I used to live in a sort of body prison. I was always pretty thin but I hated my body. When I looked in the mirror, I only saw a chubby, ugly girl with fat cheeks, freckles and big knees staring back at me.
I used to be a really skinny fat girl. Do you know the type? The already thin girl who believes if she could just lose 5 more pounds she would finally have the life/job/boyfriend/social status she dreamed of?
The problem with this girl is not her body; it is how she sees her body. Another 5 pounds will never be enough because inside she doesn’t feel like she is enough. So she diets and diets and obsesses over losing those last 5 pounds that she doesn’t even need to lose all in an attempt to finally become worthy of love and acceptance.
I started dieting in middle school. My best friend still makes comments about how I was at her birthday party in 8th grade drinking Slim Fast shakes while all the other girls ate pizza. I remember trying every fad diet on the market. I would count calories, points, fat grams. I drank cabbage soup every meal for a week, ate only apples, did a liquid fast of only lemon water. Once I tried a diet where I ate only baked potatoes and bananas dipped in powdered hot chocolate. Seriously! Who comes up with this stuff? Honestly it is a wonder I turned out as healthy as I did!
Now, over the years my dieting habits became more refined. I would mask chronic dieting behind the guise of “healthy eating” or “cleansing.” (Both of which are very important – but only when done with the right intentions and not as fad diets). The big tipping point was just a couple years ago when a new cold-pressed juice bar opened in Sao Paulo where I was living at the time. It was the first time anything like green juice or juice cleansing was really accessible in Sao Paulo and I quickly became their most loyal customer. I went on their 3 day green juice cleanse. I felt so amazing that at the end of 3 days I signed up for another 3. And then another. I completed 10 days of only consuming raw green juice with a total daily intake of around 600 calories. Needless to say, I lost weight I didn’t even know I had! And I felt “healthy” (even though I was starving myself) because everyone knows how “healthy” green juice is! Everyone was talking about me and how thin I was. I got high off the attention and the comments I was receiving. And remember – I was never overweight to begin with! But now I was super skinny and I confess… it felt good.
I don’t know why it felt so good to be honest. I never looked at other super skinny women and thought it looked particularly attractive. I often thought they just looked hungry and a little sad! (Except those few who are truly just naturally thin). But now I felt like the newest member of a very elite club. I felt accepted. The only problem is that I would have to basically subside on only juice for the rest of my life in order to keep up my new appearance.
When the 10-day cleanse ended, I didn’t want to stop.
Never mind that I was hungry, my hair was falling out, and I no longer had energy to do my yoga practice or go to the dance classes I loved.
I felt powerful and I would do anything to keep it that way. I kept replacing the majority of my meals with juices, only eating normal food at night with my husband as to not raise suspicion. I stayed about 7 pounds under my regular weight on this plan and it seemed to be working. That is, until my husband got the credit card bill.
I had spent over $2000 on green juice in one month. I was so high on all the praise and the outside approval of my ultra thin body that I had totally lost touch with reality. My husband was livid (understatement) and I was in serious, serious trouble. In my eternal quest for thinness I had lost all track of what the pursuit was actually costing me. Besides all the money, my need for others’ validation caused me to totally lose my husband’s trust in me. We have worked long and hard to heal that, and I am proud to say we have. Although he does still wince a little when he sees a green juice in the fridge.
Since that time a few years ago, I have gained about 6 pounds and I am totally okay with it. The funny thing is, I look pretty much the same and my husband claims I look even better! What matters is that I’m at a healthy weight and I feel so much better. I still drink green juice but I don’t mistake it for food. I eat pretty much what I want which usually looks like loads of veggies, salads, and come healthy grains. But sometimes it looks like a big bowl of pasta, a bottle of wine, and tiramisu. And that is okay. I eat it with pleasure and pride. In front of God and everyone.
I have done a lot of inner work to change the way I see myself and I’ve learned to love my body the way it is. I don’t need to try and look like an 18 year old model in a magazine. My worthiness of love does not depend on my weight. I am done with that old story that was never true to begin with.
What old stories are you telling yourself about your body and appearance? Are they really true? Maybe it is time to gently put them aside and start telling a new story. A story about how miraculous your body truly is. A story about how incredibly loveable you already are – no matter what you weigh.
No diet will ever be enough if you don’t believe you are already enough. Can you start to love and appreciate yourself just the way you are right now? Once you truly love and appreciate your body, you will want to feed yourself with higher quality foods that make you feel even more beautiful.
You see we have it all backwards! You don’t diet to get thin so you are finally worthy of love! No! You already are worthy of love and if you could just own your beauty, then you might naturally want to feed yourself the best foods possible and losing weight becomes a natural consequence of that. And if you don’t get skinny, you love yourself anyway because your worth has absolutely nothing to do with your weight. And no amount of dieting (or binging) can provide what you truly desire: self-acceptance and self-love.
We end the cycle of emotional eating, deprivation diets, and self-sabotage when we accept ourselves and decide to love ourselves no matter what the scale says or how many people comment on your looks. Because I know, as a recovering skinny girl with an “I’m so fat” mentality, that no number on a scale can bring you true happiness.
Are you depriving yourself in the name of being skinny? Have you spent countless dollars trying out every new fad diet, pill and potion to lose weight? I would love to share with you the tools that helped me transform my own relationship with food and my body through my online program, The Radiant Lady: 10 weeks to Inner and Outer Body Beauty. Read about it and schedule a conversation so we can talk more about how I can help you transform you relationship with your body.
Love yourself. Accept your unique body. Feed your body the highest quality foods as a radical act of self-love. You are worth it.