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Bringing Your Body Into Balance

My 100+ pound weight loss is what grabs people's attention. However, my weight loss was merely a side effect of finally taking my health and happiness into my own hands and finding that perfect balance. Body, mind, spirit. It all matters.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Don't Accept Myself the Way I Am


You know, a lot of people remain confused about why I dated a guy for so long who was so brutally and unbelievably honest about my body (and other various, nonphysical, flaws) that he would often reduce me to tears with this honesty. I'll never claim that this was necessarily a healthy relationship. In fact, I'll come right out and say that it wasn't much more than it was.

However, the fact that I would suddenly subject myself to such ridicule was indicative that something within me had recently changed because, up until that point, I had spent my adult life trying to avoid people who would say anything negative about my appearance.

After years of getting picked on in school, I found solace in a very small group of loving and accepting people in my life. The rest of the world, I hid from for years. My family, of course, loved me unconditionally and they became, and still are, my very best friends. My husband at the time thought I was the most beautiful thing on earth.

So what's the problem?

While it's EXTREMELY important to have these people around who love you unconditionally, I've recently come to realize that unconditional acceptance from others can sometimes lead to unconditional acceptance of ones own self. Don't get me wrong, you should love yourself unconditionally, but you should not necessarily accept yourself unconditionally. Especially when doing so means ignoring the fact that you are obese and sick and just simply not living your fullest life.

When I met my, now, ex-boyfriend I learned what being accepted conditionally was all about. And I related to this quite well because I was in the middle of a life transformation that included not accepting myself unconditionally anymore. I had already started taking a hard, long look at my life, my mind and my body and saying, "NO!!! This is NOT good enough! *I* am NOT good enough!" Both of us had something in common, we both loved me, but we both didn't accept a lot of stuff about me.

In the age of self-love and BBWs, it's probably not politically correct for me to claim this. However, if we truly DO love ourselves unconditionally, WHY would we settle for whatever we happen to fall into in this life? "Food tastes yummy. I got fat. That's okay, I accept myself unconditionally." BULLSHIT! It wasn't just my physical appearance though, many aspects of myself were lacking and I was sick of pretending I was okay and enough.

So, when my ex would say something like "I am kind of physically attracted to you but I just can't get past how big you are," I would first break down and cry, of course. Then I would lash out at him and consider ending it. But, contrary to how it might appear, I was not a victim and he was not an abuser, he was just honest (after I would spend a half hour trying to drag it out of him).

After the tears dried and the anger subsided, something new would take it's place. Resolution. Not because I wanted to be more attractive for him (trust me, I'm the type of person who would almost get fatter just to say "screw you") but because I felt the same exact way about myself. In those early days, he never once said anything about my body that I hadn't already thought for a long time. Something about hearing it out loud and having it confirmed that I wasn't really thin and just seeing an obese girl in the mirror like I had hoped, would completely change my mindset. I began to thrive from these episodes. The tears were largely over finally acknowledging these things about myself and much less about the fact that they were coming from a guy that I knew was, by nature, dissatisfied with basically everything and everyone in life. Also, I was facing a big fear. The fear of rejection. The one I had hidden from for all those years. And here I was coming back for more, again and again. From this, I also thrived.

When I finally ended this relationship of two years that was, while so SO good and constructive at times, also dysfunctional and not constructive at other times, I wondered if I'd miss the "motivation" that he provided.
However, I quickly realized I didn't need a painfully honest boyfriend to push me (and it reached a point where I no longer agreed with his continued criticisms). I only needed the one thing that I had been doing since the moment I left my husband, my job and almost every other comfort in my life. I just needed to make myself uncomfortable!

The more this concept developed in my mind, the more I realize just how little he actually did to help and how much of it came from the things I decided to do. It just so happened that a lot of them took place while I was with him.

Every time I pushed myself up a mountain that I didn't think I could make it up, every time I walked into a social situation I had avoided for years because of my physical insecurities, every time I kept running even though it felt like I was breathing through a straw, every time I befriended someone that I felt intimidated by, every single time I made myself uncomfortable, physically or mentally...I grew.

That's it. 

So, do I accept myself as I am now? Hell no! Never! I love myself! I'm friggin awesome! But I will never ever accept myself because I will never ever stop growing.
Now, it's your turn. Go out there and make yourself REALLY uncomfortable!


7 comments:

  1. Love you Tammy for your attitude..

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  2. I am so very proud of you Tammy and pray that you find the one that can appreciate your strength and beauty. You are right, while one should never get obsessive about most anything, one can still strive to do better in whatever they do. May God bless and watch over you sweetie.

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  3. Just saw your sparkpage this week. I am very proud of you and would like to follow you for a while if it's OK. I lapse a lot and can't get to my home computer more than a couple of times a week. But the spark pages keep reminding me that there is help out there and inspiration if I will just make up my mind to start.

    This post today is very honest and I like it very much. I think that it's good not to fool yourself and to face reality. I just finished watching Fat, Sick and Dying on Netflix and it touched on the same honesty. So you are right on.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. Yes, I hope you will follow me. I've created this blog in the hopes that I can help as many people as possible. And you've already got the most essential part, NEVER GIVE UP!

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  4. I loved this! You started in the same range I was 1 month ago. And you're so right! At 270, I "accepted" myself thinking I alright. I couldn't have said it any better myself. I thank you for your motivational words. 20lbs lighter, and I feel awesome. But Im still uncomfortable where ever I go, and my insecurities of my wardrobes haunt me daily. My breathlessness of just walking up an inclined hill haunts me and makes me want to continue walking to make breathing better.
    Congratulations on your current accomplishments and your journey to this point of your life. God bless you! Youre an inspiration!

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  5. u have no idea how inspiring u are. weight loss rather fat loss is not just exercise n food....its about so much more. i have lost a lot of weight n still to lose more. right now in a tough situation..things not working out.. but i WILL make it work. GOD bless you. YOU r beautiful..... mind body AND soul. just keep posting often..u have no idea how much of a difference your post makes to me..n to all those like me:)

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  6. YES! I know I'm late to this, but I have to say, I am floored by the honesty, and I can relate to it. In the last year of knowing I need to lose 40 lbs that I gained nearly overnight because of a depression, and knowing that I need to get rid of the depression because I gave my life over to it in the last two years, I have come to this same conclusion over and over in the last 18 months - I can love myself, but I cannot confuse loving myself with accepting bullshit that is NOT ME, behaviors and habits that are less than me and the life I can have... granted, during all of this, even finding love for myself has proven to be quite hard. Still, I know I can get there, but I can get there while working to improve my health and stretch beyond the "comfort" of the chocolate covered almonds and reruns of Sex and the City... because all any of that is doing is making me uncomfortable to be me and to live my life. :(

    Thank you so much! Hugs, and I just love you!

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