How was I supposed to accept my new body after gaining the weight?
I had to stop exercising and start eating more food (no more restricting calories), so that I could recover from the ill effects of over training and under eating. I could have slowly added in more food but I felt like my body was shutting down. So I chose the quickest possible way to heal. This opened the door for some rapid weight gain. I had to figure out how to accept my new body after the weight gain.
Even though my physical symptoms disappeared, I was left 50 pounds heavier and emotionally not in a good place. I felt broken, like a failure, and unworthy of love or acceptance. I didn’t want to leave my house or have people see me. When I did, I would hear, “Oh I didn’t even recognize you”. I got so sick of hearing that. How could I accept this new body after so much weight gain?
I figured I had two choices.
I decided I could either hide from the world and be miserable, or I could learn to accept it and start living my best life. I knew I wasn’t going to go down the extreme dieting and exercise route again. I had to learn how to live happily in my body right now. For my body could change again. I had the epiphany, what really mattered was my mindset and not my physical appearance.
But how in the world was I going to accomplish this? When I looked in the mirror I didn’t even recognize myself.
I focused on gratitude.
The first thing I decided to do was focus on gratitude. I had heard that gratitude was the opposite of anxiety. What I was feeling around my body was definitely anxiety. So I grabbed a pen and my journal and started writing. I wrote down every single thing I could think of that I was grateful for in my life. Things as simple as green grass and peanut butter to big things like my family and my faith.
Then I narrowed it down and made it more body focused. I wrote down anything that came to mind when I thought about what my body did for me. I had arms that could hug, legs that could chase my kids, lungs that let me take deep breaths, eyes to see the beauty around me. A body that knew how to keep me alive even when I wasn’t feeding it enough food.
Gratitude was a catalyst for me in my mindset shift. It helped propel me toward the next steps. I noticed when I practiced gratitude I was happier and less focused on my weight gain.
Changing my thought patterns from negative to positive.
I stopped entertaining negative thoughts in my head about body image. When I had a negative thought pop up I would immediately tell myself to stop it. I would then replace it with a positive one.
For example, if I had the thought, “I’m so chubby, who would want to be my friend”, I would tell myself “stop, that’s not true”. I would then replace it with a more positive thought such as, “I am kind and loving, and non judgmental, and that makes me a good friend.”
It soon became second nature, and after a while those negative thoughts would pop up less and less. Sure, they still come once in a while but I now know how to manage them.
I decided to show up anyway.
For awhile, I didn’t leave my house. I hid from reality. If I didn’t go out, then no one could see me and judge me for gaining weight. But I soon realized this was only hurting me. Did it really matter what people thought about my body? I decided it didn’t.
I started showing up in the world. I didn’t make excuses anymore and I got myself out of victim mode and felt empowered.
When I would run into people I hadn’t seen for a long time I would flash a big smile and just be myself. I attended events, parties, and lunches, and stopped missing out on life. AND I didn’t die. I didn’t get made fun of. I didn’t feel inferior.
If people were silently judging me for my weight gain I realized it was their problem. Which probably stemmed from their own insecurities or beliefs about diet culture. I didn’t make it my problem. It was SO freeing!
Saying so long to Fitspo.
As I scrolled through my social media feeds I noticed I was following lots of fitness accounts with only one body type. The type that the fitness industry deems acceptable but one that is probably unattainable for the majority of women.
So I started unfollowing any accounts that would bring up negative thoughts or emotions for me. I started filling my feed with lots of Labradoodles, baking, body positive, and feel good accounts with women of all body shapes and sizes.
This allowed me to have a positive experience on social media instead of leaving my session feeling less than or inadequate. It made a huge difference in how I viewed my body. I saw that all bodies are good bodies.
Fake it ’til you make it.
In the beginning, as I started going back out into the world and experiencing life 50 pounds heavier I had to fake it. I had to put on a smile and pretend like everything was fine inside. It was scary and it was hard.
The more I did it, the more I realized it was up to me how I felt and viewed my body, and the easier it got. The more confident I became. The less I cared about what other people might be thinking.
The old saying, fake it ’til you make it really rang true for me when it came to accepting my new body shape. I am so glad I decided to show up in the world anyway and fake it until I made it.
I created a 4 week workbook.
People started noticing my newfound confidence and zest for life and would ask what had changed. At the time I couldn’t narrow it down to just one thing. I would try and explain that I no longer felt weighed down by food restriction, body shame, or the need to be something or someone else.
It was hard for people to grasp in just one short conversation. Besides it didn’t happen for me overnight either. So I decided to compile all I had learned and applied in my life into a workbook.
I wrote it to be a four week guide to kickstart people toward living their best life free from body shame, extreme dieting, and food rules. I break it down into bite size steps each week. This makes it manageable and less overwhelming for most.
Are you ready to start feeling more freedom too? Click below to grab my workbook.