I ate all day every day. But it didn’t do any good. I just kept dropping pounds. I’ve always been “skinny,” but this was a new extreme low.
Now people are asking, “Are you pregnant?” I’ve gone from one extreme to the other. I don’t blame them. I have gained weight. A considerable amount since my lowest point last year. I have curves. My pant size has moved into the double-digits. My belly is popping out in a suspicious way.
But I’m not pregnant.
I have immediate family members who have experienced similar weight-gain while taking meds like mine. One of them believes the meds permanently altered his body chemistry. Not that long ago he was very overweight, and it has taken extreme measures for him to slim down to where he is today. As I watched the number on the scale getting higher and higher and the clothes in my closet getting tighter and tighter, I got nervous. I knew the pattern my family members had experienced. Was I headed in that direction too?
So far my weight seems to have stabilized. But my feelings about it have continued to fluctuate. Deep down I know that the important thing is that I eat healthy meals (and enjoy them again!), that I’m so much happier now, that my family has their wife/mom back. But there’s always that annoying little whisper trying to tell me negative things about my appearance (things I won’t give power to by “speaking” them out loud on the Internet). The truth is, this new curvy body may be my new “normal.” It may be that my body chemistry has altered permanently. I don’t know. Regardless, I’m working hard to stay positive about my appearance.
The 40-day meditation set I’m currently working on includes a daily singing/repetition of the mantra: “I am bountiful, I am beautiful, I am blissful.” I-am statements are powerful things. My friend Felice has taught me: “The words ‘I am’ are the two most powerful words in the universe. So be careful what you put after them.” So I’m telling myself “I am beautiful” every day, even when I don’t necessarily feel it. I also decided to stop wearing make-up for 40 days. I’ve never worn much, but I wanted to eliminate even the one day a week when I typically wore it. I wanted to work on embracing myself as I am, without needing enhancements to feel beautiful. I don’t necessarily have anything against make-up, but I just wanted to see what would happen to my perception of myself without it. Today is my 25th day of those 40 days. And I can feel my self-talk slowly shifting to a more healthy place.
Yesterday I wrote a list in my journal of the positive things about being more curvy. Such as…
- My breasts are back! Free boob job! ;-)
- I look less like a teenager (a problem I’ve had most of my adult life), more like the almost-33-year-old woman I am.
- I am more soft and cuddly for my kids. I have fond memories of sitting on my grandma’s lap, nestling into her plump, soft, squishy body. It’s so much nicer to cuddle with someone who has some cushion on their frame.
- I have reserves to burn when I don’t have time to eat breakfast or when I’m intentionally fasting. For a long time this past year I couldn’t participate in “fast Sundays” because my health couldn’t handle it. I’m glad to be able to participate again.
- I’m healthy enough to exercise. Last year I couldn’t exercise because I had nothing to burn, and exercise exacerbated my anxiety. Now I could exercise if I wanted to. Sure, I haven’t done much… yet… but I could! Especially now that it’s no longer regularly 110 degrees outside.
- I have more empathy and compassion for members of my family and friends who have struggled with weight gain and body image.
- I get to buy new clothes! In fact, it’s definitely about time for another Goodwill trip (I never buy clothes anywhere else anymore… I heart Goodwill!). The weather is cooling-off, and I only have two pairs of pants that I can actually fit over my thighs. New clothes!
I’m starting to think this change in body chemistry wasn’t such a bad thing. In fact, I’m thinking healthy curves are totally the way to go!
Yes, I have cellulite and muffin tops, but I love what my friend Monna says:
“I know exactly how I got all these curves. Man, I have been through some stuff. And every curve that I have is a witness to that moment in my life.”
I have been through some stuff. And my body bears testimony to that in a variety of ways. I’d like to get to a place where I can wear every bit of my body with respect and praise because this body has carried me through hell and back in one piece.
I am healthy and happy. And I am beautiful.