The most liberating, valuable, life changing lesson that I have learned so far is this: thin does not equal happy.
I know that can feel a little cliched. And in so many cases, easier said than done. But it holds so much truth and once you get to that point, it’s like having a whole new lease on life.
As I’ve described in previous posts in this project, my first diet was when I was nine. But the seeds of self hating and body resentment were there from almost as far as I can remember.
I spent my teens and twenties on a continual cycle of crash diets and yo-yo’ing. Each cycle lasted about five years – starting on the day I decide I have to change, then a nine months to a year of crash dieting and starvation, which were, in hindsight, borderline eating disorders, where I’d lose typically 20-30kg. Which I would sustain as long as I wasn’t eating. But as soon as I started eating a regular amount of calories again, and obsessively exercising, the weight would come back, almost as fast as I lost it. And within two years, I’m back to where I was when I started, though usually with about 4kg on top.
And you know what? I was no happier at my lightest than I was at my heaviest. Because, ultimately, we’re just human. And as humans, we have good days and we have bad days of self image, and that happens whether you’re a size 8 or 28. It makes zero difference.
And as soon as you realise that. And that good people, the only ones you want to give your energy and time to, will love you regardless.
Two cycles of crash diet were to try and make someone love me more. To try and be the person that I thought he wanted, that he told me he wanted. And in the end, it made no difference.
When I think of the years of my life, and it would be years, that have been focussed on weight, counting calories, thinking about “when I’m thin…” and fantasising of the dream life I’d have when I was 10kg lighter (p.s. You never get there) I get so sad and angry. That’s time I could have spent doing other things, much more worthwhile things that could have brought so much joy – books I could have read, languages learned, beautiful meals I should have eaten with friends who now live thousands of miles away. To think of all of that wasted time, and what was it for? Nothing.
Because right now, my weight is of the upper range of where I’ve ever been, but I’ve been here for three years now, constantly, and I figure it’s just where my body wants me to be. It’s where I always return to, and plateau.
And you know what? I’m happy. I’m very happy right now, just as I am.
And healthy. Healthier than depriving my body of food, and putting stress on my organs from suddenly weight loss and gain.
That person who made me feel so bad about myself, who I felt I had to be thin for – he’s gone and so far in the distance now. And instead, I’m surrounded by amazing inspiring people who love me for who I am.
And instead of dieting and thinking about food and my size – I write, I read, I create beautiful things, I learn an instrument, and I thrive at my job and enjoy every minute with my friends.
Set yourself free. Because when you’re at the end of your time on earth, and the supercut of your life flashes before your eyes, it’s not the times spend dieting or measuring your waist that will flash before your eyes, it’s the moments of living a life to the fullest, with people who understand and are kind to you.
My body and I are not quite 100% at peace, we still have bad days, but we’re getting pretty darn close.