The one with the bathing suit

Remember that time I posted a picture of myself in a bathing suit online? You can click the photo below in case you missed it.

Well I do because it was the best/scariest thing I have done for myself. If you’re new around here or haven’t been paying attention, let me catch you up. I have under-fed and over-exercised my body for the majority of my adult life. If there was a fad diet, I tried it, Weight Watchers, South Beach, Whole 30, Gluten Free, Clean Eating, Grain Free, at one point 2 of my meals consisted of vegetable juice. Each one promising and never satisfying my desire to feel good about myself.  About 2 years ago my body had enough and I started having some minor health problems but they quickly began to add up. I went to see a dietitian because I thought I needed her help to tell me what else I could eliminate from my diet. At that time I had created so many rules around food for myself that I was probably only eating about 10 foods that I deemed “safe”. She wisely directed me to Intuitive Eating and encouraged me to feed my body, to really tune into what my body was saying and what my rules were around food. When I started to really do the hard work of getting rid of food rules that I’d held for the last 10 years I began to find freedom like I’d never known before. Freedom in being able to give my body what it was craving but it also opened my eyes up to so many other rules I was following.

I was suffering from self imposed rules and expectations of others in food, clothing, my job, where I lived, you name it, I had a rule about it. I’m still unraveling it all in therapy like a big bowl of spaghetti. When we get to what I think is the end, another piece of spaghetti leads us down another path. So when summer came around this year, I told myself I wasn’t going to spend another one afraid of putting on a bathing suit. What I have learned is that the best way to get past your fears is to face them whether that is white bread or chub rub.

So @kellieblogs and I took these photos and I was uncomfortable to say the least but I knew it was something I had to do for myself. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to share them with anyone. But when I got them back I sobbed. Not because I hated them but because I loved them so much. I might have a larger body now but when I look back at pictures of myself in a smaller body, I can see in my eyes how miserable I was. I know that person was eating as little as possible, following impossible food rules and forcing herself to workout and never rest. I did it all under the guise of health but when I am really honest with myself, it was all an effort to make my body smaller. To live up to the standards of health that our society puts on us but especially women. In our society we are shown through media and other influences that there is only one acceptable body type. In reality we are created in all different shapes and sizes. We don’t expect all dogs to be chihuahuas and we shouldn’t expect all human bodies to look one way. When I look at these photos, I don’t even really see my body, I see how I felt on the inside and how much my body and I have been through these past few years. I see the peace that I have found and the fact that I’ve worked so hard to get here.

Admittedly, I have felt like a fraud these past few years, posting on social media and encouraging women to embrace themselves as they are while behind the scenes I struggled with my own self worth and acceptance. I kept waiting for this point in my journey where I would feel like I had arrived so that I could share my journey with you. But my therapist wisely pointed out, if you wait for that you will never share you story. Share the messy middle, that’s where people want to meet you because they are in the middle of their own mess. So if you’re struggling through these same things I want you to know that I am right there with you in trenches. Choosing to love myself in a world that constantly tells me to change. Choosing to accept my body as it is. Choosing to step into my story and choosing to invite you into yours as well.

Whenever I share something vulnerable like this I always wonder if there is anyone out there who can relate and then I get flooded with messages in my DMs and inbox. I cherish every one of them because it reminds me we are not alone in our struggles.  I’m going to share some resources that help me in my journey but just know, you are not alone and don’t hesitate to reach out to me too.

Help with body positivity:

The Body Love Society

Disordered Eating resources:

Finding Balance Inc  

Body Bloved

Podcasts:

Eating with Grace

The Body Love Society

Nutrition Matters

As always, I want you to know that you are worthy and deeply loved.

xoxo,

Tracy