Thursday, October 21, 2010

{self acceptance}

I want to hear about self acceptance and embracing your curves. I think that so many of us are so hard on ourselves. I was recently engaged in a nice email conversation with a reader who happens to be a size 2. She sent me a picture of herself. She's a very beautiful twentysomething with a chic 'do and she's a petite curvy girl.

You see, like I said before, anyone can be curvy. Curvy doesn't mean fat. Curvy means curvy. Someone with curves. When I was a teensy tiny (for me) 4 or 6, I still was curvy. This reader and I were discussing confidence. She told me she isn't quite there yet with self-acceptance.

You might be sitting there thinking, "Who cares? She's a size TWO." The thing is, though, self acceptance doesn't equate to a size tag. When I my smallest, I was also at my lowest point when it came to my own self esteem. What I saw in the mirror was different than reality. I wanted to lose more weight. Thought I was fat. When you can see your shoulder bones pointing out, you're not fat. This was my low point. It was in 1997. I had to seek counseling because of this. I kept fainting. Literally fainting. Passing out at work, at home...I wasn't eating much of anything at all. My blood sugar and blood pressure were so low. My heart beat was well over 100 beats per minute. I was down to 110 pounds or so. If you've seen me in person and now my body type, you can imagine what 110 looked like on me.

I still felt heavy. I was so unhealthy. Thank God for my boyfriend at the time (now husband) who stood by as I battled those demons. When I look back at pictures, I wonder how on earth I could think that I was too fat. When I was in counseling, we discussed how my weight was the one thing in my life I felt I had control over. My body image issues started around the time I was 13 or 14. That's when my parents were in the midst of a nasty, years' long court battle. Instead of a "normal" divorce, they were back in court on and off for years and I felt like a ping pong ball. 

I felt like I had no control over anything in my life. My self esteem spiraled downward. I made poor choices. My counselor said that I chose what I ate as that one way I could be in charge of something. All I wanted to do and never got to do was shake both of my parents and yell at them. I wanted them to STOP fighting. Stop hating each other. Stop putting me in the middle. Their court battles went on for many years. I think, looking back, if I had had the courage back then to tell them how it was affecting me, I would've been much better off. I didn't have that courage, so I resorted to making stupid decisions, one of them being the way I used food.

After counseling and returning to a healthy weight for several years, I hit that highest weight gain point I mentioned before--going beyond 200 pounds. I was back to feeling out of control with my life. This time, instead of starving myself I was overeating....

So here I am not all the way to my goal, but feeling at that point of self acceptance. This point was reached a few months back. I just felt good about myself. I'm not the smallest I have ever been. I am not the heaviest....I'm down 54 pounds at last check. I don't obsess about my weight and I just go by how my clothes feel. When you reach the point of self acceptance, you just know it. You're not standing in front of the mirror wondering if your butt looks too big or crying while you try on swimwear. 

The point of self acceptance is when that huge weight (no pun intended) is lifted off of your shoulders and you can put that bathing suit on and confidently hit the pool at the hotel without wondering if people think you look like a cow. It's when you smile in the fitting room mirror.

So it took me until I was about 35 to reach that self acceptance stage. I am OK with myself. I am embracing my curves. At a size 12 or 14, I feel so much better about myself that I did when I was 50 pounds lighter at that low point....and at 50+ pounds more at that high point.

I have no rhyme or reason for why this kicked in, it just did.
And to my dear size 2 curvy reader who's not quite there as well as the size 18 woman or size 24 woman--to all of you--when you embrace your curves and when you embrace yourself for the beautiful person that you are inside and out, that acceptance point will come.

How do you embrace your curves? When did you start to accept you for who you are? I'd like to know!

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