This Is How I Learned To Love Myself Again After Gaining Weight

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Almost all women go through periods in life during which they put on weight. Whether it’s the Christmas holidays, a long vacation in a foody destination, or a pregnancy, putting on a few extra kilos happens to all of us. The problem is that in a society in which being skinny seems to be valued among everything else, these natural weight fluctuations can be detrimental to our mental health. This is why, when putting on weight, it’s crucial to focus on both our physical and mental well-being. Here is how I managed to love my body again after gaining weight.

How Did I Feel?

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I felt hopeless and discouraged. But then I thought, was it worth it to self-shame too? My body changed after marriage and the baby, but inside, I was the same fun-loving and jolly person. I decided not to brood anymore about how I look. Instead, I focused more on accepting myself and finding happiness in who I am.

It marked the start of a profound journey—a quest to accept the extra pounds and celebrate them. This is how I learned to silence the inner critic and embrace every curve and contour of my changing body with love and respect.

It Started with Negative Self-Talk

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The journey began in a department store fitting room, where I struggled with jeans that no longer fit. I had been wearing the same size for years, and now this looked like it was meant for someone ten years younger than me. As I faced my reflection, my inner critic unleashed a barrage of negativity.

Recognizing Negativity

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How fat have I grown? Did I have to let go of myself so much that I now have to start buying plus-size outfits? That’s when I first recognized the negativity of my self-talk. I knew I had to do something, or this guilt would deplete my confidence for life. Awareness of negative self-talk was the first step.

From Criticism to Kindness

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From then on, I started countering every negative thought with a positive affirmation, slowly changing the narrative from criticism to kindness. I started focusing more on what I could do – focus more on my abilities. I knew I had to be kind to myself if I had to come out of this situation happily.

Choosing Fitness

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I had healthy arms and legs, so I signed up for Yoga. In these sessions, I learned the value of strength and flexibility over aesthetics. Each pose I mastered taught me to appreciate what my body could do. I started loving my body again, which instilled a sense of pride.

The yoga practice improved my physical strength, brought mental clarity, and increased my emotional resilience, reminding me daily of my body’s capabilities and resilience.

Adding More Activities in My Life

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Honestly, I didn’t lose much weight even after Yoga sessions. I still weighed over 190 pounds. But I did start feeling good about my body at this time. I decided not to focus on weight anymore and started fitting hobbies that could fit into my routine.

Shifting Focus to Fun Activities

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I signed up for dancing lessons for fun. It allowed me to enjoy the freedom and rhythm of movement, making me feel alive and grateful for my body’s capabilities. Whether it was a structured class or a spontaneous dance in my living room, moving to music became a celebration of my body’s movement, not its size. This physical expression of joy helped to break down the walls of self-critique further and opened a space for self-celebration.

The Food I Loved

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The initial couple of months focused on exercising, signing up for hobbies that might have helped shed some weight, and eating the right food. To tell you the truth, I got tired of it. Why? I started loving my body in its current state. I no longer longed for a slim figure. This was another decisive moment in my life. I was not ready to give up on my favorite pasta and ice cream sundaes.

Choosing Happiness Over Weight

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What’s so bad about eating what I love if it’s not harming my body? Of course, I did not plan on eating like an ogre. It was just about eating what I love but in slight moderation. This helped me balance my favorite grub and my love for my body.

Enjoying Making Fun of Myself

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Guess what – I was still fat, and people still stared when I went to the stores. But this did not bother me anymore as I accepted who I was. When with family or friends, I wouldn’t wait for anyone to pass comments about my weight. Rather, I became the first one whenever the situation arose.

I was surprised that people loved me more when I was cool, making fun of my round body. I guess it wasn’t as big a deal as I used to think. So what if you are fat?

Investing in Mental Well-being

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I delved into books and podcasts about self-love and body positivity, absorbing stories and advice that resonated with my experiences. Embracing meditation helped clear my mind and focus on gratitude, reinforcing a state of calm and acceptance within myself.

Practicing Gratitude

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Reflecting on my daily experiences, acknowledging small victories, and practicing gratitude solidified my new, healthier mindset. Self-care and self-love taught me to appreciate the present moment and recognize my continuous progress toward a more self-compassionate life.

To anyone facing challenges with body image, a number on a scale does not define you. Your body deserves care and respect. Embrace your journey to self-love—it may be fraught with challenges, but it is incredibly rewarding.

Stop Following Beauty Standards

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Another important realization was that beauty standards are not fixed. Have you ever looked at a picture of Marylin Monroe in her prime? Paradoxically, she would be considered way too curvy to work as a model for most fashion magazines and brands nowadays. This is why it makes no sense to feel bad whenever your body doesn’t reflect the current beauty standards. Chances are that in a different country, plenty of women would be jealous of your body.

Focusing On How I Feel Rather Than How I Look

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My life also drastically changed when I started to focus on why I feel rather than how my body looks in the mirror. While weight is often a good indicator of health, this is not always the case. Rather than asking myself, ‘How do I look?’ I started to wonder, ‘Do I feel strong?’ ‘Do I feel healthy?’ ‘Am I rested today? And what can I do about it?’

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