Image: iStock. By Michaela Mitchell for Ravishly.
I can’t decide which school of thought is more annoying:
“Lose weight, get healthy, don’t be a drain on society, and finally have the best, most perfect life once you’re skinny!”
“Screw what people think! Be comfortable in your own skin! Don’t ever change because change equals conformity!”
All the noise about losing weight or not is enough to make me want to tune it all out and eat lollies forever. Mmmm, ice cream…wait? What were we talking about?
Here’s the deal: I want to lose a bit of weight. I’d like to be slimmer, but I’m also fairly OK with my round, chubby body, thick thighs, back fat, and cellulite. (OK, I’m lying about the cellulite. I hate the cellulite. Bastard.) The two ideas — accepting yourself and wanting to make some changes — shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. Like all things, this level of acceptance was a long time coming.
Since age nine — when I received boobs, hips, and pimples from the Fairy Godmother of Puberty (bitch) — I've hated my body. As a kid, I attracted too much attention for being taller and different from everyone else in my elementary school.
From adults, I heard “You're so mature for your age” way too often. I should have just been a kid, but instead I was this strange, mature girl-child inside a woman's body.
I've seen pictures of me at age 13 — I understand why I received so much attention. I was curvy and luscious as hell, which no 13-year-old should have to deal with. Of course, at 35, I'd kill to have that body. But as a kid, I thought I was fat and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I didn't move much. I overate and thought there was something wrong with me because of it, not understanding that a growing body needs fuel. By the time I reached high school, I was a big girl, carrying an additional 30 to 40 pounds on my frame. (Post continues after video.)
For a while, I tried not to eat, flirting with anorexia in a dangerous way, desperate to lose weight and have boyfriends. But the food always won — I figured I simply wasn't strong enough.
In college, it was all the pizza. All the booze. It was freedom and heaven and lots of calories.
Ironically, that was also when I discovered serious dieting and exercising. I managed to drop a few pounds towards the end of college, but it wasn't enough. It was never enough.
By the time I'd graduated, got married, and had my first child, I was at my all-time heaviest weight — and I loathed myself because of it. I spent three years losing almost 40 kilograms. I was the lowest weight of my adult life — a real weight loss success story, and I still wasn't satisfied. (Post continues after gallery.)
Several years later, with another child and 18 kilos heavier than my lowest weight, I've finally reached a point where skinny isn't a goal. It doesn't matter how much weight I lose, I'll never be satisfied because I'll never look like the women in magazines, on TV, wherever.
Hell, those women don't look like what we see in magazines!
I'm tired of chasing a standard that no one can meet. It's too exhausting. In a life that's satisfying professionally and personally, I refuse to be unsatisfied because an unreachable beauty standard has become the norm.
I like my curves. I like my wide hips, round booty, and full boobs. (I still hate the cellulite.) I don't think everyone should look like me, but I like my general shape. I accept my larger, curvier body.
I like me. I like what this body can do. It has given birth. It has great sex. It plays and works and moves along in life, feeling, seeing, and experiencing whatever comes my way. This body is pretty freaking great.
But that doesn't mean I don't want to change.
Yes, I've rejected the diet culture. I roll my eyes at every attempt to convince me that skinny is best, that I'm an irresponsible asshole when I eat an extra piece of pizza, or that I'm a lazy slug who simply isn't trying hard enough.
But accepting myself doesn't mean I don't want to improve. The goals have simply changed.
I want more muscles. I want lower blood pressure. I want less guilt when I eat the foods I enjoy.
This isn't about making the people who are “forced” to look at me happy with what they see. It certainly has nothing to do with attaining an unattainable goal.
I'm also not trying to satisfy the people who think change equals conformity.
Now, all these years later, I simply want to be the best version of my curvy, cute self that I can be. Beauty standards, be damned.
Do you love your body but still want to see change, too?