I think I’m going to be ok, though.
(trigger warning for body image discussion - and this is all just my personal experience and struggles, everyone is different)
The title of this post was a hard thing for me to write down, in black and white.
I got fat, quickly. I gained 70 lbs in under a year. It was a perfect storm - I was coming out of depression and eating again, equipped with a crashed metabolism and no motivation to exercise. I returned to my normal habits - which were by no means all that bad - but those no longer cut it. I developed a sudden intolerance of nuts and seeds that was causing me to have trouble eating everything for a while, and I was finding too much comfort in the bland food I had to rely upon in the meantime.
The weight stayed; no conventional strategies would budge it, no matter how hard I tried, how much I tortured myself, I couldn’t lose ONE POUND. I enlisted a somewhat shitty expert, followed by a great one, and started losing weight. Very slowly.
At this point, I was really trying to focus on health. My heaviness, my hurting joints, and not being able to wear my favorite clothes - this was like the depression I’d worked so hard to pull out of, just hanging on me. This was about more than looks - this was me trying to return to a place that felt more like I was used to. I just feel unfamiliar to myself.
One of the strategies that has helped me to be consistently healthy in my habits is to basically only worry about them about half the time - a suggestion from my dietitian. This attitude has worked wonders because it allowed me to detach moral judgement from food choices.
However, I’m not going to lose much more weight before my wedding. I have been losing 2-3 lbs a month for a while. I knew that I would have to kick that up to about 6 lbs a month if I really wanted to get close to where I used to be. At some point, though, I realized that I’m not motivated to kick it into gear like that...and it isn’t really a willpower issue.
Even though I decided to shrug it off a little, I’ve noticed just how serious everyone in my life is about it. If I say, “I’ve gained weight and I’m happy,” someone will offer me weight loss tips. They can’t even hear it correctly, because what they hear is “I’ve gained weight, and despite that I’m happy.” What I mean is, “I am happy, and I am fat, and they are happening at the same time.” I’m not happy because I’m fat, I’m just happy and fat.
It’s ok to not hate ourselves, even if we are in an unhealthy place (which, I have been, but is not true for all larger people). This is what body positivity is about. I have been unhealthy, I got fat, and I don’t have to self-flagellate over it. I don’t have to repent, I don’t owe anyone guilt.
I am happy not focusing on it, and I have been getting healthier. The first thing that has helped me to become healthier, in my entire life, was to stop hating myself for eating, and I don’t really know how I did that. I feel peaceful right now, a peace that I have tried to find for a lifetime. If I start focusing on what those wedding pictures look like, I’m going to lose that peace.
I’m going to look how I look and I’m going to wear the dress that is the size it is, and that’s my wedding. I never had any extreme weight loss plans, but I’d envisioned myself finding some sort of SuperBride motivation...but I just want to stay right here, slowly floating toward where I want to be and not giving myself a deadline.
The six-months-until-wedding mark hit in April, and that’s when I knew I was past the point of no return. I cannot lose the amount of weight I always intended to without compromising my health. I can’t lose a *significant* amount without giving up my whole life to commit to losing the weight. I won’t do it. It’s not worth it.
My dress is being made. People who haven’t seen me since I was thin are going to see me very different. People who’ve never met me are going to meet me as Boyancé’s fat bride. My wedding photos, etched in stone forever, are going to feature this fat, unfamiliar me.
It is what it is, though. I do have a little anxiety about those things, but I just don’t have room for much. It has been such a long, uphill battle for me to strengthen myself emotionally - I can’t let image issues destroy all this progress. I can’t give it up; I’m not happy when I’m focused on what I look like. I wasn’t happy with my body thin either.
There are not enough workouts in the world that will make me feel good enough. There is not a size I can be that will make me feel good enough. I don’t know if I’ll ever be happy with my appearance. But coming to that realization and deciding that I refuse to hold myself to impossible standards has made me decide that I am going to be OK as a fat bride.
Anyone at the ceremony who has any comments or nasty thoughts about it can fuck right off.
This post brought to you by my years of reading loving support from Groupthinkers to other Groupthinkers.