“Nope! Not pregnant, just pizza.” This is what I said out of earshot of some people I was waving to who hadn't seen me for a while, one of which was looking directly at my stomach. After 14 years away in Nashville, I returned home to New Jersey to gain a hold of my mental health and explore new career opportunities. Apparently that's not all I gained. I also took some time to explore Northeast pizza and my mother's delicious home cooking and thus have gained 20 pounds in three years. I didn't know I could gain 20 pounds because honestly I didn't think I had anywhere to put it! Let’s just say that at 5’2 there really was not that much room for growth in the first place. But here I am; healthier in some ways and not so healthy in others.
Body image has always been a sensitive subject for me. Just a few years ago the present number on the scale would've been devastating. There's no doubt that I need to reverse the direction on the scale but unlike past decisions to lose weight, my self esteem is in a much better place to do so. So this is my love letter to my new body.
Much like the wrinkles and laugh lines around your eyes that you've recently discovered tell a story, so do these extra 20 pounds you've gained within the past three years. Now don't go making friends with them. But before you say goodbye, let's remember the good times:
- Those twenty pounds reflect that you have had a job, although sedentary, a job nonetheless where you've learned an awful lot about yourself. You have a better idea of what you want, what you don't want, and what you're capable of.
- You've never once gone hungry. In fact, you have most often been fed by the people that have loved you through the most challenging time in your life.
- And yes, those twenty pounds are also in some part due to pizza: delicious, east coast, pizza
Congratulations on finally loving yourself even though you're not perfect. Now do yourself a favor: Don't wait until you are a certain size to celebrate yourself. Get the cute clothes. Find out what looks best on your new body. By all means, buy the cute underwear (in the right size. You're fooling no one). By no means does gaining weight mean that you don't deserve good things. And while we are on the subject, let's talk about what you do deserve:
You deserve good energy.
You deserve to feel sexy.
You deserve to love yourself enough to say no to yourself when you need to, but not punish yourself if just once in a while you can't resist those peanut butter cups at the checkout line.
You deserve to love your body to health and that's just what you're going to do.
It's not going to happen overnight because you didn't gain it overnight. But no matter how long it takes, you will love yourself through the process.
I think getting to this level of self love has been worth the twenty pounds.
Love (and I truly mean it this time),