Photo by Jason Harrell 2018
Dear future self,
What do you know?
Do you remember when Madonna was pregnant? Or how quickly she ‘recovered’ after giving birth?
I was 15 or 16 at the time and the only story I had heard up to that point was that once you were pregnant and gave birth your body would never be the same again.
No one I knew was happy with how they looked after giving birth, everybody said it was difficult if not impossible to lose the extra pounds again.
Yet, Madonna went back to her firm self in no time. I knew that she didn’t use any magic for that, she simply had people who knew about nutrition and workout, that helped her to look the way she wanted to.
I remember this so well, because I wondered, how it can be that there is knowledge out there, but that not all people have access to it.
Understanding, that we could change our stories if we had access to that knowledge, I still had no idea how to obtain it.
At that time, I was so caught up in shame and insecurities, that the last thing I wanted was to look like Madonna or draw any attention to me or my body.
So, I stored the information in the back of my mind, until it came out again recently as I see my body changing in ways I had never thought possible.
Despite that Madonna realization in my teens, I continued to believe that certain features I had were inherited. The places where my body stored fat and where it doesn’t for example.
I did think it was a fact of my genetics and that some shapes of my body would always be that way. It still surprises me to see how wrong I was.
I have struggled with weight issues and my body image as long as I can remember. But I also felt that my struggles were not my own.
I thought that the reason why I felt bad about my body was because society told me to be a certain way and I just wasn’t.
It’s funny how wrong I was. I was really in deep conflict with myself. I basically didn’t want to have a body and tried to ignore it as much as I could or punish it when the ignoring didn’t work.
Slowly I came to accept it, but it was still more based on defensiveness than on self-love.
I thought that only because I didn’t like my body or tried to avoid it, wouldn’t give anyone else the right to judge it or me because of it. Which is true.
So, the only way I knew how to be or to feel empowered was to go out and present my unloved and misunderstood body proudly.
I tried to look and be confident, even when I wasn’t.
I thought with presenting a certain image and my body boldly, proudly, I would help to normalize it. That I could change how society would see plus size bodies, and that that in return would make me feel better about myself.
Dear Reader, if you think that way: it never works. No outside perspective will ever change how you feel about yourself.
You have to make a start and sometimes it’s not just about changing your mindset. Sometimes you have to change your diet and your behaviours to be able to experience something new and unbelievable first hand.
Because without it, if you can’t remember ever feeling different, you don’t know what you’re missing, how far things are really off, how you’re not yourself, at least I wasn’t.
What no one ever talked about, or maybe I just didn’t hear it, is how much better you feel without all that extra weight (and I didn’t even have that much). Not just physically, but mentally. How the connection to your brain and your feelings changes.
Looking at the picture of myself with the dogs that I posted above, I can barely find myself. I see a person in hiding.
The thing is, when we change our diet, when we stop eating sugar, our head finally clears and we become more free in ways that were impossible for me to imagine before.
I remember a friend talking about how unwell they felt because they weren’t eating well and had put on some extra weight.
Under any description, they were still very slim and it seemed strange to me because I couldn’t even tell the difference in their appearance and as a result, I couldn’t imagine that it would feel different.
Now I know that it can. I don’t know if I could ever have understood that without the experience.
When my body started to change, I never wanted to lose weight. I just wanted a more healthy diet and lifestyle.
Within a couple of months, I lost 20 kg effortlessly. Changing my general food was not a problem for me at all. But to stop eating sugar was.
They say that sugar is a drug stronger than any other, and I do feel it. I could stop smoking without effort, I could stop drinking alcohol, but cutting out sugar? I had withdrawal headaches for weeks. And I haven’t even started to limit my carbs because there’s still fear and feeling of dependency.
And I still relapse, too. When stress gets too high, sugary food is all I crave.
This topic is too big for today’s morning writing routine, so I will come back to it because I’m quite passionate about it too.
But for today I will close with the reminder, that much more is possible than we know.
It’s so incredible to see the power of our diet not only on our body but also on our mental well-being.
If you can make small changes, go for it. If you want some support, do reach out.
One of my guiding quotes, originally from the Asaro Tribe is: “Knowledge that is not in your bones is just a rumour.”
In one way it points to the fact that we shouldn’t preach anything we don’t practice, but also I feel that you really can’t know or understand certain concepts or feelings, if you haven’t experienced them yourself.
Change is possible in so many ways we don’t even know yet because we’ve never experienced them.
Which is why it’s so important to start. Because one small change might awaken your taste for more and open new worlds. Like it certainly has for me.
Dear future self, what do you know now? What new experiences did you have lately?
Dear reader, are you going to try something new today? I hope you will. I hope we both will.
With love and curiosity,