I feel like it has been so long since I sat down to write anything. Usually I have a few ideas in my head that I fiddle with before writing and I then I find a quiet hour with a cup of coffee and type. However the universe had different plans for me the last 10 days. I have had a very sick 6yr old- viral meningitis- that required a hospital stay and more days at home resting and dealing with residual headaches. I have watched my child with amazement and fear as he went through some pretty scary tests at the hospital and dealt with headaches that caused him so much pain. It was during one of the long hours of staring at him while he finally rested that I had an overwhelming urge to write about death. He was never close to death so please don't be alarmed but the thought came to me in the context of body image. If we want to live a life of no regret, a full life that makes you smile when you look back on it. A life where you fully LIVED....then maybe we need to let go of diet culture and the need to ever change our bodies to fit a certain ideal.
Here me out. Think of how much time you might have spent thinking about a diet plan or how to lose another x amount of pounds or whether you should go to the gym instead of hanging out with friends. Think of any time you have thought "I will do that when I lose weight". I will (insert "go to beach" "wear shorts" "buy new clothes" "go to a yoga class" "plan a vacation" "apply for that dream job" here) when I get to a weight that I am more comfortable with. How many things have you missed out on? Even just saying "no thank you" to a piece of a friends birthday cake because you are "on a diet" has taken you out of a moment you might have enjoyed. How many times in your life have you made a decision based on fitting into a cultural ideal instead of what you truly want.
As I looked at my 6 yr old asleep I thought- I want him to experience everything life has to offer. I want him to climb mountains and dive in the ocean, fall in love and out of love. I want him to eat the cake and have a second piece if he chooses. And I want this for my 9 yr old as well. I want her to walk as confidently into a room at 16/25/42 as she does now. I want her to put on an outfit because she loves it not because it "suits her body type". But how do we get there. Diet culture messaging is everywhere. Even the very lovely nurse that gave my child ice cream for breakfast because he really wasn't eating much made the comment that she wishes she could eat ice cream for breakfast but she would be huge...sigh....
We need to be unapologetic about our decisions and bodies. I wear a bikini on a beach (and trust there is a lot of self talk going on in my head reminding me that people are not judging me..I am judging me) without pulling on the pair of shorts that I did for so many years. I will let the photos be taken without filters and adjustments and I will post them without rationalizing the way I look in them for others to see. I will eat the cake at the parties. But I need help. I need others to do this too. We need a movement. We need a societal shift.(I wish I could wave a wand and change that but I can't). My kids are walking out into the world more now without me there to help them.
If we had the ability to look back on our lives after they were over (like a long movie reel) would you wish you had done more? Would you be most proud of the time you "were so strong and didn't eat the carbs/fat/sugar (whatever is the fad diet trend at that time) or when you were fully immersed in your life. Do you want "Here lies (insert name) who managed their weight until the day they died" on your tombstone? Or something else like "Here lies (insert name) who lived life to the fullest".
If I am being totally honest we only have one ending to the this life. Nobody is going to live forever. Nobody is going to beat death. So let's just live while we are here. Let's take our earth suits for a ride. You don't have to love your body but you need to start accepting that it is how you are on this earth. And our time is limited. Take a breath- jump in- live this life.
Until next time be unapologetically you while I be unapologetically me....