In college, I had a classmate who had traveled to India for a month. She had come home with a parasite that had caused her to lose drastic amounts of weight. She started out a small woman and became emaciated. You could see her eyes sunken in and she did not have the glow of health. Yet women kept coming up to her telling her how great she looked.
I had this experience again recently with a friend who had fallen ill. She had lost the weight due to a health issue, which you could see in her eyes. It had been a hard loss, of weight and other things. Yet I listened to other women telling her how amazing she looked without knowing what was truly underneath it.
It occurred to me that as women, we are always striving to be thinner, and assume if you have lost weight it was on purpose and it is assumed that we are all trying to be thinner. And that is not always the case. Yes, weight loss can be better for our health at times. But this to me speaks to a bigger issue of women not being comfortable in our own skin, and always striving to be different. I even find myself in this boat on occasion. We often spend more time beating ourselves up than we do lifting ourselves up in love and acceptance. Time and time again I meet women that don’t see the beauty they possess. With weight loss, I tell my patients to strive to be healthy. Fitness and diet are of course important, but so is self-love and acceptance. As women we have so many changes that happen that affect our body, and we need to learn to embrace every one of them. I say we because that includes me. I have done work on this, yet I have found myself falling into this trap as my wedding approaches. Wouldn’t it be nice to be 1 0 pounds thinner. So, I have tried to shift my gaze focused on getting back into shape after medical school and residency, and try and love myself for the shape and size I am now. Some days it is easier than others, but I persist. What are you doing to love yourself today?