The dress I wanted to wear to my friend’s wedding doesn’t fit.
When I got the zipper up I immediately felt gross and negative thoughts filled my head. When did I gain this weight? Why did I let myself go? I’m ugly, fat, etc.
Any woman in this day and age has had one of these moments.
We are molded to believe that our bodies need to fit the clothes rather than the other way around. Lie.
We are molded to believe that our bodies should stay one size and shape once we hit adulthood. Lie.
We are molded to think that the world is one size fits all and if you aren’t that size then you are fat and ugly. Lie.
Lies. Lies. Lies.
Our bodies change as we age. Maybe it’s because we got a new job and have less time to exercise. Maybe it’s because we’re dating and that means lots of drinks and dinners out. Maybe we had a baby! Maybe we broke a leg or arm or had surgery. Maybe we simply aged (gasp) and our hormones have shifted. Life happens and our bodies change.
I urge you all to take a moment when those negative thoughts flood your head. Take a moment to breathe and reflect.
I took that dress off and opened my journal. I wrote about what I felt when I looked in the mirror. Then I wrote down some of the things that have happened in the 2 ½ years since I last wore that dress. Positive things that have taken up my time rather than worrying and obsessing over weight or size. Maybe negative things that influenced my health. Lastly, I reflected on my relationship with food and exercise. Am I restricting? Am I indulging a bit much? Am I exercising enough to feel good but not too much to hurt my body?
When I put on that dress I felt frustrated and uncomfortable. Over the past few years I know I’ve gained a bit of weight. I graduated and moved to a new city to start my very first job in a somewhat stressful environment. I dealt with a four hour daily commute and toxic relationships. I’ve made new friends and started dating more. I enjoyed nights out for dinner and drinks and live in a city full of wonderful restaurants. I’m working on balancing fun and social events with my drive for overall health and it’s an ongoing challenge which I acknowledge I am not quite good at. I get caught up in the moment. At the same time my relationship with food is so much healthier than it used to be. I no longer restrict or eat out of emotion (as often). I plan my meals and eat fruits and vegetables when I can. I don’t restrict food when I plan to have one or a few drinks. Sometimes I eat fast food and dessert. Sometimes I eat too much. But food doesn’t define me, I don’t obsess over it.
I’d rather have this food freedom than rigid rules. I’d rather celebrate with my friends and overindulge than not. I’d rather go on dates and meet people than cook a healthier meal to my standards at home. And for those reasons, there are other dresses.
It’s okay to have a moment. But don’t get stuck there. Breathe, reflect, and buy a new dress.