Yesterday, I looked at the scale and noticed that my weight had gone up by six or seven pounds since the last time I checked. This was to be expected, since a little over a month ago I started a new medication called lithium. One of the major side effects of lithium is weight gain. I hadn’t really noticed anything had changed and no one had mentioned anything to me.
At first, I was a little upset. But then I realized that I should be happy. Because I am happy. For the first time in months, even years, I feel like a person. I have a lot more energy and enthusiasm for life. I don’t have the constant, horrible feeling of depression eating away at myself. I actually like who I am. And that includes my body, flaws and all.
I know that I could benefit from healthier habits. Now that I can actually get out of bed and engage in activities without getting exhausted, I’m going to try to incorporate regular physical activity into my lifestyle. Exercise may help you improve your cardiovascular health and build muscle, but it also reduces stress, improves relaxation, sharpens memory and more. I also want to eat more vegetables, because let’s face it, some days I have none. Vegetables (and fruits) provide essential nutrient and may help prevent certain diseases, but they have also shown to improve mental well-being. But I refuse to stop eating the things I love (in moderation). I also refuse to hate my body or hide it.
I recently wrote a bucket list of 29 things I want to do before I turn 29 years old next year. One of the items was “lose 20 pounds”. While I still want to lose the weight because I think I would feel better and healthier in general, I am not too fussed about it anymore. I’m going to try my best to reach this goal and work really hard, but I’m not going to let my mental health suffer in the process. Nor will I make the achievement of this goal the center of my life. This means that I will try to eat and exercise intuitively, while respecting my needs.
Last week, for the umpteenth time in my life, a stranger thought I was pregnant and offered me their seat on public transit. I can’t say that didn’t sting a little but I got over it pretty quickly. My partner tells me I am beautiful all the time and I care about his opinion more than most. But most importantly, I feel beautiful and think I Iook beautiful.
I want to focus on being more forgiving towards my body and improving my self-esteem and self-acceptance. It would be absolutely lovely to be liberated from society’s enforced beauty standards. I want to focus on living healthy so that I can focus my energy on changing the world, not changing my appearance. My aspirations involve becoming a powerful leader, not just becoming a size 6. I want to focus on a realistic body image and figure out how to lead a more balanced life. Attaining a peaceful relationship with my body, food and exercise would be ideal – a relationship that is positive, rather than based on punishment. I don’t want to be defined by my size nor do I want my body to determine my worth. But at the same time, I want to be comfortable in taking up space in society and being visible. I want to celebrate bodies like mine and bodies of all sizes.
Finally, and this may seem silly, but I want to be comfortable enough with myself to wear a bikini. I haven’t done that in years!