Why I stopped giving a shit about my size #Philosophy#body image#health March 5 | Guest post by Meghan Hartley By: thepeachpeddler – CC BY 2.0 Recently a friend and I were chatting, and the conversation got around to dieting and working out. She was feeling bad because she missed a workout and there we were, eating. I shrugged and honestly said how I feel about the whole topic, "I don't care anymore and I've never felt more beautiful". Related Post How the Fuck-Off Fairy helped me fight fat-shaming The Fuck-Off Fairy is a special kind of fairy. She shows up on the night of your 30th birthday, while you are sleeping, and waves... Read more Just a little over a year ago something shifted in me. It was one of the first things I stopped giving a shit about whilst applying the philosophy of "fuck it". Health is important to me, don't get me wrong. I just really don't care what size I am, and I am SO over wishing I was smaller. The times of my life when I was at my thinnest I was also at my unhealthiest — skinny doesn't equal healthy for everyone. I remember living at the top of a hill when I was super thin, and how winded I always felt when I finally made it to the top. Totally feeling like I was going to DIIIIIE. I visited that hill last month, 'bout thirty pounds heavier, turned, and enjoyed the view… then realized I felt friggin' awesome. If it wasn't about my health, then what was my desire to be thin about? It was part of the over-arching issue that was contributing to so many other struggles — the need for approval. It took me a very long time to realize that it really didn't matter how skinny I was, or how many boys thought I was hot, or how fancy my job was, because I really don't give a shit about that stuff. My motivation for succeeding at these things had to do with other people's opinion's of me — and they are really none of my business. People don't become happier because they gain the approval of people they hardly know. People become happier when they truly know who they are, and they fully embrace that person. Related Post Letting food consume you: Being careful how we talk about food Everyday conversations about food usually involve negative phrases that we don't even think about using. As a baker, my personal pet peeve is any variation... Read more Back to the conversation with my friend… As I noticed the dude behind the bar nodding with approval at my comment, she said, "you're the second… um, shapely friend of mine to say something like that this week, it's making me think." I was nearly offended, I could feel giving a fuck coming right back at me, it was zooming in my direction… and fast. Then I suddenly recalled saying something like that to a friend right before I stepped into a new version of myself, a happier, and much more confident one. I realized that this slightly offensive comment was representative of my accomplishing one of my most favoritest things — helping a homie out. I smiled and said, "glad I could help." Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Meghan Hartley Meg Hartley has written for Tiny Buddha, Elephant Journal, Life Hack and Teen Vogue, among others. Her new book is called How I Lost All My F-cks, a one-month experience that will have you losing all yours! PREVIOUS How do you deal with the "so… when are you going to get married" questions? NEXT How to sew a large puppy bed from an old duvet cover Show/Hide comments [ 33 ] Despite having a BMI that's "technically overweight" (even though if you were to ask someone, they'd say I have thin privilege) I feel much better about myself than I did when I was thinner. Go you for rocking some self-confidence and for being able to climb that hill! 10 agree Reply Thanks for this. 🙂 my bmi says I'm overweight bordering on obese but I'm not. Not even close. A lot of people have a messed up belief that thin equals healthy which is not always the case at all. I used to be really skinny and then genetics caught up with me! I'm now a UK size 16/18 and I just refuse to see myself as ugly for having curves. It does help my fiancé keeps telling me NOT to lose weight – at least,certainly not for his benefit anyway lol! 6 agree Reply Woooooord! 1 agrees Reply It's funny how this works. I still struggle with this, but I'm starting to come around a bit. When I was going through a divorce a couple years ago, I lost a lot of weight. Sure I was working out more, but I was also eating one meal a day. Not a healthy lifestyle. My friends and coworkers commented often how good I looked. Now that I've gained some of the weight back, I'm realizing this is my body, and even if I'd like to change some things (cardio endurance, strength, etc.) I should be happy with how I look NOW. 4 agree Reply Right? Doesn't it feel strange to receive compliments when you're not treating yourself well? When I was bulimic but really not wanting to be I remember wanting to be like, "Thanks! I just vomited up the only thing I ate today. It's really working for me." 6 agree Reply There are phases where I wish to be thinner, more for aesthetics than for health or weight as a number. However when I make the necessary restrictions on my diet, I'm fucking miserable. I figured if I'm at a stable weight with how I eat and exercise now, I'm staying happy instead 12 agree Reply BMI isn't an accurate indicator of health, and it was never intended to be used as one! It was supposed to be used as a rough estimation of size at the population level, not an individual level. For me personally, I just try to stay the same size so my clothes fit. I donated my "skinny clothes" and my "fat clothes" so I have more room in my closet for just "my clothes." I exercise for mental health reasons, so hopefully I don't get osteoporosis when I'm older, and because it's empowering to lift heavy things and jump on stuff. Other people have other motivations. I've found a combo of foods I enjoy eating that sufficiently fuel me, but don't go too far. I take time to enjoy my regular treats and indulgences because deprivation is not sustainable for me. And all of this leaves me at a larger size than the "ideal" image I had in my head once, but freedom from counting calories is awesome. Freedom from worrying too much about that lets me concentrate on other aspects of my life. 19 agree Reply "I am SO over wishing I was smaller." How crazy is it that THIS is what we wish for? To be smaller? To be less? I hate this but I have no idea what to DO about it…. 12 agree Reply Your comment reminded me of this poem/performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQucWXWXp3k 2 agree Reply I LOVE that. Thank you!! Reply I'll also chime in with a "yay!" about this post, but in relation to other aspects of body appreciation. Because at 33, I still get mistaken for a teenager thanks to a face full of acne. Several years ago — after trying LOADS of things and none of them working — I decided to just stop caring. I still have acne and maybe I always will, but I've never felt more beautiful. There will ALWAYS be something "not ideal" about my body, but I don't want dissatisfaction to spoil my opportunity to have joy NOW and in all circumstances. (Sidenote: It was harder to convince OTHERS that I WAS okay with my appearance and felt beautiful. Acne had always bothered me some, but never hugely — not like those sitcom teens that stay home from school because they have a pimple [I'd be home every day!]. But it was what others said about my skin that made me feel ashamed and self-conscious. Specifically, several family members said some things I'm still a bit scarred by. I finally had to put my foot down and say, "I've accepted myself the way that I am, and this talk is unacceptable." One of the hardest things I've done, but after that I truly did start to feel more comfortable being the me-I-am-right-now rather than feeling that the me-I-am wasn't good enough and needed to change.) 17 agree Reply This is beautiful and you are beautiful. 2 agree Reply I'm having a hard time balancing trying to be appreciative of myself at my current size with the knowledge that I really would be healthier if I lost some weight. I have arthritis and other joint issues which could potentially be much improved if I was less heavy. I'm glad I have a supportive partner who makes it clear that he loves me and is attracted to me as I am, even as I work on changing myself. 7 agree Reply I'm with you on that one. And it's kind of a catch-22 situation: losing the weight that is hurting my joints requires self-love and motivation that I have a very hard time summoning when I can't, in fact, like myself the way that I am right now. I haven't found a way out of that one yet. 5 agree Reply Yes, exactly! Reply I don't exactly know how you learn to appreciate yourself, but I will say that if you can I found it so tremendously helpful to losing weight in a healthy way. When I was younger and skinnier I always thought I needed to lose weight, but I couldn't do it because I was too hard on myself and would quit when I didn't see immediate results. Through college, even though I was gaining weight, I learned to think that I was beautiful and sexy and no longer attempted to lose weight. Then about 2 years ago I realized that I had really become complacent, and even though I felt good about how I looked I would probably be a little healthier carrying a little less weight. I started making small changes, trying to make sure I wasn't overeating and making an effort to move around a little more… nothing drastic. Since I was taking little steps instead of trying to overhaul my whole eating and working out routine, it was easier to adapt to. Since I already like the way I look, I don't beat myself up if I "cheat" or "fail" on a certain day, and I didn't get frustrated not seeing results because I already liked what I saw. It has made all the difference. 7 agree Reply Yeah, this is the approach I'm trying to take. I had some success in the past with gradual, healthy weight loss, so I kind of know how it'll go; I unfortunately gained it all back and more due largely to stress and depression. I got a Fitbit about a month ago, and that's been helpful for me, and a couple days ago started a food log, which was a major factor in my weight loss before. I'm not doing any huge calorie deficits, just being more mindful about what I eat and how much I move around. I know it's going to take a couple years to get where I want to be, and I try to be ok with that. 2 agree Reply I love my fitbit. It's been vastly helpful to me. Before I got it I feel like I had no sense of how much food I needed to fuel my body, what amount is too little and what amount is too much. Also it's such a little thing but just seeing that number of steps really motivates me to get up from my desk every half hour and do a lap around my building, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. 4 agree Reply Great article, being comfortable in your own skin is the most important thing for anyone. I am plus size and quite confident and comfortable in my own skin. People I know that are super fit are quite uncomfortable with my confidence, it really bothers them that I am not uncomfortable by my own body, they can't quite believe that it is possible to be comfortable in your own skin without the expectation of a "perfect" body 4 agree Reply Haha, so true. Reply I was so happy to see this. I am just coming to learn more about the body acceptance movement. And it isn't just about fat people being happy with their bodies, it is about EVERYONE being happy with their bodies. There is a lot of research out there that is showing traditional (and fad) diets do horrid things to your body and chances are good you won't keep the weight off. But these won't be shown because the $60billion weight loss industry has such deep pockets. A great resource for this is a book called Health at Every Size by Dr. Linda Bacon. She goes through a ton of research that has been done with the effectiveness of diets or "life style changes". That "fat" is just another body type. It is no different than tall, short, black, white, blonde or brunette. As for myself, I am considered morbidly obese. I threw out my scale last month and I am thrilled. I do my yoga, bellydance and bike. I do what makes me happy and makes me feel my best. If I enjoy a slice of pizza, great! If I want to buy fresh organic veggies at my farmer's market, I do that too! Everyone has to do what works for them and makes them happy. For me, I am learning to love myself again and be my best self. 8 agree Reply THIS. I'll check out that book, thank you! Reply I go around on this issue all the time and I've realized, I feel the best about myself and my body whenever I am treating myself with loving respect. Regardless of my size, which fluctuates about 10 pounds up and down each year it seems, I feel beautiful and love myself just the way I am when I am eating in a way that nourishes me, and spending enough time moving my body, exercising and dancing. As soon as I start treating myself poorly, (eating stuff that I know doesn't nourish me well for multiple meals, not moving enough etc), I start to feel FAT. I could be the exact same size and feel gloriously gorgeous or fat as heck just based upon how I've been treating myself. I also feel better about myself when I wear clothes that are flattering, or when I'm naked, when I've just had some great orgasms, worked out, danced my face off, or just had a great time with friends. I read somewhere (and it might have been Geneen Roth) that when I feel FAT, it's just a catch all phrase for feeling bad about myself and that really resonates with me. My extra 10-15 pounds doesn't matter to my husband, it doesn't keep me from being an amazing dancer or performer (I hoop dance and fire dance), and it doesn't keep me from feeling beautiful unless I start to treat myself like crap. Then I feel like I need to be thinner, which is really just code for being better to myself. Thank you for reminding me of this! 5 agree Reply "As soon as I start treating myself poorly, (eating stuff that I know doesn't nourish me well for multiple meals, not moving enough etc), I start to feel FAT. I could be the exact same size and feel gloriously gorgeous or fat as heck just based upon how I've been treating myself." THIS. While I have, in fact, gained more weight than I have in a long time just because this past winter has been too horrible for me to want to go out and get moving (I've suffered The Great Massachusetts Winter of 2015), I feel worse about it than I normally do because I've been totally lax on vegetables and such. It's been a pizza and velveeta kind of season, and my poor body can feel the difference. I feel so much better when I'm eating balanced meals and getting exercise. To be honest, a large part of my desire to lose weight really stems from my hatred of clothes shopping – I don't want to have to buy an entire new wardrobe just to have things that fit! 2 agree Reply Size is most definitely not an indicator of health. I am a naturally very thin person who has opposite problem when I see the doctor: instead of complaining of a health issue and having the doctor say, "Oh lose wright and it will solve your problem," they go, "Oh, you're so thin, you can't possibly have any health problems." Right. Okay. Tell that to the endometrial growths on my uterus. >:( And regarding beauty— attraction might be highly personal, but ALL bodies are beautiful because they belong to human beings. 7 agree Reply Love this! It's so liberating to stop making decisions about how you live your life based on how many people will like that decision (or not). I'm so happy to be able to live from a place of not giving a shit what other people think of me (a constant process, one I'm always working on!). I love living in line with my own values and what's important to me, not other people. Rock on, sista! 3 agree Reply Wooord on the constant process. Thank you! Reply I've been a lot of sizes, & I've been a lot of levels of happiness. The two have not had any direct correlation. It's kind of like, does my eye color effect how happy I am with myself? No. Why would it? It's just one part of who I am. Ditto my weight. It's no more important than my intelligence, my sense of humor, my sexiness, my smile, the curl of my hair, or my personal aesthetics. There are a million things that make up who I am & that go into making me satisfied with my life. 3 agree Reply I love this, as this type of issue is something I've struggled with my entire life. As a female who hit six feet tall before she hit puberty and finally quit at 6'4" in late high school, I've been extremely self-conscious of my size for as long as I can remember. There's not a single thing I can do about it, of course (if there were some kind of liposuction type surgery for height I would have gotten it 20 years ago), but it doesn't make it any less hurtful when strangers make remarks and comments. Being happy with my size is still a ways off for me, but it's great to hear from people who are figuring it out a little more quickly than I 🙂 3 agree Reply i was in my early twenties, having a lovely holiday in france when i realized that i did not want to obsess my whole life over my weight, constantly trying to get thinner and feeling bad for eating. surrounded by baguette and cheese and people who really enjoyed themselves i had my moment of enlightment and managed to step out of that mindset. why would i not love my body who works flawlessly for me… it was so liberating! definitely worth it! 1 agrees Reply Thank you for a great article. As long as we are healthy and happy size matters not… I am technically underweight. I work out. I skimp on meals. I fight with feeling ugly and fat. I am disgusting to myself. My life is constant struggle. It revolves around food and the so called perfect image, the beautiful skinny symbols of today…. I have an eating disorder. And I am jealous of you, your brain, your body. You are the perfection I am seeking. Thank you for writing this. One day, if I work hard enough I will be like you! I know it!!!! 3 agree Reply Ugh, the skinny symbols! I don't even find them attractive and they can still make me feel bad about myself – it's so cray. Thank you for the kind words. Also YOU are the perfection you are seeking!!! Reply This was reposted at the absolute perfect time. I wrote this about a year ago, and just this month my healthy state of mind had fallen away. It's funny how the most random things can throw me off, I caught my reflection on accident and realized I totally suck in my belly when I look in the mirror. That's it. So silly, but it really recharged old thought patterns I thought I had disappeared. "I'm too fat to find someone", "That person's staring at my stomach", "I shouldn't be eating", etc. Hello old nemesis'… I was having a particularly down morning when I saw that my blog views were way up, which lead me here. The kind, wise, awesomesauce words of the Offbeat community to the rescue! I feel like healthy-minded me again. Thank you SO much for reposting Offbeat, and for the amazing comments! I love you strangers! 6 agree Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.