I’ve let the opinions of others dictate my relationship with my body for far too long: from boyfriend #3 who dumped me after deciding that my “gut” was too big, the ex-wrestler who allowed me to break down the walls he had built around his heart but refused to commit until I lost more weight, to boyfriend #4 who encouraged me to give up eggs, dairy, alcohol, and all things bread for nearly six months and maintain a strict gym schedule while juggling work and grad school.
Last year, I lost 45 pounds in a little over six months. I was the smallest I've ever been in my adult life. For boyfriend #4 this still wasn’t enough. He made me feel guilty for every piece of food I put into my mouth and for the days that I was just too tired to work out.
He told me he was pushing me because he loved me. Because he wanted me to be healthy. Because he knew I had it in me. He didn't care that his words put tears in my eyes, he ignored me when I told him he was hurting my feelings, that I didn't need him to tell me how much of a failure I was. He thought he had to put me down to motivate me to work harder. What he really needed to do was accept me for all that I was.
But now he's gone and I can breathe again. In the weeks after he left my body went through a healing period. My body ached for days, to the point where it hurt to breathe, it was in shock, still recovering from the impact when my body fell from the car and onto the street. I also had no appetite for weeks. I forced myself to eat at least once a day--a protein bar or small salad, lots of fluids. My body was in no condition for exercise.
And here I am now, three months later, and I'm finally happy with my body just the way it is. I realized that not all bodies are built the same, that maybe I'm not meant to be skinny, maybe I'm meant to be just the way I am. If I have to starve myself, deny myself, or overexert myself just to be at an "ideal" weight, what's the point? The outside will constantly change.
But the inside? That's what really matters.
I love all 4'9" and 160ish pounds of my body and if some guy can't accept that, can't appreciate my intelligence, my spirit, my heart, he's not worth my time.