A wee, mythical creature of some sort apparently snuck into my bedroom last night and ruined my thighs.1 I didn’t discover this until I sat down on my bed this morning to put my socks on and glanced down at my thighs. What happened? I used to have smoother, thinner thighs! Granted, my outer thighs have always had a bit of cottage cheese appear when I sit down, but it had found its way to the tops of my thighs. In shock, I examined the dimpled markings on my upper quads before frantically checking the rest of my lower body. Everything else looked relatively normal. Nothing cottage cheese-like.2 After breathing a sigh of relief, my brain immediately began going through all of the reasons of how this could have happened. Though I’d like to blame some kind of make-believe creature, I know that there is a logical reason for this change in my body.
The cottage cheese in my thighs is, of course, cellulite. This is a word I’ve dreaded my whole life and avoiding it was part of my motivation for dieting in the first place. In my head, only fat people have cellulite, so therefore, if I were thin, cellulite would never be a worry of mine.3 Well, something got in the way of my plan and that something is the aging process. As much as I’d like to avoid getting older, I knew from the get-go that I can’t fight age4 and that there is nothing I can do to stop cellulite from becoming more visible as the years tick by.
Another factor in the appearance of cellulite was my weight. I was underweight at the height of my dieting, but I was determined to have a better relationship with food. With that came returning to a healthier weight. I put on a few pounds and my body became a bit rounder and softer. I also noticed that when I bent over, the rolls of my stomach were slightly more pronounced, and, yes, I noted the new cellulite on my thighs. I could react in a variety of ways. Here were there choices that swam in my head:
- I could go back to dieting and all that that entailed and reduce the fat on my body in hopes that my cellulite (and stomach rolls) would decrease.
- I could choose to not diet but obsess about the cellulite.
- I could continue to shun dieting and let the cellulite simply be.
I went with #3 and here’s why. I am done with dieting, so #1 was not an option….period. When I dieted, I was miserable and I was probably not the most pleasant person to be around.5 My desire to enjoy life more, which includes enjoying the food I eat, means that the cellulite stays. Losing a few pounds is not worth going back to the hell that was dieting.
I could go with #2 and not be a hypocrite about being done with dieting. Sure, I’d still enjoy my lightly salted yellow corn tortilla chips or my delicious handfuls of roasted almonds, but I’d be in this daily mental tug-of-war. My body would be satisfied with my food choices, but my mind would be in anguish. Every additional chip you eat means an additional dimple of cellulite! Did I want to live this way? Nope. I wanted peace with food, and #2 would not provide me with that.
#3 was the only choice left. Did I like my only option? Not necessarily, but I am determined to not let dieting back into my life. The other options come at too high of a price. My health, both mental and physical, is important to me, and #1 and #2 sacrifice those.
I have come to the realization that I don’t have to approve of my body, but I can accept it. There is a certain amount of freedom that comes with this approach to my changing body. The stress is less and my mind has more space to think. It’s truly liberating. I am not saying that my mind will never again think about my cellulite, but it will be a simple notation rather than rumination. I can acknowledge my body, rolls, cellulite, or whatever and then move on.
So, is this what acceptance feels like? For me, the answer is “yes”. It’s a place I never thought I’d ever come close to, let alone be comfortable with. I am human and may wander a bit from this place, but I believe I will always come back to it. From this point forward, I will strive to accept my cellulite, accept my rolls, and, more importantly, accept me.
What part of yourself do you not necessarily approve of but still accept? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
2Well, I couldn’t see my butt while seated. That might be cottage cheesed too. Sigh…
3Ha! Problem solved!
4Good-bye perky breasts! Hello grey hair and crow’s feet!
5I’d ask my husband, but I’m afraid of his response. We’re still married, so either he loves me unconditionally or I wasn’t that bad. I suspect it’s the former.
Thank you so much for reading my blog! I am honored that you chose to read about my experience.
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