In an attempt to be as brutally honest about body acceptance through an eating disordered mind, I am going to show some of the negative thoughts that prompt me to seek radical acceptance.
My husband and I recently arrived in my second favorite country (second only to the U.S.A.) on Earth–Belize, Central America. Coming in for a landing the view is beyond breathtaking as one side of the aircraft showcases crystal clear blue ocean views and the other displays a jungle of peaks clouded with the mist of afternoon rain. I love it. I couldn’t keep from smiling because we were only one puddle jumper plane away from our destination in the south of the country. However, for the better half of the international flight from Atlanta I was keenly aware an unwanted guest boarded the plane and was traveling with us. That’s right, my eating disordered brain decided to crash my romantic honeymoon-esque getaway before we even arrived! The eating disordered part of my brain grew loud, “You are so fat you shouldn’t be allowed to be on this trip. [Allowed? What am I, 10?] At least last year you were thinner. [Yeah, and sick.] Your dress makes you look like a cow trying to go tropical and you drank too much alcohol and ate too much food on this flight. Failure.” For a long while I entertained these thoughts and found myself doubting not only my clothing choice but my entire body and being.
**On a side note, as part of my body acceptance I am working to only pick and wear one outfit each morning rather than raiding my entire closet. This is proving challenging and creates insecurities as I have grown accustomed changing clothes multiple times before walking out the door.**
In times like this it can be so much harder to turn the mind toward radical acceptance because it is so easy to give in and allow the negative eating disordered thoughts to rule my brain, completely disrupting my day. I actually entertained the thoughts for several hours before I realized I was allowing them to darken my entire day. “Okay, eating disorder,” I thought, “two can play this game and I already know who will win.” (Just in case you have any doubts, I was referring to me.)
1. I don’t particularly like how I look right now and that is OK.
2. I have legs that allowed me to walk through airports and arms that carried my (heavily) loaded bag.
3. My thighs have stretch marks and cellulite but they helped me walk to the grocery store so I could purchase items to stay on my recovery meal plan.
4. My stomach is no longer flat and it sags from carrying Vivienne and I am so thankful it did.
5. My face is broken out from stress but right now it gets to feel the sea air breeze and the warmth of the sun.
6. My body is a gift from God. The same God that has allowed me to visit this beautiful place not once, but twice. God is amazing and He doesn’t make mistakes.
7. My body isn’t what it used to be but it allows me to fill a place on this Earth that only I can fill. No one else looks like me and no one else gets to be me.
Believe it or not, going through the thought process and coming up with those seven radical beliefs helped. No, I don’t suddenly love myself and think I am the most beautiful woman on the planet; far from it, but I appreciate myself and my God. I appreciate my body for all it has done and continues to do even after the eating disordered abuse I put it through. I appreciate God and His plans and provision for my life. Mostly, right now, in this moment, I appreciate the fight I have to put up to be appreciative because it grants me wisdom and insight many do not have. While those who never have to battle an eating disorder are very fortunate, how often do they sit down and reflect on appreciating their bodies? My guess is they don’t.
So, my mantra for the remainder of this beautiful trip will be exactly what I put on bold italics earlier because it resonated with my heart:
No one else looks like me and no one else gets to be me
With Body Love,