The picture above is a throw back to August 2018, when I was at my leanest.
I had worked with a nutrition coach, measuring and tracking every macro, to get to a goal of “shredded” for a photoshoot. I wanted to “look the part”. I wanted to prove that I could do it. I wanted to be comfortable in my skin. I expected that being lean would mean I would have more credibility, more respect, and just maybe, more self love.
I got a lot praise at my leanest and – I won’t lie – the compliments felt great. I loved wearing whatever I wanted without worrying about my squishy bits showing. It felt good to have strangers approach me and ask what I did for fitness – as if I was suddenly more knowledgeable or credible based on my appearance. But aside from that, there was a lot that being leaner DIDN’T do for me.
Did it ACTUALLY make me more credible and respected? Nope. Being leaner didn’t make me more qualified to teach a deadlift, write an effective running program, or even to inspire my athletes or patients. They are more interested in hearing what I have to say than judging my waistline. And any that ARE judging? Well that has a lot more to do with their own baggage than it has anything to do with me.
Did it make me more loved? Nope. My little girls see me as the most beautiful, strong and awesome Mom in the world, no matter what. And bless his undiscerning heart, my husband thinks I’m sexy any day at any size. And my friends? My real, true friends don’t give a flying F how lean I am. They just want me to be happy. They love me for who I am, not what I look like.
Logically, this makes sense (duh). I don’t love or respect anyone else less based on their weight – so why should it be different for me? Oh… but it is, right? Don’t we hold ourselves up against different standards? Aren’t we often the harshest critics of ourselves, even while we bestow kindness, love and acceptance to those around us? I can’t be the only one!
Now, months later – I’m a bit heavier. I’m not as lean. I have noticed that I don’t get all the compliments anymore – and that’s OK. But other than that, nothing has changed. My family and friends still love me the same – perhaps more as I’m happier when I eat the damn chocolate. Maybe you are too.
If you have weight loss or body composition goals, I will NEVER shame you for that. Trust me, I get it and your body = your choice – ALWAYS. If you are like me, you were brought up in a society that tells us that as women, smaller is better. We have been programmed to believe that how we look matters more than it actually does and certainly more than it should. That programming doesn’t change overnight. We can’t just wish those beliefs away. They are interwoven into our values, our attitudes, and our concept of ourselves and our place in the world. But we can work on them.
My beliefs and the power that I give to my appearance in defining my self worth – those are things that I am working on every day. Some days I have all the self love… and other days, the dialogue in my head when I look in the mirror is not cool. It’s a process. So, wherever you are in this, I’m with you.
Perhaps losing weight is something that you are pursuing for health reasons, based on medical advice. If that’s the case, you have my full support in your journey towards a healthier weight if that’s your goal. And if you have these goals for other reasons including aesthetics, I will hold space for you. You are still welcome here.
But if you already ARE a healthy weight (whatever the hell that is – a conversation for another day as size does NOT dictate health!), perhaps it’s time you gently challenged your own beliefs regarding what defines your self worth. Perhaps it’s time you realized what being leaner DOESN’T do for you. And maybe then, you might be just a little more accepting of the person in your mirror as well.
Because you are so much more than your appearance.
You are more than your 6-pack abs or lack thereof.
You are more than the number on the scale.
You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are worthy.
Just as you are.
Originally published May 6, 2019 at Teresa Waser – RX Physio (@rxphysio) • Instagram photos and videos