I recently read this article in Elephant Journal in which a yoga instructor discusses her path toward learning to accept herself for real. As an early developing, athletic girl, she always considered herself “fat,” until she finally stopped pushing herself to workout due to guilt, at what her body wanted, and lost weight. Even then, though, the instructor felt she accepted herself only due to her new slimmer waistline. Years later, she suddenly gained 20 pounds but, rather than attempt to lose it, she finally accepted that the new weight was where her body wanted to be, and decided to try to accept herself regardless of her weight.
This story resonated deeply with me. As someone who has struggled with body image for the last decade, I’ve finally started to experience the liberation of valuing health over weight. In the last year, I’ve started eating healthfully and I’ve stopped obsessively counting calories and depriving myself of critical nutrients. And I’ve gained some weight. I knew that would be the case, and I also know I’m happier and healthier now than I ever was when I was counting calories. But even as recently as a few days ago, I considered going on a “quick” diet. It would only be for a week or two, I told myself, then it would be back to my regular, healthy eating habits. It is very tempting to go down that road, but I know where it leads. Letting that critical, obsessive voice back in could be my ticket into relapse. And even if that’s not the case, even if I actually did only diet for a week, that would be a decision made out of self-judgment and an inability to accept and value myself for who I am. And as difficult as it is to resist temptation, I know I deserve better.