Knowing These 10 Things About My Body Years Ago Would Have Saved Me A Lot Of Trouble

My relationship with my body has always been complicated and we haven’t always been the best of friends. However, we’ve made peace in recent years. If only I had known what I know now a couple years ago, I think I would have saved myself a great deal of pain.

Stretch marks are natural. 

We hear it everywhere: stretch marks are wrong. They’re a flaw and they make you unlovable. Well, I’m here to say this is utterly untrue. Look around and you’ll see so many people, particularly women, with stretch marks. They’re scattered across thighs, stomachs, and arms. They’re completely natural and they don’t say anything about one’s lovability.

Fat isn’t a big scary monster. 

J.K. Rowling has a stellar quote that says: “Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive,’ ‘jealous,’ ‘shallow,’ ‘vain,’ ‘boring,’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.” I’ve discovered fat is not a bad thing to have. Through Health At Every Size, I’ve learned that negative health ideas around fat are grossly exaggerated. At the end of the day, fatphobia only hurts us. If I have fat on my body (which I inevitably will), I’m OK and I’m still a worthwhile human.

My body 100% mine. 

I used to let men take over my body without my explicit permission. They’d use me as their scratching post. I didn’t know how to speak up and state that my body is mine. I had a hard time setting boundaries, therefore I kept finding myself in situations I didn’t want to be in. Now I know that my body is totally mine and no one else’s.

My food intuition is so good.

When I put myself on an arbitrary diet, allowing others’ ideas dictate how I should and shouldn’t be eating, I run into trouble. I used to think that I couldn’t trust myself around food, but now I know that my intuition with it is great. I can indeed lean on myself and make decisions based on what is best for the whole me at any given time. I wish I knew I could do this.

There’s nothing wrong with me. 

I truly used to think that I was fundamentally broken, flawed. I thought that there was something deeply wrong with me. I wish I knew that this is so far from the truth. I’d like to have known how fundamentally good I am. There are so many things right with me! Plus, my worth is inherent. I don’t have to do anything to earn it.

Someone’s inability to see my value isn’t a reflection of my worth. 

If I could tell my old self this, I would say, “There are going to be people who reject you for various reasons. This happening is not a result of you not being good enough. Your worth isn’t tied to another person’s opinion.” I think if I knew this, I would have felt more empowered.

Your body needs rest—this is non-negotiable. 

I used to be a speed demon, running around the world doing a million things. I never allowed myself to relax… until I collapsed and was forced to learn to take it easy. Now I know that allowing my body to rest is an absolute requirement. If I don’t give it space and time to rest, it will force me to—and that isn’t fun at all. Rest can be seen as lazy but it’s really a true act of self-care.

There’s a $60 billion dollar industry profiting from body hate. 

Whether it’s aging creams, weight loss programs, or promises of fuller hair, the diet industry is always out to sell us something. You know what? They profit from our self-hatred. The more we dislike ourselves, the more products we pour our money into. If I knew this years ago, perhaps I would have bought less diet food and instead bought the good stuff! I want fat and sugar in my ice cream.

Exercising for fun is way better than for punishment. 

Oh man, I used to work out to “earn” my treats or to “work off” my dinner. What a terrible way to live. If only I knew that I didn’t need to prove anything through exercise. Instead, doing it for fun and to just move my body is a much better game plan. I’m more motivated to do it in the long run and it’s a much gentler approach.

Periods aren’t shameful.

Most of us do it—when we have our periods, we hold our tampon up our sleeves while we go to the bathroom so no one can see that it’s our time of the month. It’s stupid. I’ve become much more period positive lately, especially because I’ve started bleeding during sex. This has happened multiple times. I’m learning that period blood isn’t disgusting and that the whole cycle is nothing to be ashamed of.

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