After three months of sitting on the couch and watching Grey’s Anatomy, funked out, combined with holiday overeating, and two months of illness, I gained ten pounds. I had just enough work clothes to make it through the week. In the mirror, I saw a small watermelon nestled just below my rib cage. I kept thinking, This isn’t good, but I’m not allowed to catastrophize. I will lose the weight eventually. This fluctuation in weight is common for many women in their 50s and 60s. I have several friends who gain and lose fifteen pounds routinely. I thought, Under no circumstances am I allowed to hate my body. So I didn’t.
I tried to combine my limited work wardrobe in creative ways. My colleagues complimented me. I worried that I would be less attractive. Both a previous and a current paramour let me know this wasn’t an issue. I struggled, failing week in and week out to lose the ten pounds. I repeated: You are only allowed to love your body. And eventually I did. I still need to lose the weight. I pine to fit into more of my clothing. But I’m not in a downward spiral of self-hate.
Sometimes we get sicker, sometimes we get fatter. It’s life. With determination and self-acceptance, we can continue to change. Sometime we return to the way we want to be, and sometimes we change by moving forward. But self-hate only hinders the process. It’s better to practice self-love—that’s what heals.