Monday, April 18, 2016

How to Hate Your Body


I've gained a little weight since last summer. I knew I had, but I guess I didn't realize just how much had crept up on me until I tried to dress for warmer weather last weekend & realized my options had seriously dwindled as a result of my own, well, lack of dwindling.

I haven't gained that much, actually, but it's just enough that a lot of my spring & summer my clothes don't fit quite right, don't lay the way they're supposed to, don't flatter me in the way that I want them to. As someone who tries to be very body positive & who thinks way nastier about myself than I would ever dream of thinking about anyone else, I'm embarrassed to admit that I spent a solid portion of the weekend feeling miserable about myself & acting like a little extra weight somehow makes me a terrible person - as though having a flat stomach is more important than having a kind heart or a strong work ethic or any number of other things that I like to think I possess. 

Anyway, I spent a lot of the weekend feeling bad about myself - like I looked gross in everything I tried on & would rather wear a potato sack than any of the clothing I own. I whipped myself into a frenzy about how I'll never be able to lose weight now that I'm in my thirties & how someday I'll probably have a baby & gain 200 lbs. & be bed-ridden forever, etc., etc., etc. - you know, that sadness spiral we all fall into sometimes, for whatever personal & painful reasons happen to set us off.

When I calmed down from all my woe-is-me moping, I started making some plans to get healthier &, hopefully, to drop a few pounds in the process. I'd been thinking about it for a while, but the realization that I'm now down half a wardrobe served as an accelerant. Today, I began putting some of those plans into action (including eating stir fry sans rice for dinner tonight, which is basically just a warm salad, which is not a thing I do).

I feel good about this newly reinvigorated effort, & I stand by my commitment to try harder, but I decided something else, too: I deserve new clothes that help me feel a little bit better about myself in the meantime.

That's why, today, I went to Old Navy after work & bought five tops, two pairs of harem pants, one pair of possible mom-shorts, one wacky denim dress that looks like it should be worn by a witch, & one pair of those cheap, amazing flip-flops, just for good measure.

Is it a whole new wardrobe? Of course not. But there are just enough staples in there to keep me from feeling like I have literally nothing to wear, to save me from doing myself the indignity of squeezing into pants that don't do me any favors.

It's, like, rule #1 of the diet code that you're not supposed to go shopping while you're trying to lose weight, but I think that's crap (as is the concept of dieting, though that's another post entirely). Almost nothing makes a girl feel worse about herself than clothes that don't quite fit. 

I didn't buy new clothes as a cop-out: I'm still going to put in the work to get into better shape, & I'm not going to get rid of my old clothes. Trust me, I hope to return to them soon. But in the meantime, do I need to punish myself for the alleged shame of my weight gain by wearing ill-fitting clothes that make me both look & feel worse?

And so, while I'm going to work toward the goal of shedding a few pounds – &, more importantly, just getting healthier overall – I'm not going to be so hard on myself that I won't allow myself to look nice in the meantime.

The best way to ensure that you keep hating your body is to dress like you hate your body. So yes, I'm going to try to lose weight – but I'm not going to be mean to myself or to the current iteration of my body while I do it. If you need me, I'll be over here eating stir-fry leftovers & wearing my new "Viva la Brunch" tee - the height of irony, truly, but at least I'm gonna look (& feel) good doing it.

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