Written by Meg Kant
the grief of no longer living in a thin body
For some background information on my experience with an eating disorder, please take a quick review of this blog.
Up until the 10th grade I lived in a body that was much bigger than my peers and it brought me an immense amount of shame. It had bothered me for years, and was something that I wanted to change deeply.
One night some of my friends and I went out in a big group. I noticed that all of them were getting attention from boys except for me and I knew it was because I was fat. I felt embarrassed, rejected and lonely. That day I decided to lose weight and started a “lifestyle change” that developed into an eating disorder that robbed me of almost 10 years of my life.
fighting my body
Over those 10 years my weight fluctuated up and down 20-30 pounds at a time. However compared to my natural weight set point, my body was much smaller than it is now. However, not once did I feel the experience of being thin (or the elusive feeling I associated with “thinness”.). Rather, it felt like I was constantly fighting my body and weight gain felt like it was always lurking around the corner.
When I finally decided to say f*ck it and stopped dieting/intentionally pursuing weight loss, I gained a significant amount of weight back. Hence, I want to share the grief which I still hold onto.
what it feels like to grieve thinness
For the most part I have come to a place of acceptance around my new body. I am no longer working to change it, but that doesn’t mean I do not grieve what it was like to be thin. Weight loss became a source of connection with other people who were trying to lose or maintain their weight. It was something that was often talked about, and was the undercurrent of many of my conversations with other women: the idea that we were working to make our bodies better or smaller.
Trying to lose weight gave me the feeling of working towards a noble pursuit because what could be more noble than one’s “health”? The general consensus was what I was doing was the “right” thing. And while I am so incredibly grateful that I am no longer stuck in a very unhealthy relationship with food and my body, it doesn’t mean I don’t wish things were different sometimes; I still grieve how my life could have been different if I was thin.
my imagined version of a thin life
In my imagined version of a thin life I would be more confident and comfortable in myself. People would like me more, take me more seriously, find me more desirable, and see that I was worthy. I wouldn’t worry about how I looked in certain clothes or at certain angles because I could rest assured that everyone always thought I looked great.
Unfortunately, in reality, no matter how hard I work on loving myself and accepting my body, the world will always tell me I’m not good enough. I will never get sweeping validation from the outside world, because the general belief is that my body is bad so I have to fight twice as hard to learn to love this body of mine. For every reason I learn to love myself I will combat 10 different external rationales of disapproval.
my body is just the keeper of my magic
I’m heartbroken that for the vast majority of the world my body will never be celebrated like it once was… when I was starving and depressed and deeply sick. At that time my body was revered, rejoiced and people said it was an inspiration, but not now. Now the outside world sees disappointment. It doesn’t matter that I’ve found freedom, joy and contentment from stopping the fight with my body.
Nobody will understand that my body is just the keeper of my magic and its softness and curves aren’t something I feel ashamed about. I grieve that it will always be a fight to accept and love my body this way.
body acceptance is not linear
I’m sharing about my grief not as a sign that I want to change my body; but because body liberation and acceptance is not a linear process. It can feel discouraging to see other people who have found body acceptance/liberation/positivity and feel like you are doing something wrong if you don’t love your own body. But its not that simple, not even close. Some days are easier than others and over time it takes up less mental space, but I have found that for me, it is never something that is entirely finished.
I still struggle at times, and wish for the simplicity of thinness. But I take solace knowing that others before me have found peace and liberation and that I am more free and joyful now than I was a decade ago, so I can only imagine what the next decade will bring.
Have you struggled with the size of your body? Do you ever grieve for the life you thought you might have if your body was different? Feel free to share in the comments.
the grief of no longer living in a thin body
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This is so great, thanks for sharing Meg. My weight has fluctuated a lot as an adult and I really resonate with a lot of what you said here. I was constantly admired and congratulated and told I was an inspiration when I was extremely thin several years ago. What mattered at the time was how I looked–not that I was in a very abusive relationship where “love” and affection were withheld if I didn’t look a very particular way…where I was told that that “love” was absolutely conditional and where I was abused for eating certain things or skipping a workout.
I’m almost 100lbs more now than I was then and I’ve not received a single positive comment on this body. I am the happiest, most confident I’ve been that I can ever remember, and my body doesn’t please those around me. There are so many tough days where I grieve my thin body and the acceptance I felt from others. It’s a tough rollercoaster to be on.
I feel what you are saying 10000%. You summarized it so well, “I grieve my thin body and the acceptance I felt from others”. It can feel lonely as we navigate our bodies changing, and I so wish that the happiness and confidence that you have found would be celebrated. As someone who intimately understands the feeling of body grief I just want to say that I am so glad that you have found happiness and confidence in yourself and your body. Your body is freaking amazing, and wonderful and it is such a beautiful vessel to carry your wonderful soul around. Thank you so much for sharing Amy, we are in this together xoxo. – Meg