By Jessica Kaliher
We are constantly changing. Our bodies are constantly changing. Think about your interests, moods, and feelings even just a week ago. We are not static creatures. We’re human and life throws us curveballs. No matter how much we plan, life can still get in the way. You could think you want something and then come to find out that it’s not right for you, and that’s okay!
It can be difficult to accept change, especially with your body. I know firsthand.
I remember stopping competitive dance my senior year and finally growing boobs, and then crying when the woman at Victoria’s Secret told me I had gone up two sizes. Or feeling horrible that I could no longer fit into a certain size of jeans. I can’t even remember all the times I wasted looking through old photos and wishing I could just have what I once did (even though I hated my body at the time and was unhealthy), feeling like a “failure” for going backwards.
Weight gain can be a hard thing, but it can also be very healthy in some cases. A “Transformation Tuesday” doesn’t always have to be weight loss or muscle gain. It can simply be transforming your way of thinking and loving your body. No picture or size can show/measure progress because it’s not the same for everyone.
When your body changes for whatever reason, whether it be recovering from an eating disorder, an injury/accident, or puberty, you cannot compare your body, life, motivation, or anything else to others, not even your past self.
So, you used to wake up at 5 am and workout before school? If you no longer find joy from this and it no longer works with your schedule, find something else that works.
So, you used to be able to hold a plank for several minutes? Was it really worth over exercising out of fear of gaining weight? Does your core strength define you as a person?
These are the types questions you have to ask yourself if you are constantly comparing yourself or dwelling on the past.
We can’t compare because first of all, we often romanticize the past. Sure you felt “in control,” “fit” and “proud” back then, and you wish to have those things now, but really think about how you were treating your body and how you felt.
Secondly, you are now a different person than you were yesterday with different things going on. Don’t judge yourself so harshly for not getting up early and working out if you have all 8am classes. Don’t make yourself miserable. Come up with a new plan that works for the new you. There isn’t only one way to be healthy.
All we have is now, so we can really only be grateful for who we are in the present moment. I know it can feel like the end of the world when you are not where you want to be, but try to focus on all that your body does for you. It can handle a lot more than you think—even a little weight fluctuation.
To prevent this unhealthy relationship with ourselves, the topic of body changes needs to be talked about more.
We should be telling young girls that their body’s weight, shape, and size is likely to fluctuate over time and that is OK, we should be telling young girls that their bodies; naturally and instinctively know how to take care of themselves, and that might look different and work differently for every girl and woman. We should teach people that your belly protects organs and stretch marks show how much your body is able to adapt. Normalize the fact that your stomach might appear bigger after a meal. You are not bloated or fat, but healthy and nourished as you should be. Embrace the food baby, baby!
Please do not live in the past and let it consume you. Comparison is the thief of joy, even if it is comparison of your own self.
Live without fear. Live your life how you choose and how it works for you NOW. There is SO much out there other than restriction and strict gym schedules.
I hope you find peace with your body at any size because it will not come later if it wasn’t present from the start. You can do it!