The Size of My Body Does Not Determine My Worth
It has been well over a year since I kneeled over the toilet, tears in my eyes and middle finger down my throat. I’ve grown past taking action on my unhealthy impulses. But those thought processes still haven’t gone away. The relationship I have with food is still tumultuous and unforgiving. Eating is not just eating to me.
Eating leads to fullness and fullness is a trigger. If my stomach is full, my brain screams at me to empty it. I have a constant urge to purge.
I’m unhealthily proud of the days that I am too busy to eat. The lightheaded fatigue means I must be losing weight, right?
I see food items as their caloric values. String cheese? You mean 80 calories and 8 grams of protein? Years of diligent food logging has made me a human calorie calculator.
Every day I have to remind myself that the size of my body does not determine my worth.
Weight Gain Happens — and I Struggle With That
I’ve gained a lot of weight in the last year. Mentally and physically, it has caused a lot of problems. I used to love running. But the extra weight I carry makes moving my body across long distances feel insurmountable.
Gaining weight makes me want to hide my body. Literally, with clothing. I am uncomfortable in the summer heat. Even around the house, I am clad with sweats and a loose t-shirt. I don’t want to be around people who would notice I’ve gained weight. I want to hide from the family and friend support system I should be relying on. With that, my mental health suffers. I long to be social but my weight makes me feel like I don’t deserve it. The world doesn’t need to see my body hanging out of clothing that once fit.
I forget that weight gain is natural. It’s not cancer. I don’t need to be devastated by it. Our bodies fluctuate. The average person does not stay in peak physical form 100% of the time.
I’ve Spent Too Much Time Wishing I Was Smaller
For as long as I can remember, I have strived to be smaller. Cuter. More petite. I yearned for the lanky body that some girls naturally maintain.
Of course, this is something that women have been trained to do. We are supposed to be smaller, more manageable. Quieter. More convenient. We overthink so many aspects of our personalities and our physical appearance. We’re afraid to be loud. Afraid to be large.
I am working on accepting myself. As I am right now. With no promises of weight loss. No ridiculous expectations. Because women have wasted too much time trying to be smaller.
I Need to Change How I Think About My Body
I’m working on changing my perspective. My body should not be punished for its appearance. It should be revered for the things it can do. It can get stronger. It can adapt. It can walk and swim and feel the sun’s warmth when I go outside. It can hug my loved ones and it can smile at strangers. The human body can do so much more than be small.
My Worth Comes From Being Kind
The size of my body does not determine my worth. My worth comes from being kind, to myself and others. It comes from how I contribute to my community and how I care for the people in it. How I nourish my relationships and continue to grow as a person. My actions show my value more than the aesthetic of my body does.
Self-love isn’t easy. It requires years of unwinding the damaging perceptions we have of our bodies. It requires a change of environment and a strong support group. We can grow alone, but we can thrive with others. Having healthy relationships with others can help us have a healthier relationship with ourselves.
Our body directly impacts how we interact with the world. It is not something to minimize or judge relentlessly. It is how we travel and experience new things. It’s how we volunteer. It’s how we try new foods and have new adventures. It’s how we show affection and hold our loved ones. It’s how we grow.
Why would we want to make that smaller?