One of the hardest parts of trying to deal with emotional eating and learning how to properly eat intuitively, has been getting to grips with the concept of needing to love myself.
What I’ve come to realise is that I barely even accept myself, never mind having affectionate feelings towards little old me, which isn’t really an ideal place to be starting from.
One of the books I was reading gave an analogy which I rather liked: you need to accept where you are in order to make progress; otherwise it’s rather like wanting to make a journey from Boston to LA, but you’re not in Boston, you’re in New York. You cannot possibly make the journey you want to without acknowledging first where you are actually starting from and planning to go from there.
I sort of thought I was cool with that and had acknowledged my starting point, but turns out I was wrong. I realised as I was walking home last night, just how much I refuse to accept my current self. And the catalyst for that realisation? My wardrobe.
Let me explain. Like a lot of people, my weight has fluctuated over time; I’ve been bigger and I’ve been smaller. Influenced by what is “socially acceptable”, whenever I have lost weight I’ve tended to celebrate and throw out my bigger clothes as soon as possible – “I’m not going back there obviously!” But when my weight has gone up a bit, I’ve clung to my smaller clothes. Oh, I have an entire wardrobe stashed under my bed that belongs to my much smaller self and has realistically been put away for another day, but I also have quite a bit in my current wardrobe that belongs to my slightly smaller self and doesn’t really fit comfortably. The result of this is that when I stand in front of my wardrobe trying to find something to wear, there appears to be a lot in there but quite a chunk of it doesn’t fit or feel right. That is not a situation that is engineered to make me feel good!
Here’s the kicker: what this comes down to can be summed up perfectly by a pair of long denim shorts I own – they are a style I love, but they are a bit too small – they just about do up but are really uncomfortably tight. Rather than buy some more in my current size, I think to myself that it’s not worth it, I’ll just wait until the ones I own fit again. I am basically telling myself that at this size I am not worth some new shorts. I don’t deserve them. I don’t accept my current size as anything other than some kind of temporary blip. And that is a terrible message to be sending myself.
Last night, I felt like enough was enough. I can’t go round thinking of myself like that. I am not accepting me for me. I am judging my worth based on my current weight – do I deserve some clothes that make me feel comfortable and confident? Yes!! But the way I’ve been acting has been telegraphing “no” and effectively punishing myself by not getting a few new clothes that fit. Ridiculous!
My weight has not changed significantly in the past year (which is actually a pretty positive thing when you consider that I stopped dieting last September and didn’t automatically put weight back on), and I’m around a solid size bigger than I was at my lowest weight a few years ago – some stuff still fits and other things don’t, but I think it’s about time I stopped punishing myself for putting on some weight and allow myself things that make me feel good. After all, as one friend said last night in response to me commenting that I’m not as small as I was, “no, you’re more awesome now”.
Project Acceptance starts here.