There have been times in my life when I’ve postponed change or celebration or reward because of my body. I’ve said to myself, “I’ll do that once I’m happier with myself. Once I’ve lost weight/toned up/changed my shape, I’ll allow myself this activity or thing. I’ll should wait until then and reward myself.”
I know I am not alone. So many of us buy into the idea that we should motivate ourselves by depriving ourselves. If we don’t book that vacation or buy that new wardrobe until after we’ve changed our bodies, the pent-up excitement created by anticipation will fuel our body-changing efforts. Which may be true to some small extent, maybe, probably at the very beginning of a body-change journey. But there’s a darker side to this internal bargain: The belief that we don’t actually deserve change or celebration or reward until we look “different” or “better,” which usually means “smaller” or “thinner.”
And when I say “belief” I really mean “fallacy.” Because we are the same people on the inside no matter how we’re shaped, no matter how much we weigh, no matter how we look. We are just as deserving and worthy at one weight as we are at another. There is nothing about body change that impacts our inner selves. NOTHING. And to set up false bargains that reinforce the idea that goodness is linked to thinness is to tread on dangerous ground.
Each of us is in charge of her own body, and that includes undertaking changes. Although plenty of people will try to horn in with their opinions about your size or weight – typically leaning on health-related concern as their motivation – you’re the decider. You’re the queen of your own body. And if you want to lose weight, gain weight, tone up, alter your diet, exercise more or less, or do anything at all to change your body, you absolutely can. But I hope I can convince you that attempting to drive that change by dangling a long-desired reward off in the distance can create some unhealthy undercurrents. Embrace change if you feel so moved, but try not to tell your self a story about how you’ll only deserve certain things if you achieve change.
I’ve talked to so many women who’ve told me, “I tried and waited, and tried and waited some more, and eventually realized that this is my body now. And I might as well accept it and make it my home.” Much of this is in the context of personal style, because when your body is in flux or you’re hoping to shift its size or shape, the idea of investing in new or better clothes seems wasteful. Since you’ll look different soon, why allow yourself to buy and wear gorgeous things now? And the answer is twofold.
First, you may or may not achieve the change you envision. And I say that not to be discouraging or negative, but instead to shift perspective. If you don’t or can’t make those changes, does that mean you never get new clothes? Never get to revise your style or update your wardrobe? This thinking pattern can trap you in a perpetual limbo of buying cheap or boring items to “tide you over,” which means you end up stuck in a state of waiting for the day when you can really splash out.
Second, you are still a wonderful, worthy, deserving person right now. Today. Just as you are. And if you treat yourself as such, doing so can foster self-confidence and build energy, which can actually fuel the actions you take to make changes. Being kind to yourself, taking vacations, buying and wearing clothes that make you feel stylish and polished may help you feel happier in the present moment, and may also help you achieve the changes you desire.
So start today. Even if you want to change, allow yourself to feel good in this moment. Remember that you will be amazing then, but that you’re also amazing now. Unless you’ve got the single functional crystal ball left in the universe, you can’t know when or if change will come. And limbo sucks. So start today, and lavish your today-body with care and patience and kindness and love. No harm could ever come of that.