Aug 23, 2008

Dieting Temptation

I've recently had the opportunity to sift through some old photographs, many of which showed a skinnier me (although certainly not happier). I spent hours rummaging through these old photos, looking at past scenes from my life, thinking how much of a shame it was that I didn't know just how gorgeous I was. I've never liked the way I look, but the girl (and eventually woman) staring back at me looked just beautiful, in her own way, happy, sweet, and I was filled with love her. I suppose that is progress in my own journey of self-acceptance. I mean, I didn't look back at those photos and think how I could see a bulge in my shirt from my fat roll, or that my cheeks were too big, or my legs weren't tan enough or slim enough or toned enough.

However, I did start wishing that I looked like that now. I've gained roughly 20 pounds since those photos taken several years ago, due to dieting of course, but I caught myself looking at the photos and thinking how I would be happier if I lost 20 pounds and looked like that again. I'm not quite sure what to do in those situations. Do I try to lose weight? My gut says "of course not!". Do I ignore my feelings? I don't think so, because those feelings are signs that there is still something amiss in my own acceptance of my body and my looks and ultimately myself. I suppose the only thing I can do is acknowledge that I still have those feelings, that it's ok, and to try to understand why. And to be patient with myself.

Aug 3, 2008

The Good and Bad Days

I first came across the FA movement in October of 07, so for about 10 months I have been making conscious efforts to accept my body exactly as it is -- to treat it well, to love it no matter how different it may be from the ideal of beauty in my head. And, it has paid off in droves. I can honestly say that the majority of days, I look in the mirror and love what I see. Geninely love it. See it as truly beautiful. Even full length mirrors. And, yes, even with no clothes on.

I've come to realize that seeing your body as beautiful is not all that hard when you start seeing other bodies as beautiful that also don't fit the ideal beauty mold. I knew I was growing a few months ago when I spotted a large woman on campus, and commented, wow, that woman is gorgeous. I wonder if she knows how beautiful she is. It occured to me five minutes later that that woman must have weighed over 250 pounds, and that I would have never ever noticed her beauty a year ago.

This acceptance, however, is not with me all the time. I do catch myself secretly wishing to be thinner, even if it's just 15 or 20 pounds thinner. I'm a little ashamed to say this, even though I know it is only human nature to want what seems easier. Even with knowing the dangers of dieting, the limited success in restricting calories, even with the days where I legitimately do not want to lose weight because I don't want to lose my curves and my soft feminine texture...I still have my days. This morning, in my half-sleep half-awake state, I caught myself remembering a moment a few years ago where I had received a few compliments from men (I was about 15 pounds thinner) and a thought flitted through my head - "well, maybe I could get back down to 205 and look cuter like I looked then." I caught myself and thought, "hmpth -- interesting. The thoughts are still there, aren't they?" And I moved on...

The thought made no sense -- I get compliments from men now, probably more because I have gained a lot of confidence in my appearance and I walk taller and take better care of myself and it doesn't matter as much if others agree with me that I am attractive. But, I am human, and it is human nature to not appreciate my life as it is now and to think back to how it used to be. I suppose this is just another step in the journey. I know it is cliche, but there really is no goal -- just the value in the journey itself - the process of growing.