Cottage cheese was injected into my upper thighs last night. A wee, mythical creature of sorts apparently snuck into my bedroom last night1 and ruined my thighs. I sat down today to put on my socks 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 crept to the tops of my thighs. I was appalled as I noticed more dimpled markings on my upper quads now. I immediately and frantically checked the rest of my 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. Avoiding it was part of my motivation for dieting in the first place. In my head, fat people have cellulite. Therefore, if I was thin, cellulite would never be a worry of mine. Ha! Problem solved! Well, something got in the way of my plan and that something is the aging process. As difficult as it was to fight with my body about the way it looked, I knew from the get-go that I couldn’t fight age. Good-bye perky breasts, hello grey hair and crow’s feet. As much as I’d like to avoid this, there is nothing I can do to alter the fact that I will experiences these changes as the years tick by.
Another factor in the appearance of cellulite was my weight. I was slightly 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 noticed that my body became a bit rounder, a bit softer. I noticed that when I bent over, the rolls of my stomach were slightly more pronounced, and, yes, I noticed the new cellulite in my thighs. I could react in a variety of ways. Here were there choices that swam in my head:
- I could immediately 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 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. I was miserable and I was probably miserable to be around.3 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 mentally and physically, 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, 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 can’t twist around enough to see my butt. That might be cottage cheesed too. Sigh….
3I’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.
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