It is a cool, sunny, impossibly-perfect Florida fall day. The kids are all at school, my Starbucks is nestled in the cup holder beside me, Thanksgiving is in a few days, and I have tears of joy streaming down my face in the parking lot of Old Navy.
Let me back up. I have either been gaining weight or on a diet since I was 15. Fed up with constantly having to think about what I was eating, and struggling not to impose my unhealthy relationship with food onto my daughter, I kinda just woke up one day and made a decision. No matter what, I would never diet again. Don’t get me wrong: I wasn’t deciding to become flippant about my health. I simply refused to ever track, log, or calculate another calorie, point or carb.
I was determined to learn how to make mostly healthy choices (allowing for reasonable indulgences) without being “on” something. I joined a gym that did group classes and committed to showing up three times a week to get my butt kicked for an hour. I used organic protein and produce subscriptions to challenge myself to cook with primarily whole, nutritious food. I would allow my body to find where it wanted to land, and work on the mental health I was lacking. I decided to devote my energy to loving and accepting my body instead of fighting so hard to create a body my (less than healthy) mind thought acceptable.
I archived the Instagram account I had dedicated to nutrition and workouts. I stopped taking pictures of my food. I unfollowed accounts that where focused on “changing” or “transforming” people’s bodies, and I sought out pages that showcased woman of many shapes and sizes. And I stopped talking about it. All of it.
Here comes the hard part: I put on weight.
I didn’t react immediately. However when my clothes began to feel uncomfortable and I realized they where not in any way flattering, the thoughts of diet shopping began to float through my mind. I would get up in the morning and dread getting dressed because it made me feel gross. All of the self-hatred began to reappear.
But this time was different. I knew I had to break the gain/loose cycle. I drove out to Old Navy and I bought myself two pairs of jeans two sizes larger than the ones I currently owned. When I tried them on, I felt amazing. ‘Look at how cute these are!’ I thought to myself. I even grabbed some new lipgloss and made a mental note to make a hair appointment.
I got back to my car and thought about how confident I was going to feel in my new threads. I mulled over what I would do with my makeup, and how much my husband was going to love seeing me so happy. I realized this would be the first Thanksgiving that I ate all the familiar favorites with my family. I thought about my daughter watching me smile, and not hearing me obsess over any of it.
I thought about all of the posts I had seen of people in dressing rooms hitting their “goal size” . Here I was, in tears, so proud of this body and all it had accomplished. I will always remember this moment as the day I finally fit into my goal size: fits.