Happiness and weight tend to be seen as seemingly mutually inclusive matters. You don’t need to be skinny to be happy. Or, you can’t be happy if you’re fat. But is that really the true? Is that really the case?
“Being healthy is not about the amount of weight that you lose, but the life that you gain. ” Anonymous
“Damn it.” I thought as I looked down at the bag of Doritos I’d just finished. “I’m gonna have to eat only vegetables this entire weekend just to work this off.” I threw the bag down in disgust and walked to the kitchen. It’s funny how much I attached my quality of life to how much I weighed. If I were any bigger I’d never get married, I’d never travel the world, I’d never meet the man of my dreams. It’s funny since I weighed about 150 lbs at the time.
For years I have struggled with attaining what my idea of the perfect weight was. Each time I’d go grocery shopping I’d study the labels, I’d count the calories, I’d think of all the happiness I was missing out on because of my stomach. When did I become this person? When did I lose sight of myself?
My ex and I had only been living together for 4 months when the verbal and psychological abuse began. Before then I’d been in college, and with my lack of a full-time job, and thus a lack of money I hardly ate full meals, if any at all. After moving in, I had a lot more money and thus more food. I could snuggle up in bed and watch a movie while munching on some popcorn or grab some cereal. I was comfortable.
He was constantly away on work assignments so I was alone quite a bit. At first we’d talk almost every night and it was great. Soon, every night became every three nights, and this soon became every week. He was slowly but surely telling me he had lost interest. I was devastated. In a last attempt to stir up some sort of feelings, I sent him, what I thought at the time, a very sexy picture of myself.
“Don’t you ever send me anything like that ever again. That was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen!”
Those words cut into me like a maniac with a dagger. If I told you I was hurt that would be a lie. I wasn’t hurt. A part of me died that day. That was the moment my struggle with weight, body anxiety, and overall lack of self esteem began. The last thing I remember of that night was staring at a knife laying on the counter-top until I cried myself to sleep.
A few weeks after the relationship ended, my mother and I ran into my ex’s mother and sister. I will never forget the look on my mother’s face as they laughed me to scorn. In their eyes I was a pig that had been fattened up by the butcher. I was the trash that had had been tossed out. I was less than human.
It has taken me many years, lots of crying, and a breakthrough, but I have come to realize that true beauty lies beneath. I’ve also come to understand that size does not equal happiness. What really matters is that you are happy and healthy, and that you are living your life to the best of your ability.
Don’t let society tell you that smaller is better, or even that bigger is better. Happiness and weight are not necessarily mutually exclusive but true happiness does not exist on a scale. True happiness exists in every moment that takes your breath away. It lies in the little things that make life worth living. True happiness depends on you.
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