Question & Discussion: Can You Love Your Body AND Also Want to Change Your Habits?

I came to a surprising conclusion the other night about my “health” journey. And it’s too much history for one post, but – let’s just say – I’ve been all over the map.

A (Hopefully) Brief History

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. I remember one time going on a trail run and bumping into a fellow classmate. She said, “I’m surprised you’re here, ” in a not-malicious, but also not-subtle way, that reminded me I was probably the only “overweight” non-athlete in our entire department (which I’m sure wasn’t the case, but it often felt that way).

I went from being a die-hard calorie-in-calorie-out fan,

to an “I’m pregnant and 100% enjoying eating whatever I want” fan,

to a chronic-diet-cycling-hamster,

through a serious bout of postpartum depression,

which led to therapy,

which reminded me that “health” is a much more holistic term than we generally practice,

which led to Intuitive Eating,

which led to my being the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life, and trying to grasp the concept that weight doesn’t matter –

even though it was a big part of why I struggled through my second pregnancy,

and a big part of the reason why we have yet to try for more kids.

The Dilemma

Enter today.

Where do I go from here?

Once I’ve drunk the red cool-aid, and I see that diet culture is rampant and people or industries often manipulate my self-image for their personal gain?

And yet. I know many people on a first name basis who swear by food in moderation and the joy and courage it has brought into their lives – not because they are trying to sell the oh-so-sought-after magic pill to a six-pack, but because we are incredibly powerful human beings with a gift that we love, that deserves to be cherished.

And I know that the heavier I am on a personal level, the less I get to do of the things I love – hiking, running… having babies without: hemorrhoids, extreme shortness of breath, and being essentially couch-ridden for 9 months…

I have been taught over and over throughout my mental health journey that when we want to lose weight, we idolize skinny. We perpetuate the stigma that soft tummies and round ankles and cherubic cheeks are bad. We contribute to a world-wide system that offers greater privilege to the size 0. We believe and indicate to others that we, or they, are not enough.

My revelation was this: I don’t believe ANY of those things. I love my soft tummy that gave me two of my biggest blessings. I love my smile, cheeks and all. And I Never. Ever. Want to send the message that anyone is not enough, especially to my kids. I love how much they love food. I love them exactly as they are, and I love who I am!

And I also want to grow. I want to develop habits that serve me. I want to fit on the couch with my sweetheart. I want to run a half marathon without getting injured every time I pass the 3-mile-marker. I want to be able to get outside and break a sweat during my next pregnancy – because it significantly alters my mental health.

My Question for You ❤︎

So, my question to you, dear friends, is – is it possible? To feel both? Is wanting to lose weight morally wrong? Does it make you feel bad or not enough when someone you know sets that goal for themselves? Are there triggers that set you off? Is dieting a sure path to an eating disorder? Or has moderation given you a new lease on life? Not because you have something to sell, but because you feel better?

I sincerely want to know, and to hear your experiences. In fact, this page is one of my safe havens. You repeatedly inspire me with thoughtful discussion from some of the kindest, bravest, wisest people I know.

Thank you for giving that gift to me every time I write to get something off of my chest.

Here’s to walking this crazy road together!

❤ Jenny

13 thoughts on “Question & Discussion: Can You Love Your Body AND Also Want to Change Your Habits?

  1. I want to love my soft tummy but I don’t. I would love to look skinnier but it’s too much mental and physical effort that I’d rather direct to family. So I’ll settle with learning to accept that I’ll never have the pre-baby body and that it’s ok. I’ll love that soft tummy one day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that you talk about the mental effort, and prioritizing your family. That’s one of the biggest reasons I started Intuitive Eating back in the day, and that’s still one of my biggest why’s, though I’m not sure where IE and I stand now. And there are things I still struggle to love, too. It’s a process ❤️. Thank you for sharing, friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, you can love your body as is and want to improve it! In the same way that I love my kids just the way they are and I want them to “grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man”. I think the trick is to accept that I’ll probably never have my pre-baby body but that I can also stop eating my emotions and lose 10 lbs so my clothes will fit again! Sending hugs my friend ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have been learning to focus on being healthy. After a serious bout with hypothyroid 25 years ago that wrecked havoc with my metabolism, I stressed about weight because it was never an issue before that bout. I found out I have Celiacs three years ago, and have been learning about nutrition. I try to focus on being healthy with food choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Celiac’s would be so hard to navigate. I am grateful when I get to hear about your experiences on your blog, though. You are such a light. Sometimes certain foods strengthen our bodies better than others, don’t they? Thank you for sharing, big brother! 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Being healthy is most important, whether that involves maintaining the present lifestyle or making changes. For some change might require them to lose weight, for some keep the same and for others, maybe even gain. That’s fine as long as the attempt is to be healthy. I feel it’s a very personal journey and there are absolutely no wrong answers or room for judgements.
    I like my current lifestyle with exercise and healthy food choices but I know there are a lot I can do better. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing your journey and experience sis. I believe the mental state of wellbeing is key. It’s beyond being skinny looking but actually being fit. Sadly not all skinny can boast of being fit or even healthy.
    Eat healthy, and be grateful for You!. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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