About a year ago, I was put on birth control for PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). And since then, I have gained an unspecified amount of weight that my brain considers to be a large number of pounds. I’ve had to buy a lot of new clothes and pull a lot of clothes that no longer fit out of my wardrobe. When I see older pictures of myself, even from only a year ago, I see my past self as incredibly thin. I wish I was that thin again. What’s wild though, is at the time those pictures were taken, I didn’t think I was thin. I was already worrying about gaining weight. I already didn’t love my body.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the mindset that if I had my “old” body I would be happy with my body. If I could somehow go back, then I would appreciate the body I used to have. In reality though, at every stage of the past few years of my body aging and changing, I was still self-conscious rather than self-loving. I catch myself wishing for my old body, but when I had that body, it still wasn’t enough. So, what’s the answer? Can it be so simple as to love my body now regardless of its shape and weight?
Of course, this is easier said than done, but maybe it also can really be that simple. Wishing for my past body is useless. I can’t go back in time. Wishing for a specific future body is just as silly. All bodies age and change over time, and I need to be on this medication for my health. I believe in the HAES (health at every size) model, and I acknowledge the research that supports that diets don’t work (Christy Harrison summarizes it well). What I am left with then is my current body, in this very moment. It’s a classic mindfulness exercise. Rather than focus on the past or the future, why not love my body now?
And moreover, I can still love my “old,” thinner body and all it did for me then. And when my unknown future body becomes present reality, I can love that body too. This love can all co-exist. And still, the only body I can have presently is the one I’m in now. We are so conditioned by diet culture to not love our bodies as they are, especially around the New Year. Somehow, a new orbit of Earth around the sun means we can have renewed energy to dislike ourselves. In contrast, self-love can be an act of revolution.
I’ve realized that if we keep waiting to appreciate our bodies as they once were or as we hope they may one day be, that day will never come. The only day that can come is today. Today is here. My body is as it is today. And I want to love my body right now.