This is kind of a hard post to write because it means me finding my voice and maybe going against something that I’ve been told over and over again. I’ve also learned to take the good from something and to be okay if I don’t agree with every part.
The body positive community is a tough one. On one hand, they helped me to learn to hate my body less, learn to eat more balanced (and stop dieting), learn to not feel guilty if I don’t eat perfectly, helped me to understand that fat phobia is a real thing and I’m in the process of overcoming that, helped me to see others in a different light, helped me to learn to eat when hungry and stop when full (intuitive eating), and much more! On the other hand, they are very feminist (which I have mixed feelings about), very anti-weight loss (which I have mixed feelings about because what if weight loss is the outcome of intuitive eating and joyful movement?), and I feel that they don’t seem to think that health is all that important.
I have been feeling guilty for wanting to eat healthy, for wanting to exercise (and have goals in this area), and for disagreeing with the community in any way, shape, or form.
Today I have been talking with the ladies in the Healthy Habits, Happy Moms group that I’m in, and they have helped me to feel empowered to do what I want for myself, my body, and my mental/physical/emotional health. Dieting doesn’t work. Habit change and intuitive eating does work. And if I don’t lose weight due to being healthy, that’s okay too. Healthy habits are my goal. I have decided that it’s okay if I want to start running again (despite being told that I shouldn’t). I want to become strong again. I want to be able to run a 5k again. I want to be able to hike long-distance again. I want to be able to feel good and not need a nap every day. I want to be able to backpack long-distance again. I want to continue to have a balanced view of food and feel okay with eating Cheetos, but also feel good about eating veggies. I don’t want to feel guilty for either. I want health to be my goal but to not feel guilty for wanting to lose weight in the back of my mind. I can’t help it and it doesn’t make me a bad person.
For my self care, I am going back to focusing on healthy habits. The two that I’m going to work on are: Doing Couch to 5k and reducing sugar in my coffee. I will continue eating balanced, taking vitamins/meds/supplements, and working on self love. The behaviors of exercise and balanced eating are what make me feel good, so that’s what I want. I also want to feel strong. When I was running before I felt so proud of myself and accomplished. I was able to handle so much physically. I ended up backpacking 23 miles in one day at one time (that wasn’t planned and I hurt for days afterwards, but I did it!). When we backpack, we typically hike 13-14 miles on average in a day. I want to be able to do that again! Right now, if I walk up a hill I feel terrible. I am so out of shape. I will probably also start doing strength training again eventually, but I’ll get there… don’t want to overwhelm myself. Three days of walking/running is sufficient for now! Self care is my goal, but if weight loss is the outcome, that doesn’t make me anti-body positive.
I want to also eventually try to increase my water intake and decrease my soda intake… but that’ll come. One habit at a time! Studies show that the more habits you try to change the least successful you are at actually making those changes.
The biggest thing that I am learning lately is that I need to stop caring so much what people say or think. I need to do what I need to do for myself. The same thing happened with my desire to homeschool. It all comes down to what’s best for me and what’s best for our family!
Robert completely agrees with me on all of this, and I’m so happy to have his support!