I did something stupid-hard yesterday and I am still having mixed feelings about it.
I gave away clothes from 20’ish pounds ago.
I finally went through the bags and boxes and drawers full of the clothes I “hope to wear again someday” and I put them in a giant bag and gave them to charity.
Clothes that I’d have to lose another 20’ish lbs to fit into.
As you know, I’ve been trying to find my new “stasis” body. A body I can maintain with moderate exercise and non-restrictive but mindful eating. It’s hard because I’m still trying to break the emotional binge-eating habits, so I can’t say for sure where my stasis body is, but I feel pretty confident it’s not 20lbs away. When I’ve maintained for a few weeks I’ve settled in at least 15lbs away from the body that wore those clothes, so the idea that somehow my stasis is going to miraculously drop another 15lbs is ridiculous. That was my 100K training body, and that’s not sustainable. And that body wasn’t happy either – for the record. While I look at that body NOW and think I wish I had that body back, the truth is I didn’t enjoy that body when I had it, WHICH IS PROOF THAT THIS WHOLE SYSTEM IN MY HEAD IS BROKEN.
So I made the decision to get rid of the clothes simply because: I know my whole system is broken. It’s like I can’t trust myself. I know that the way I judge and look at my body is distorted and I know I’m a work in progress and I know that keeping those clothes around only represents a body I had because I was training for a 100K. Those clothes did not go on a body that loved herself. I mean, I definitely felt better about myself 20lbs ago than I do now. But even in that body I still wanted to lose 20 more pounds because I didn’t truly love that 100K training body either. And my far-reaching goal is to love my body, regardless of size. My more practical goal is to find a healthy stasis and to maintain that weight for at least one year, something I’ve not done at least 15 years.
And those clothes do not signify any of those goals. They only serve as a reminder that I used to be smaller and part of my broken brain looks at all past smaller bodies as BETTER and the longer I keep those clothes – with the plans to some day try them on and be HAPPY – the longer I’m feeding into the broken mindset that my body size somehow relates to my beauty and if I’m trying to reprogram, I have to let go of all of those clothes that anchor me to that bad programming.
It’s weird because even as I write this I’m having this cyclical conversation in my head for the millionth time.
Why is it wrong to hope to wear those clothes again? It’s not wrong to want to be thinner.
Because you want to be thinner because society has programmed you to believe that thinner is prettier.
But isn’t it a feminist act to embrace your beauty however you choose to express it? Isn’t wanting to be thinner the same as wanting to wear red lipstick? Because it makes me feel beautiful?
But you see women every day with bodies bigger than yours and you think they’re gorgeous. Why do you think YOUR body has to be thinner to be beautiful when you don’t think that about THEM?
Because they ARE beautiful. They have great skin or great hair or their body shape is better than mine. I look prettier skinnier. They look beautiful as they are.
And what would you say to your daughter if she said that about herself? You would tell her that she is beautiful and she shouldn’t say those ugly things about herself. You would also remind her that the important beauty is on the inside because looks fade but spirit doesn’t.
But I also wouldn’t shame her if she wanted a skinnier body. I mean, wanting to lose weight isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s not always a sign that you’re product of shitty society. Sometimes you are just wanting control over your appearance and as long as you’re being healthy and smart that’s okay too. Wanting to lose weight is not inherently anti-body positivity.
Yes, but you’ve been those past weights before. You know what it took to get there. Is that sustainable? Were you actually reaching any of your mindful and healthy goals? Wasn’t it just easier because you were running 60 miles a week? Is that sustainable? Do you want to have to run 60 miles a week just for a body you’re not sure you’d actually love if you had it? Wouldn’t it be much better to learn to love a body you can sustain with moderate exercise and mindful eating? Because to sustain that body for a year (which is your practical goal, remember) you would have to either be more restrictive with your diet or you would have to start running 60 miles a week again, and do you want to do either?
You have been bouncing around between 108lbs and 190lbs since the day you quit smoking 15 years ago. Every medical expert tells you that bouncing around like that is harder on your body than being slightly overweight. You have not held any one weight in that range for even ONE year. Your goal is to find a sustainable stasis. To love THAT body so much that maintaining THAT weight for a year does not require obsessively focusing on fitness or diet. You have figured out that the stasis healthy body – if you can break that binging cycle – is probably between 145lbs and 155lbs. That can be a perfectly healthy weight on a 5ft 3in body if you are mindful about your eating and exercising regularly. THAT is the body you need to love. And THAT body will not fit into ANY of those clothes you gave away. They were just here to torture you. You have freed yourself of the burden. Now, go, love yourself. Have beer some nights and donuts some mornings. Walk a half-marathon on Saturday with one of your oldest and dearest friends. Love who you are as a person regardless of the container that holds your soul. BE FREE.
Yes ma’am. I’ll try.