Making Peace With My Body: New Year’s Resolutions Be Damned

0

As we arrive at the New Year, I always feel this strange pause. I come to the realization that in the final weeks of the year there is no way I’ll make last minute changes that will magically make me healthier, lose another five pounds, or squeeze into those old jeans. But this year, I’m swearing off New Year’s Resolutions and making peace with my weight and my body.

I’ve struggled with my weight nearly my whole life

I’ve struggled with my weight nearly my whole life. Add in pandemic stress and coping mechanisms – which for me involved a lot of baking and cooking – and I’ve built the perfect recipe for body dissatisfaction. And I should note that when I say I’ve been doing a lot of baking and cooking, I’m talking “I bought a butter churn and started making – and eating – my own butter” levels here…

I’m heavier than I’d like to be right now, but I keep reminding myself that this body is getting me through a pandemic. And yet the flashes to past reminders are there in black and white.

I remember in first grade when the gym teacher looked at me disapprovingly as the calipers measuring my six year old arm flab showed a measurement thicker than recommended. In third grade I remember moving to a new town and trying gymnastics where the instructor poked at my rounded eight year old belly while doing L hangs and said I’d never have a gymnasts body. I remember having a middle school classmate ask me if I’d been on Weight Watchers over the summer. It was a clear dig in front of other classmates but I knew even then that I had to play it off as a compliment.

I worry that my own insecurities will be part of who she is too

As my daughter comes into the age when I remember first noticing that I was bigger than other kids, I feel the stress building. I worry that my own insecurities will be part of who she is too. But I also know that I am working hard to break that cycle and make peace with my body. I acknowledge that she’s heavier than most of her classmates but underscore that it’s because of how strong she is. We talk a lot about making healthy choices about food and moving our bodies. I want to pass along to my daughter all those good things that my body has done. Not the tears and shame I’ve felt.

I look back at photos of me in my late teens and 20s and wonder why I was so hard on myself over that body. I wasted so much brain power trying to have the “perfect” body that I’d never have because it is an ever evolving, unreachable standard for most of us. But it felt so important at the time. Important enough that I didn’t fully appreciate how strong and powerful and healthy that body truly was. But that’s not the body I have anymore and that’s okay.

This body is what I need right now

This body carries me in a different way now, and I’m making peace with it. It has carried and birthed two babies. It has seen me through immense grief and amazing joy. This body is a pillow to comfort scraped knees, nestle sleepy heads, and give bear hugs. My body is learning not to shake when I speak publicly, not to cry when I feel angry at the world, not to flinch when my views are challenged.

Of course I could be healthier, I could be stronger, I could exercise more. Of course the closet is full of clothes I don’t feel confident wearing anymore. But I’ve also worked to accept that. Those clothes aren’t a wish for who I might be in the future, they’re a reminder of who I was in the past and a reflection on who I am now. Like an old photo that brings a flash of memory and a smile. I’m making peace with those memories. 

I used to think that my body failed me, but the truth is the opposite. I failed my body by not recognizing how much work it’s done for me even under all that pressure. So this coming year I plan to work harder to focus on the positives.  

It’s time to make peace with my body

It’s time to appreciate this body that has been carrying me through a pandemic, through racial reckonings, through homeschooling and virtual learning, through remote meetings, and more. It’s time to swear off New Year’s Resolutions and make peace with my body. It’s time to keep the focus on having a healthier relationship with weight. It’s time to model this all for my son and daughter.

Do I trip up? Sure. I get the look from my husband or the mouthed “she can hear you” when I make a self deprecating crack. And so we’re in it together.

The reality is that I’m sure I’ll still weigh myself in the future, but I’ll find other ways to measure how healthy and strong I feel too. And I’ll leave the numbers to my Doctor. So New Year’s resolutions be damned. It’s time for a new perspective.

Previous articleFree Printables to Keep You On Track in the New Year
Next articleHave a 4th or 5th Grader? Scope These Deals!
Hello, I’m Lindsey (with an “e” like Anne of Green Gables). A New Englander by birth and upbringing, I left after college and spent 10 years living in Washington, DC before moving back to the Seacoast in 2015 to go back to school and to be closer to family (and the ocean). I’m an environmental policy professional and educator, a City Councilor in Dover, and mom to two kids (8 and 5). My professional work focuses on the science-policy interface, negotiation and consensus building, and collaborative processes particularly as they relate to coastal and environmental matters. My community (and parenting) work overlaps with that and focuses on building strong connections between people and place, bringing multiple perspectives to the table, and trying to ensure there is space for voices that are often left out.