Not long ago I had a moment…
A pair of size 6 womens shorts that I bought when I was in the grips of my most recent (and last!) relapse, the shorts I called my “goal” shorts, which I know only fit me when I am sickeningly small, no longer fit.
They were too tight around my thighs, and they wouldn’t do up around my butt.
I stood in the mirror and stared for what seemed like an eternity.
How do I feel about this?
I posed the question to myself.
This was what I wanted. My eating disorder told me I would be safe and okay if I got small enough to fit these… And suddenly, I’m getting healthier, I’m filling out again, and they no longer fit.
And nor should they. A 23 year old woman, who plans to become a mother in the next few years, should not fit a pair of size 6 shorts (US size 2).
I’m naturally curvy, so fitting my butt and legs into size 6’s is a challenge nearly impossible. I know all of this.
To be healthy, my body needs to sit at a bigger size than that. I have come to accept that.
So then, why did I stand in front of the mirror for so long, staring, with a cocktail of emotions ranging from disgust and disappointment, to content and acceptance?
Because although I knew putting on weight meant I was getting healthier, I felt like I had failed.
I had set this goal for myself, to be small enough to wear the shorts, I had reached it, and then in the pursuit of bettering my health and my wellbeing, let go of the goal – and subsequently the shorts, which went into the bin.
This fear of failure, of not being “perfect” (what the fuck defines perfect anyway?!) is hanging right over me, and so many of you too who suffer from an eating disorder, bad body image or low self-esteem.
We fear that when we don’t meet the lofty standards we set for ourselves in our own minds that the result is failure.
- To be a certain size
- To see a certain number on the scale
- To eat only a certain number of calories a day
- To run a certain number of kilometres
NEWSFLASH! SIZES, NUMBERS, CALORIES AND KILOMETRES CANNOT AND WILL NOT PROVIDE ANY MEASURE OF THE PERSON YOU ARE, YOUR WORTH OR THE LOVE YOU DESERVE!
But still, when we don’t meet out “goals”, we often feel a complete and utter lack of control.
However, when we are prescribing to these “goals” that we tell ourselves we MUST attain at all costs, the only thing that is in control is our eating disorder. Not you.
YOU take back the control when you chose to not act on those unhealthy and unattainable goals.
YOU take back the control when you can shut down the eating disorder voice, and listen to what you and your body really need.
Set a goal to be healthy, not to be a certain number on the scale.
Set a goal to be happy, not to eat only *INSERT CHOSEN NUMBER* of calories.
Set a goal to love and accept your body, not to shame it for wanting AND NEEDING nourishment.