A few years back I did a year-long series on banning “fat talk” from my vocabulary. I shared stories of women (including many of you!) who had struggled to overcome negative body image issues and are working to ban fat talk from their own vocabulary in an effort to be kind to their bodies and their minds. After finishing up my “No Fat Talk Tuesday” series, I felt accomplished and mostly free from my own form of fat talk and negative self talk in general. But I got a little lax and I let myself slip and gradually, over time, the fat talk slipped back into my daily routine. Sometimes out loud and sometimes just to myself when I looked in the mirror before work.
Over the last couple months I’ve felt out of place in my body, and at times I’ve felt at war with my body, too. Between feeling sick from being pregnant and eating all sorts of strange foods I don’t usually eat (potato chips, anyone?) and then miscarrying, I was left feeling unsettled and strange in the body that I had finally felt so comfortable in for the last two years. Sure, before this my body wasn’t perfect, but I felt like I had found my happy place. But after I miscarried, I started to feel negatively toward my body. In my weaker moments I believed that my body, now a couple pudgy pounds heavier than usual, had failed me.
When I was overcoming some of my issues with food what helped me most was to focus on what my body could do instead of the things I didn’t like about it. But after the miscarriage, that strategy didn’t work quite as well. Sure, I could run a half marathon and countless other road races, I could play tennis for hours and lift heavy weights and do yoga for 90 minutes in a hot room but the one thing I wanted my body to do, carry a child, was the one thing my body didn’t seem able to do (at least not yet!) I started to let the thoughts like “I’m fat and pudgy and I look horrible!” creep back into my vocabulary more often than I would like to admit.
I share this not to get compliments and make myself feel better or to put on a front of humility, but to encourage all you women who are still just human beings, prone to take steps backward now and again. Recently I’ve fallen off the “No Fat Talk” bandwagon, but this month my goal is to be kind to my body and give myself the grace and compassion I would offer any of you reading this post.
Am I a little softer around the middle than I would like to be? Absolutely! Have I felt betrayed by my body? If I’m being honest, yes. But being hard on that same body isn’t going to do me any good. Instead, I’m filling myself up with the good things: God’s word, water, vegetables, exercise, and a re-commitment to putting the scale away. And I’m tossing out the bad things: Unkind words, self punishment, giving voice to the negative thoughts.
Have any of you fallen off the “No Fat Talk” bandwagon? How have you gotten back on track?
P.S.: I’m also participating in The May Challenge over at Thyme is Honey for anyone who wants to join in, it’s not too late!