Excerpt from 100 Tips and Tools for Managing Chronic Illness: Body Beautiful

13. Body Beautiful  

After three months of sitting on the couch and bingewatching Grey’s Anatomy, funked out, combined with holiday overeating and two months of illness, I gained ten pounds. I had just enough work clothes to make it through the week. In the mirror, I saw a small watermelon nestled just below my rib cage. I kept thinking, this isn’t good, but I’m not allowed to catastrophize. I will lose the weight eventually. This fluctuation in weight is common for many women in their 50s and 60s. I have several friends who gain and lose fifteen pounds routinely. I thought, under no circumstances am I allowed to hate my body. So I didn’t.

I tried to combine my limited work wardrobe in creative ways. My colleagues complimented me. I worried that I would be less attractive, but both a previous and a current paramour let me know this wasn’t an issue. I struggled, failing week in and week out to lose the ten pounds. I repeated: you are only allowed to love your body. Eventually I did. I still need to lose the weight. I pine to fit into more of my clothing, but I’m not in a downward spiral of self-hate.

Sometimes we get sicker, sometimes we get fatter. It’s life. With determination and self-acceptance, we can continue to change. Sometimes we return to the way we want to be, and sometimes we change by moving forward. Selfhate only hinders the process. It’s better to practice selflove—that’s what heals.

Read more by and about Joanna Charnas, this book, and her other books HERE.


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