An Open Letter to My New Body

To my new body,

I’m sorry I have been so mean to you lately. I’ve called you names and turned my nose up in disgust when I really should have been thanking you for everything you’ve supported me through. Even while struggling with an eating disorder for most of my life, I still
found a way to participate in all of the active sports I loved as a child thanks to you.

I’m sorry for avoiding your reflection in the mirror and squeezing you into clothes
that you no longer fit into. You see, I’m not used to seeing my body in this way. Try to understand that throughout my whole life you have looked a certain way and I have come to have the expectation that you should always look that way. Thank you for being patient with me because it’s taking a moment recognize that this new body is mine. Not only that it’s mine, but also that this new body is healthier. This is the body of a woman in her mid 20’s battling an eating disorder and learning how to nourish her body in a more intuitive and mindful way. This is a body going through the grueling process of healing. It a roller-coaster filled with stress hormones from my constant flight or fight response alarms going off despite my best efforts to remind it that nothing that I am doing is scary. It’s a body that is learning slowly that it can trust me again just like I am learning how to trust my body.

I am still learning how to feel beautiful in this body and that is okay! As much as I hate to admit it, my beauty standards are highly conditioned by our media and the poison they spread by making women feel inferior for not achieving a body size that is physically impossible. We are not meant to look the same. We are not meant to stay the same size and shape throughout our lives. While logic tells me these things, something still hasn’t clicked in my ED brain to release the expectation of perfection that I seem to have set for myself.

The best way I know how to release this expectation is to also release the expectation that I will one day wake up and feel beautiful every day and love my body every second. That I will one day show off my tummy rolls and stretch marks and random little hairs that I know we all pluck in secret and pretend we never had. I have to accept that some days I won’t be filled with confidence and feel the most beautiful, but appreciating my body and all it has done for me can be done if I have confidence or not.

Dear my new body, I promise to do my best to fight off my distorted thoughts to keep you healthy. When I find that the fight is becoming too difficult to bare on my shoulders, I will lean on my team; because attacking an eating disorder from all sides is impossible when you only have two hands. I promise to try my hardest to change my mindset about what it means to be beautiful. To consciously filter what media I am spending my time consuming. I promise to disconnect the way I measure beauty from my clothing size and the number that appears on the scale. I promise to move my body joyfully and not for the purpose of losing weight or punishing myself for my food choices. I promise not to push myself through a workout in efforts to make my body look a certain way. I promise to be nicer to you with my words and thoughts, because you have been so strong for me throughout my whole life.

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