Earlier this week I was looking through my photos for a picture of my nephew to post with his birthday announcement, when I stumbled upon an old photo of myself.
One from when I weighed around 240 pounds.
My face looked so round, my cheeks so puffy. It was like someone had added an extra ring of skin around my face. I didn’t remember looking like that.
There was shock, And, truth be told, sadness.
And then I got angry that I felt sad.
Those photos are me. The same me that is sitting here right now.
I’m always a little bothered when people use “fat” photos as a reminder of what they don’t want to be for the same reason I feel that being disgusted with your body is not a good motivation to lose weight.
Because, as I’ve said before, you can’t hate yourself thin.
As I was looking through the photos, I stayed conscious of what my inner voice was saying, realized it was negative self-talk, and decided to turn it around.
If I’m going to continue moving forward in this way, believing that I can incorporate fat acceptance beliefs into a lifestyle where I’m also actively trying to lose weight, tuning into my thoughts is going to be critical.
Where I am now is only possible because I loved the person in those photos. I believed that person deserved a full life. I let go of the notion that being fat also meant I was sentenced to a lifetime of unhappiness.
I decided in that moment that I was not going to look at old photos and feel sadness, pity, or regret.
Those photos are just me, at a different time in my life, and obviously were taken in a moment that I wanted to remember. My weight in those photos did not define who I was then, just as my weight does not define who I am now.
Accepting and loving your body doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work, just like any change you want to make. You have to chose to do it every day, especially when confronted with something like old photos. That’s when it is the most important to not slip into a negative space.
It might feel weird at first, if you are used to bashing your body, but if you catch yourself enough times during negative self-talk and switch to a body-positive message, it will become a habit. And it will, of course, be worth it.
“The mind is everything. What you think you become” – Buddha