My Weight Manifesto: Fat acceptance, Part 2
Before I go any deeper into the rabbit hole, know that the concept of me publishing body acceptance ideas on a blog who's audience is almost exclusively a weight loss crowd, is not lost on me :) I'm really just getting some ideas out of my head and if you can appreciate some of what I have to say, that's awesome. If not, that's fine too.
One of the people who has influenced me this past year, was the girl I talked about earlier, Mandy. (but her name isn't really Mandy ;) She not only inspired me during yoga, but with her fearless attitude toward her body. She would write about fat acceptance concepts on her Facebook and in the beginning, I'd cringe and try to ignore it. It made me uncomfortable. I, after all, was not just going to accept my body! Gah, how horrific of an idea! Actually appreciate and love myself...just as I am? *insert sarcasm*. Her ideas sort of remind me of this amazing article about being pretty. CLICK HERE. To read some amazingness. In short, it talks about how we don't owe it to anyone to be pretty. And what does pretty have to do with anything of worth anyways?
I met another amazing woman this year. Through a strange twist of events, our paths crossed and we ended up co-hosting a yoga workshop designed around intuitive eating and body acceptance. She's an intuitive eating coach and therapist extraordinaire. We would sit in coffee shops for hours having the kind of engaging conversations that would fill you up for days. We would talk about yoga, and food and body image, and philosophy and it was really great.
She said something that really resonated with me. I'm not directly quoting, but it was the idea that we need to stop thinking that shaming ourselves into eating "right" or fitting into a certain size will fix anything. I seriously wanted to hug her at that moment, and I probably should have. I'd never heard anything like that before, but it was spot on. Not only should we stop shaming ourselves, we should stop thinking that that's an acceptable behavior. I know I've spent many years feeling like if I could only feel guilty enough, I'd change. All this did was make me feel bad about myself and when you feel bad you make bad decisions.
Fat acceptance, for me, isn't about being lazy and unhealthy and pretending to be ok with it. It's about accepting your body for what it is today without the idea that if only it were different, it would be better. Something amazing starts to creep in when this concept takes hold. You become more grateful for what your body can do and how it looks.
On New Year's day I went snowshoeing for the first time. This was something I thought I'd never do because I was just too big. For one, there's the actual shoes. Snowshoe size is determined by weight and in my head I was like, done...next...not happening. But my husband surprised me with some snowshoes he bought on his own, for me. He even made sure they were the right size and consulted with the snowshoe guru at REI. I love that man. The snowshoe hike was fun, and tiring at the same time. I'd been so worried about the equipment and the altitude (living in CO and exercising in the mountains can be hard) and all the while I forgot to think about the sense of accomplishment I'd have. Here I was, a fat girl, snowshoeing at 10,000k+ feet and I felt totally alive. I had to stop and take a bazillion breaks, but whatever, I did it.
The thing that acceptance is starting to give me, is the freedom to be who I am. I've been living, thinking in my head I wasn't a bigger girl. In denial really. Because of this denial, I'd avoid situations that would cause me to have to remember I'm fat...like snowshoeing etc. I wouldn't avoid working out, but rather events where there would be a chance I'd be uncomfortable. The key really is owning it. Like when we went indoor rock climbing a couple months ago. It was me, my husband and our friend who's maybe 5'1" and 110 lbs. Clearly, she's not belaying me. I'd shoot her up off the ground if I fell, and that's just, well, funny.
So, in short, or long in this case. Fat acceptance isn't the picture I had in my head of a woman who was morbidly obese, bed ridden and saying how she loved life and her body. It's not about admitting any sort of defeat, but instead just totally owning who you are. My experience has shown me that we gravitate towards honest authentic people. You know, those people who just live with out filters and excuses. They don't apologize for who they are. My grandpa was like this. He loved to play golf, and he loved being comfortable. He would cut out the tongues of sneakers so they were looser. He would cut the tops of his socks off. He would cut larger neck holes in his t-shirts. The man was all-comfort-all-the-time and he didn't give a damn. On the golf course, it's expected you look a certain way. There's a dress code. You think he cared? Nope. He'd waltz up in his custom scissor cut sweats and bang the shit out of the golf ball and leave people speechless. People loved him because he was his own man. He just accepted who he was, and lived his life.
So, go cut yourself a larger neck hole in that t-shirt and get out there!