Embrace Your Body

Embrace Your Body
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

On April 9th, Xtend Barre hosted a Ladies Night moving screening of the 2016 documentary Embrace. If you haven’t seen it or heard of it before, you need to watch it. This goes for both males and females. Taryn Brumfitt goes on a self love journey around the world talking to women about body image and how female bodies are portrayed in the media.

I really didn’t think I’d want/feel the need to blog about it BUT HERE WE ARE.

I only cried like, 5 times.

Looking around the room at moments I was tearing up or fully crying, I noticed I wasn’t the only one. I know for a fact that one or more sections of the documentary struck a cord with each woman in the room that they could relate to.

Stats would scroll on the screen and the women would pipe up. “What??” “Ugh, I hear that.” “Yup.” “Oh my god.”

Being that I’ve never had children nor do I plan on it, the moments when Taryn or women on screen being interviewed were talking about how much they hated their post pregnant bodies, I couldn’t relate to that kind of self shaming. But the pain is something you can feel regardless. Boy howdy do I know all about other self body shaming though.

After we watched the documentary, a bunch of women came forward to share what they took away from it or what their struggles were, and it was very personal and raw and I feel like an idiot for not speaking up. SUCH IS THE LIFE WHEN YOU’RE AFRAID OF ANY PUBLIC SPEAKING.

So I will hide behind my typing and blog. Ahh, the internet: my safe haven.

Being that I’m a breathing, living human being living on planet Earth, I’ve grown up with body issues. When I was younger, I was athletic as hell. I played all the sports and didn’t really notice other peoples bodies because we all looked the same. Then puberty came along and was like “Okay, your somewhat enjoyable existence is officially over. Time for confusion, self hatred, and thinking you’re smarter than your mom! Also, you’re going to bleed once a month because fuck you.”

Suddenly, being fit and athletic didn’t just come naturally anymore and now at age 14, I had to actually work at it. Annoying. With my personal life in the father department going to complete shit, I quit sports/had a horrible hockey injury and became depressed for about a year. Without getting into the nitty gritty of THAT portion of my life because girlfriends gotta get some sleep tonight, I started hating my body at the ripe age of 16.

Which, fun fact, I was quite a late bloomer in the hating myself department. Girls can start suffering from body image pains at age 7. Thank GOD I was born in an era where I was hardly subjected to media because it wasn’t considered child abuse to let your children play outside all day unsupervised.

I eventually turned 18 and decided partying was the only way of life. Drinking heavily every weekend to the point where I’d barf 3 times a weekend, dancing with my lady friends was my cardio, and eating garbage food became my staple.

Woohoo, I was suddenly a size 0, had absolutely no muscle mass and was miserable!YAY GOALS.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast being a bar star but wow do I not miss those days.

Once going to clubs got old, I was introduced to pubs and have lived in them ever since. “Wait, I can SIT and drink BEER and that’s…fine?” Goddamn, I love sitting. It’s the best. This appeals to me. So instead of puking and dancing for 324896329864 hours on the weekend, I sat, sipped beer, and gained a shitload of weight.

Okay, a shitload is not the proper measurement I should be using as I went from a 0 to an uncomfortable 8 in record time. SPOILER ALERT: SIZE 8 ISN’T FAT. But when you’re a 0, it sure feels like it. I went from an unhealthy 125lbs to 150lbs quickly. Then it spiraled even further to 165lbs. Suddenly, for my height and all that technical shit, I was suddenly obese.

On that note: BMI charts can eat a cheeseburger. According to the internet, this is obesity:

From my early 20s until August 2016, I was constantly fighting with my body. Fuck, I just want to be thin. Everyone else can lose weight why the hell can’t I. And according to society, the above Obese Carolyn wasn’t skinny enough. I tried dieting, I tried to starve myself because that’s totally how you lose weight (would last about 7 hours and then I was like hello cheese, my old friend), I tried those stupid Kardashian pills, I tried it all.

2 years ago, I went to my doctor for a routine check up. After doing all the regular poking and prodding, he looks at me and says “you’d be happier if you lost 10lbs.”

Oh. Okay. Tell me more about MY happiness and how it should be measured by the number on my scale. But deep down inside I was thinking “yeah probably.” He then set me up with their handy nutritionist and I promptly did not show up to that appointment.

I stopped going to him THAT day.

This past August I finally decided holy fucking shit woman, why don’t you just live healthier and actually try. So I bought myself a fitbit and have yet to look back. My intention was to lose 30lbs by February for when I went to Hawaii. HAD TO GET BIKINI READY M I RITE!?

My biggest obstacle whenever I tried to lose the weight previously was that, if I didn’t immediately see the number on the scale drop within a couple days, what was the fucking point. LOL adorable. And I bet a MILLION people do this. You try SO hard to be SO healthy for a couple days and it doesn’t show. It’s an absolute asinine way of thinking BUT IT’S THE ONLY WAY OF THINKING.

I knew I needed to get past that immediate point. Thankfully, my fitbit kept me accountable by telling me to get off my ass and get some steps when I was sitting for too long. Yes sir, right away sir, sorry sir. After getting past that obstacle of giving up immediately, I was hooked on fitness almost immediately. I was SO happy and it felt SO good to work out. And it’s not like I was killing myself at the gym. I was walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes. That’s all. It’s not like I went cold turkey on shite food. I adopted the mentality North American society can’t seem to grasp: moderation.

I refuse to give myself a cheat day. I won’t do it. I will become obsessed with getting to that cheat day and then drown in a sea of garbage shit that entire day and that is NOT a healthy way to live. The concept of Cheat Day needs to fucking die. Every day is a cheat day. If baby girl wants some chocolate, BABY GIRL GON GET SOME CHOCOLATE.

I managed to lose 15lbs in 5 months. Hurray! It wasn’t always easy and it absolutely was not a walk in the park. I had my days where I looked in the mirror and thought “fuck you’re fat, just give up and be fat” but the days where I looked in the mirror and thought “get it girl, you are crushing this.” And it takes a long time for the positive you to overtake the negative you. It’s easier to be negative. I had to train my brain to be positive.

<p> <em>August 3, 2016: 165lbs vs March 31, 2017: 147lbs.</em> </p>

August 3, 2016: 165lbs vs March 31, 2017: 147lbs.

I went to the Great Canadian FitFest in January. It was a ton of fun! And then I went to one of the gyms booths who will remain nameless and they did a body scan on me. The trainer told me:

“you’d be happier if you lost 15lbs.”

I was absolutely defeated. I could have cried right there. CONCEAL DON’T FEEL. I went from 165lbs to 150lbs in a very healthy way and was so proud of myself only to find out it was not good enough.

Me: Oh. Well. I did just lose 15lbs…Trainer: Great, so you’re on your way!

Right. I had another 15lbs to lose to hit my goal of 30lbs lost. Only…I had about a month and a half to do it. Perfect.

Hawaii time came around and I had lost a total of 17lbs. I put on my summer clothing and a couple bathing suits and felt FANTASTIC. What was my obsession with the number on the scale. DAMN THAT SCALE DAMN IT TO HELL. What does it freaking matter when I feel fantastic.

<p> <em>Gross, you didn’t hit your target, should you even be allowed on the beach?</em> </p>

Gross, you didn’t hit your target, should you even be allowed on the beach?

I recently decided, okay, 30lbs lost by August 3rd. My one year date of starting this new lifestyle bullshit. Surely to Christ you can lose 30lbs in a goddamn year.

Watching Embrace tonight, LITERALLY screw the 30lbs. You know what, I feel goddamn great right now (okay maybe not right at this very moment because popcorn & mini chocolate eggs for days tonight YUM). Will I keep fitnessing? Of course! I feel great when I work out. Will I keep eating in moderation and healthy with a side of cheese and chocolate? Of course! But the 30lb goal by August 3rd is officially out of here.

What do I think is going to happen if I stick to this goal? I’m now a Complete Person? I now have a Degree in Happiness and can teach at the school of Talking Out Of Your Ass? I can now officially wear my “I’m done growing as a human, ask me how!” pin? What EXACTLY am I getting out of reaching this “goal”? Probably immediate satisfaction that fades into a “k now what.” I have never run on goal setting; I emphatically hate setting goals because of the crippling anxiety I get if I don’t succeed.

Am I happy I’ve lost weight? Of course I am, I’m not going to sit here and deny that. I’m very proud of how I worked for the body I have. Working out just makes me feel GOOD. Eating infinitely better than I did 8 months ago makes me feel GOOD. But I’m just done. I’m done with checking the scale almost daily to see if I lost more weight. I’m just so done. I’ve been feeling this way for a while now but I didn’t want to admit failure. Failure of not hitting my goal weight.

“Failure” has never tasted so good. Like donuts.

As of this moment: I’m healthy, I’m strong, I’m confident, I’m a breathing human being on planet Earth.

I do not need to lose 30lbs to define myself.

I will not keep looking in the mirror and pick out my flaws.I will not keep looking at food like it’s the enemy.I will not let others tell me how I should feel.

In the words of The Bitchin’ Housewife, Jen:

“I am perfect just the way I am. I am loved. I am who and what I need to be in this very moment.”

Before You Go

Popular in the Community