I remember watching an Oprah episode while home sick several years ago. I was in my early twenties, weighed 160 pounds and probably wore a size 12. The episode was focused on weight loss and highlighted one of Oprah’s most recent diet journeys.
Expert after expert, they all spoke about what to eat and what not to eat, how to stay active, and how much sleep to get at night. Basically, nothing we all haven’t heard before at the doctors office, via a friend, or on TV. Before I continue, let me backtrack a little and tell you about myself.
Growing up my nickname was Gordi (still kind of is) which means little fat girl. Now being chubby as a child in my family was a good thing – it meant you were healthy and strong. Being chubby as a teen/adult, not so much. During my adolescence I became more active in performing arts and eventually modeling. It was then that I realized that I had a weight problem – or at least I thought I did.
My weight became a constant battle. Diets and the gym became a frequent staple in my life and with that, I quickly started to hate my larger self. Comments from family about my weight gain became one of my most feared encounters and at my fattest moments I just started avoiding certain people.
I look back at those pictures and can’t believe how tortured I was at 160 pounds; how sad I was and how much hatred I had for the extra lumps and bumps I carried. And that’s where Oprah came into play.
At the end of that episode, Oprah featured someone who spoke about self love. She said that the ONLY way you can change yourself, your life and your weight was to love and accept the person in the mirror. To look at yourself naked, with all your flaws, life scars and societal imperfections and say “I Love You!”
At first I thought that what I was hearing was crazy. I could not accept my bloated belly, my cellulite filled legs and my stretch mark scarred arms. In my mind acceptance meant being OK with being fat and that would never be the case. So I fought the lingering words of that expert and continued on my days in hate. It wasn’t until years later that the Oprah message finally clicked in my mind and ironically enough, it was when I hit my highest weight ever.
So several years later, after not fitting into anything in my closet, I sat on my closet floor feeling helpless. In a pool of tears, I thought about how many life moments I let slide by because of my weight. How I kept waiting until I was that perfect size to try new things. And how my lack of self love eroded my self esteem and crippled my relationships with others.
The next morning I looked again at my closet and said screw it! I need clothes that fit! So for the first time ever, I walked into a plus size store and went to town!! I can’t remember what I purchased that day, but I do remember that I tried on clothing that finally fit and that was an amazing feeling! I looked into that dressing room mirror and honestly felt beautiful, confident and sexy.
And that’s when the Oprah moment hit me. I wasn’t flawed!
That moment pushed me to open up my heart and see the true love I was not giving the most important person in my life, myself. It was my life ‘ah ha’ moment.
Loving myself didn’t mean that I wouldn’t want to change my eating habits or become more active, but that loving myself was no longer defined by the size of my jeans or the width of my hips. Loving myself meant looking in the mirror and no longer hating my reflection. And that loving myself meant that I was a gorgeous, sexy beast at a size 12 and a size 20, that I and only I could define my self worth.
So ladies, I ask you to push yourself. Stand in front of that mirror and take a good, long look at your reflection. Come on – don’t shy away. Once you are done, once you’ve cried, yelled and cursed the lady in front of you, I want you to close your eyes. Once YOU are ready, take another good look at yourself and say – “I love you!” At first it will feel strange and maybe unnatural, but say it. Say it today, say it tomorrow and say it every single day until you have your life ‘ah ha’ moment. It won’t happen overnight and it may take days, months or maybe even years, but one day you will look into that mirror and realize that you are not flawed!
Memoirs of a Fat Girl is a series of short stories focused on the journey women from all walks of life have taken in dealing with weight, self image, and self esteem. It’s a cander, raw look inside the minds of a society that celebrates apprences and shuns self worth. To share your story email firstname.lastname@example.org.