I’m 40 years old. When am I going to be happy with myself? Specifically, my body. I’m generally fine with the rest of me. I love my job, I have amazing friends, and my kids are turning out pretty well.
This isn’t a new story. I have struggled with my weight since childhood. I still vividly remember when I realized I was overweight, after being teased by my siblings. (Guess what? In retrospect I realize I was average sized. Maybe I had a little belly. But I definitely wasn’t obese.)
I have amazing parents, but my mom starting putting me on diets while I was still in elementary school. I remember her telling me one day in the car that once I started my period, the “puppy fat” would just melt away. I know she didn’t mean to hurt me. She just wanted to help me, and she probably figured if I could get things under control fast, I wouldn’t struggle later.
Well, I’m here to tell you, I’ve never been thin. Not ever. Not after doing Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig, or after taking dangerous diet drugs in the early 1990s. Sure, I have been thinner, but I doubt I’ve had a normal BMI in my adulthood.
But you know what? I’m strong. I’m healthy. My blood pressure and cholesterol and every other test else has always been perfectly normal. I just carry some extra weight on me.
I have run two full marathons and a dozen half marathons. I carried triplets to 33 weeks. I have finished two triathlons.
Why can’t I look at those things and be proud of my body instead of obsessing over the extra fat around my middle, my thighs, my face? Why can’t I be happy with my calves that look amazing in heels?
I had a tummy tuck with liposuction a few years ago to fix some of the damage done by the boys, and I just knew it would be the solution to all of my body image issues. But you know what? It wasn’t. I may have a flatter stomach, but I still see the flaws in the rest of me.
I don’t know. But I’m a grown up. It’s time to accept the fact that I am probably always going to carry this extra weight. I’m always going to be looking for the biggest size at the Gap or the smaller size at Lane Bryant. It’s never going to be easy to find clothes that fit.
A friend recently told me how she stopped thinking so negatively about her body. Whenever she had a negative thought, she banished it and conjured up a positive thought instead. I’m going to try that. Will it undo 40 years of negative self-thought? I don’t know, but it’s worth a try.