Body Love is the title of a book by Kelly Leveque that I have read and loosely use to guide my nutrition. I say loosely because I have not been as intentional as I would like. But nutrition isn’t necessarily what I want to talk to you about today.
Today I want to talk about my journey to loving my body. Some days I could say “yes, I love my body,” but other days, most days, I struggle with putting myself down for this body part or that roll. Kelly Leveque also has a podcast and at the end of every episode she asks her guest what body love means to them.
I want to ask you the same question today: What does body love mean to you?
What does body love mean to me? In my opinion, body love simply means that I love my body, inside and out. There are no qualifiers or detractors in my definition. There is nothing that says that I love my body if… There is nothing that says I will love my body when…
Like most of you listening today, I have struggled with my body for as long as I can remember. I remember being on the playground in fourth or fifth grade and being made fun of for my stomach or for my newly growing boobies starting to take shape. I have been called out for my bubble butt for my entire life. I seriously hate this reference. I remember being at the mall for a field trip with classmates and one telling me that I walked like I was gapped or had something up my ass. First, yes, this country girl somehow was at a mall as part of some field trip. Second, what the fuck does being gapped even mean? I have no idea now and definitely didn’t know then, but it did not feel good.
Hell, even my own mother told me that I was big-boned and would always be a bigger girl. She told me this so much that I believed it through and through until just a couple of years ago. I have been working to unlearn so many things about my body that fall into similar statements by family or other people I’ve known.
Somehow, when I was around 24 or 25, I got down to just under 120 pounds. It was right after confirming my Celiac diagnosis and I was walking miles a day for work. I still thought I was fat. Then I gained weight and hovered around 126 for a few years and thought I was so fucking fat. Then I gained weight because I couldn’t work out or move much prior to my back surgery and now I am hovering around 150.
When Facebook gives me the memory posts, I frequently get my posts of me in my workout clothes from years ago. I get images of when I thought I was so fat because I couldn’t get my body to look anything like professional fitness women or bodybuilders. I see and feel myself now and look back and almost can’t believe I thought I was fat.
Here’s the thing, I wasn’t fat then and I’m not fat now. I may have fat on my body, but that does not define me. I have a stomach that isn’t flat and void of rolls. My thighs and arms are extra wiggly. My ass is still my voluptuous ass. This does not define me.
As I work to love my body, inside and out, I ask myself why I think I’m fat. Usually, the answer boils down to the weight range I was told I should be when I was in my early twenties, the criticism I heard growing up, the images of women plastered all over magazines and social media that show these women who appear to have no fat or cellulite, or the fact that I don’t fit in all of my clothes anymore.
I have a friend who told me that she used to hover around 150 but is quite a bit higher right now. I had no idea what her weight was then or now. I cannot look at a woman and think “she is fat because she is 10 pounds overweight.” I’m pretty sure none of us women look at each other and think that.
I am on a long journey to loving myself for myself, inside and out. All of me. I want to love myself regardless of the number on the scale because I’ve already proved to you that the number doesn’t always mean anything. I struggle every single day with loving myself. I struggle just as you probably struggle. The thing that is different about me and some of you is that I am making an effort to love the things that I’ve criticized for so long. I am working towards my definition of loving my body, inside and out.
To help myself be encouraged to love my body, I have structured my feed and what I read to honor where I want to get to. I follow people like Jessi Jean, Danae Mercer, Hannah Neese Goff, and others who show their struggles and what they truly look like, not just the posed photos to get the perfect pictures.
Body love isn’t about being the perfect size. To me, it’s all about me, myself, and I. I am working every single day to not care what other people think. I don’t care if anybody else loves my body. I only care if I do. If I love my body, I am not criticizing it for how it looks or what it cannot do, I am nourishing it and enjoying the fine things in life, and I am moving it so that my muscles and everything get what they need from the movement. Yes, I want to work out. No, I don’t want to work out to look like a fitness model. I want to work out and eat nutritious foods to nourish my body from within.
Body love is about loving my body, all of my body, inside and out.
Remember my Imperfect Warriors, you already have what it takes, believe in yourself, and crush every failure on your way to your dreams. Let’s be imperfect together.