Wednesday, January 14

The Real Enemy & Why You Need To Love Yourself Regardless.

Since New Years Eve I've been having many conversations with my friends about the importance or lack there of of the scale when it comes to weight loss, getting fit, and just our general perspective of the scale, especially as females in a body obsessed society. These conversations also had me having all sorts of thoughts about self love and how it is connected to what society, the media and whoever else tells us how we have to look to be able to love ourselves.  I decided to try and organize my thoughts and weigh in on it (pun intended) here at beingbaileyj.com. Bare with me... this shit gets me fired up and it's word vomit from there on out.

I first started worrying about my weight, my fitness level and how many calories I was consuming around age 9 or 10. One of my best friends started running at this age and started listing off the calories of everything we ate at the school cafeteria every day. Looking back, I wish someone had intervened there, for all of us girls, to teach us the things that I personally wouldn't learn until now, almost 15 years later.

Since then it's been up and down. I lost weight in middle school, gained steady through high school, lost 45lbs in my junior year and then gained it all back by my graduation. Then after meeting my first boyfriend who was less than pleased with my body type combined with my own lifelong insecurities with my body, I started religiously hitting the gym and eating mostly like a rabbit when I was 19. I lost almost 50lbs and looked the best I've ever looked in my life that year. I also felt great as, for the most part, I was treating my body very well. Now, 4 years later I've gained it all back, and a couple more, and I'm just now starting over back at the gym, back to eating half normal, back to trying to be healthy.

There is something extremely different this time around compared to the years before. I'm older and not particularly wiser but at least more experienced and I have so much more knowledge about weight loss and body love. And here is what I've learned in 10+ years of this struggle : the scale is your fucking enemy.

That number doesn't mean shit. Our society is obsessed with numbers, obsessed with bodies and making them perfect, obsessed with making women (and men to a different extent) feel as though our bodies are never good enough. From thigh gaps to bikini bridges to having a big fat ass and not an ounce of fat anywhere else on your body - these ideas are extremely unrealistic and not even physically attainable for most women!

Instagram is also your enemy, as my friend Tamara pointed out to me the other day. I have so many friends who follows reams of pages of thinspiration and fitspiration and before and afters and having goals is fine but having unrealistic goals is unhealthy and discouraging.

Here is the cold hard truth : not every body is made to have a thigh gap and you may literally never have one until your flesh is rotting off of your bones in your grave. Bikini bridges are just plain stupid - who even THOUGHT of that bullshit?. Big fat asses are wonderful in all their glory but some of us, including me - the flat ass queen of the world, will NEVER have a big round booty and most of us wont be able to achieve one without a surgery (which is totally fine if thats the route you'd like to go). Either way - it's all good. These things exist, yes, but they are not attainable for all body types.

And here is the most important truth of all - the truth every person needs to discover - none of that bullshit matters.. like.. at all. People with thigh gaps and perfect bodies still hate their bodies and girls with the bootys that Id die to have been blessed with wish they could slim it down. There are girls who are whispy thin who wish they could gain weight. Many of us, even girls who have the body you would do anything for, want to be things we aren't.

Here is the most awesome truth of all, that I have only recently discovered: imperfect people, with imperfect bodies, still love themselves and those with perfect bodies sometimes do not. The most important lesson I've learned is that it is absolutely okay to love your body at any weight. In my opinion, we have no other choice but to try to love ourselves and our bodies before we can ever be happy with them.

It does not matter if I get to my goal weight and I all of a sudden have this glorious Beyonce body - that will not make me love myself, it will not make me happy, and I will still find something to hate if I try hard enough. Although I would look bangin' to everybody else - I would probably still find something in the mirror to criticize. This, I believe, is because society, the media and even our peers are constantly putting a billion different ideas of what we need to look like in our heads. It's such bulllllllshit.

You have to choose to love yourself - it's a mindset, not a physical state. You have to choose to love your body. You have to stop paying attention to the scale.. even when you're working your anus off and you think it should be moving. Ultimately that number is irrelevant. Appreciate your body for all the amazing things it does for you. After all.. the body you have now is the body that will do all the work to get you the body you want.

This week I ran 10 minutes on the treadmill. Thats a warm up for most active people but for me it was huge. I lifted weights and then I said "fuck you" to the ideas in my head that told me I couldn't run more and I went and put in 10 more minutes running on the treadmill. My body rocks. My body is powerful. It is wonderful and sexy and whoever put the ideas in my head and in all of our heads that we couldn't love these bodies, ALL of them, can go fuck themselves. Although my stomach is huge and drapes down my midsection from constant loss and gain, although my arm fat dangles while I lift weights, although my thighs rub and chafe just walking around work and although my skin is broken out and bruised - this body is awesome. Period. I love my body and although I am getting healthier and working towards a healthier version of this body, I have made a promise to put in effort to love my body at every single weight and size I feel like.

This body is running, this body is lifting weights, this body has been through all the good and bad times and it's mine and that's that. This body is also sleeping with a really hot guy so fuck you, society! Many, in fact most people would look at my body and never wish to have it. And that's totally fine. But it's none of your business whether I love my body or not because I'm the one living my life in it so run along.

Love your body. Love it for everything that it is, everything that it can do and everything that it can be. Treat your body with respect - it will thank you! Don't let anyone tell you anything about your body - it's none of their God damn business. Love yourself - you're absolutely wonderful.

Big Love,
Bailey 

8 comments:

  1. Your body and your mind are beautiful.

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  2. Love your blog Bailey, I'm 54 years old and I'm just starting to love my body for all it's imperfections, so your way ahead of the game. Keep on keeping on girl.

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  3. Hi - I've been reading you for a long while, now. So glad to see you are blogging again! I am always rooting for you to be happy, whatever that may be. You are sounding really positive and all in your recent posts - it is nice to see :)

    I agree with everything you said, but I will have to say, one thing DID stick out to me in your post as strange... when you said you are sleeping with a really hot guy (which, YAY! but not my point) and used it to point out that your body is good enough how it is, no matter what society might say. But I guess describing the guy as hot is the strange point... would it have mattered if he were "ugly" by society's standards? Would it still have been a point you made?

    I get confused about issues about self-love, body-love, society's messages, what healthy really is, what is really important... I struggle to understand the complexities of it all, especially because I have been disordered for a long time and am trying to STOP being that way.

    I guess I would just caution you to include society's expectations of men in your thoughts on this matter. Does a guy have to be hot for it to be a good thing that he wants us?

    Hope I didn't offend you, just wanted to bring up a talking point! I've seen some articles out there about men's own issues with media and societal portrayls of what they are expected to be, too.

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  4. Outrageous, in a very GOOD Way! Go BaileyJ!

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  5. Love this. All of it. The whole damn thing. Well said, girl.

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  6. I was with you right up until the end. "This body is also sleeping with a really hot guy so fuck you, society!"

    Really?

    You spend a post writing about how YOU accept your body and that is the most important thing, but then you offer that you're sleeping with a "hot" guy as if that contributes to whether your body is acceptable or not.

    What does that mean for women who aren't sleeping with "hot" guys, or any guys? Are there bodies less acceptable?

    Also, why does it matter that the person you're sleeping with is "hot"? What if he had acne or was overweight or in some other way unattractive by society's standards?

    I'm genuinely confused and sad about how you ended the post.

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  7. Don't apologize for a thing, Hon. People *choose* to be offended.

    To say you're sleeping with a hot guy only means that he is hot in your eyes. If you posted a picture of him, some of your readers would agree that he is hot, some would think he's average and some would think he's fug. But, they would be judging on looks alone and we all know that that is not the only thing that makes someone attractive. That being said...

    Yes, it does matter that you find the guy you're sleeping with hot. You better, otherwise, you'd be sleeping with someone you find repulsive.

    If you find someone with a personality that complements yours, who treats his friends and family in a way that makes you smile, who treats you the way you want to be treated, who shares the same interests as you, who has a good sense of humor, etc., *that's* what makes him hot.

    He may very well have acne and he may very well be overweight, she never said he didn't and wasn't. That does not in any way mean that she doesn't think he's hot. You are attaching what YOU consider to be hot to her statement, which is silly. I, myself prefer men who are large, I'm not attracted to thin men generally, but I've dated a few underweight fella's, and I've dated a few who's skin wasn't perfect, I didn't care that much about it, because they more they talked the more attractive they became. Maybe they wouldn't be hot to you, but they were to me. See, beauty is in the eye of the beholder; having attributes that sound unattractive on paper (or by society's standards) doesn't mean squat in the real world.

    People have sex, we should be happy that she is with someone that she really likes and finds attractive.

    Go for it,girl! Snag yourself a hotty :))

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