Around the "healthy living" blog world everyone is talking about the release of a book by Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point called Operation Beautiful as part of the book release celebration she is inviting people to write guest posts about body image and linking them to Operationbeautiful.com. The idea with Operation Beautiful is to post anonymous notes for other women to find telling them they are beautiful in the hopes of helping women everywhere see themselves in a more positive light. I think this is a truly awesome idea and so I wanted to write a guest post too about body image.
Over the past year my body and I have not been great friends sometimes. Thanks to all the emotional crap I've been dealing with since graduation, in the past year I have fluctuated from being almost underweight (based on BMI) to being the heaviest I have been since freshman year of college. Finding a balance has been a struggle, but now I'm making strides to eat better and exercise. And I have had some great success with it so far. I eat about 50 times more fruits and veggies than I EVER used to and I exercise 6 days a week. I am the healthiest I have probably ever been in my life right now and I know it. But still I have issues seeing myself that way. Sometimes I still despair that I can't fit into the size 2's I foolishly bought in the winter when the very sight of food disgusted me. Sometimes I can't see how healthy I am. Sometimes all I can see is that my 4's just don't fit the way they did in college. Sometimes I see myself as a number and not a person. And because of those feelings I sometimes have I thought maybe I shouldn't write a post for this thing- since my body image isn't necessarily great right now on anything resembling a consistent basis. So what would I write about that anyone could benefit from really?
Well inspiration came to me, as it often does, in the form of my amazing friends. I am all in a tizzy anticipating Lexi and Laura's visit at the end of the month, and I started thinking about how I see them and how they see me. Lexi and Laura are two of the most beautiful women in the world to me. And I started thinking how sad it would make me if they felt about their bodies the way I've been feeling about mine. Because for me if they didn't see themselves as beautiful and amazing people that would just seem absurd- because to me they are so much more than sizes or numbers- they are the foundation of the life I'm living and have made me stronger just by existing in the world. A number on a scale could never ever define one damn thing about who they are to me. And I know they feel exactly the same way about me. Size 2 or size 22- to them I would be exactly the same. They see me for who I really am and have decided that person is beautiful. I need to remember that more often. That the people in your life that are worth keeping are the ones who can see your whole self without ever needing to look at you.
And of course they aren't the only ones that feel that way about me. This goes for my family and many more of my amazing friends. I think it probably upsets them all more that I'm not feeling good about myself than it ever would if I gained 50 pounds, as long as I was happy. So my goal from now on should merely be to see myself the way that those who love me see me. Not to run another mile, or eat another salad. But to see the beauty in myself that goes deeper than a dress size, the beauty that I can see in those I love best. The beauty that is so absurdly obvious in them to me, and in me to them- I will try every day to see it too.