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Do You Need To Love Your Body Before You Can Find Love?

Nicole MooreBefore I fell in love with a man for the first time, I was madly in love with something else…being thin. 

This love affair started when I was young and it grew deeper and deeper in high school and college.

I placed all of my hopes and dreams on being thin.

If only I could reach my goal weight, then everything would be perfect.  Then I would be loved.

Perhaps on some level I was searching for the acceptance of my father, who used to make fun of me when I was younger and call me fat.

I remember choking back tears in my throat after he would pinch my double chin or tell me that my butt was too big.   It really, really hurt. Much more than my tender heart could process at the time.

I learned to swallow my emotions as quickly as I swallowed food down my throat.

My young brain must have thought, “I am unlovable because I am fat. I have to be thin for him to love me.”

Which of course, later translated into if I am just thin enough, then everyone will love me, especially men.

And since I was so love starved, I did anything I could to be thin because I thought it would get me the love that I wanted.  And I mean anything.

You know how they banned ephedra pills because they were so dangerous?  In junior year of college, I  found a way to make my own using a formula I found online of baby aspirin, asthma tablets and a high dose caffeine pill.

They reduced my appetite alright. I was only eating 500 calories a day, but I couldn’t sleep at night because my heart was racing so much I felt like I was going to die.

And as anyone who has ever starved themselves knows, there’s always a binge waiting on the other side.

And boy would I binge.
I would eat an entire large pizza and large fries after a night of binge drinking and then force myself to vomit, alone in my room, into garbage bags, which I threw out the window.  I didn’t want to do it in the bathroom and have my roommates know.

I felt so ashamed.

Yet, I couldn’t stop.

In my head, being thin and being loved were so inextricably linked.

It got so bad that I even had a panic attack one time at the thought of going out to a restaurant with my friend.  I had to tell her, “I’m sorry, I just can’t go. I’m afraid of getting fat.”

Food became the enemy, the thing that would keep me away from the love that I wanted.

But food was also linked up in my mind and in my nervous system as a source of love. Food comforted me when I was young and numbed the wound in me that yearned so deeply for love.

And this is what perpetuates the cycle.  You eat to feel love but you also fear that if you eat too much, you won’t get love.  The thing you want so bad is also (it seems) keeping you from what you really want.

Can you relate?

I’m happy to say that I eventually broke free from this cycle.

Do you want to know how I did it?

I stopped believing the lie that when I was thin, I would love myself and others would love me.

I started working on loving myself NOW. 

I did this because I had taken an honest inventory of my life.  And when I looked back, I saw that no matter what my body looked like, I was unhappy with it.

Even when you could count my ribs and my hip bones were jutting out of my jeans, I still didn’t feel good enough.

I saw that in my quest to find love by being thin, I had been really, really unloving to myself.  I had put my mind and my body through so much abuse.

Enter compassion.

When I looked back, I felt compassion for that girl who would do anything to get love, even if it meant hurting herself.

Enter love. 

My tender heart opened to myself.  I finally wanted to give myself the love that I had been searching for in the arms of men and in the illusion of thinness.

And I was tired.

I was tired of food being the enemy (because I really do LOVE food).

I was tired of being at war with myself.

I was tired of waiting for someday in the future, when I was perfect, to love myself.

So here’s what I did. Here’s the thing that healed it all:

I decided that before I tried to change my body, I was going to accept it completely. 

I looked in the mirror and said I love you to all of those parts that I hated.

I asked myself, “If my body NEVER changed, could I love myself?”  And I saw that I could.

From that place, change was easy.

Because I wasn’t trying to fix something that was broken.  I was making choices based on loving myself and wanting the best for myself.

I started to ask myself, “What food would make me feel nourished and feel really good inside?” And I ate based on that choice rather than on what I thought would make me thinner.

I chose workouts that made me feel really good (zumba, rebounder) rather than workouts that I thought would burn the most calories (bye bye elliptical).

If I felt fat after eating something, I just FELT it. I hung out with the feeling of feeling fat and didn’t push it away.  I saw that the feeling would eventually pass and be replaced by another.  I didn’t have to run from it anymore.

I threw in some affirmations and positive visualization as well, but from a place of love, not from a place of desperately wanting to be somewhere other than where I already was.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but if you want to change your body, the first thing you have to do is accept it right now. 

You have to choose to love yourself now, as you are, and stop waiting for some perfect moment in the future to love yourself. 

You have to choose to be your own best friend, not your own worst enemy. 

So, if you loved yourself, what choices would you make right now?

From a loving place, what would you choose to eat?

What kind of physical movement would you do, and how often?

Body Love and True Love are closer than you think.  It starts with the decision to love yourself NOW.

Xo,

Nicole

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Nicole Moore, Love & Relationship Coach and founder of Love Works, helps women unlock their hearts and create lasting love.  Nicole coaches women to break free from their romantic fears so they can love with an open heart. She teaches women the art of self-care, feminine communication and simple mindset shifts so they can finally create the love and life they desire. Check out more info on her website.

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  • http://twitter.com/DianeMarieAC Diane Marie

    Great post Nicole! I could relate to a lot of what you wrote about. Even though I still am heavier than I would like to be, I practice self-love daily.

    • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

      Thank you Diane Marie!! xo

  • Kelly

    Wow, I can relate to this. I could have written this. I am still trying to make peace with myself and love my whole self unconditionally!

    • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

      Kelly, its a process :)

  • FloralStars

    I’m not sure if I can relate. I want to be thin, but it’s for myself. I’m sick of my large thighs and what pain they are causing to my knees. It’s true that I haven’t really loved myself until now, but that non-love was not once centered around my weight.

    • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

      FloralStars….I think it’s Ok to want to lose weight as long as it’s coming from a place of loving yourself and wanting the best health possible for yourself because you realize how valuable you really are

  • http://beyouliveyourdream.blogspot.com/ Sarah Noel

    Powerful, touching story, Nicole! Thanks for sharing!! I agree that we all need to make ourselves a priority. And do what feels good and right for US. Love ourselves as we are. Be our own best friend. On that note, a mantra of mine pretty much my whole life is I’m not ever going to NOT do something that I want to do just b/c no one else wants to do it with me. For example: travel. I have traveled to some amazing countries all over the world, and have done so largely alone. Well, not REALLY alone, since I join travel groups… but I join the group as a single individual — often the only one, as most other people go with a partner or a group of friends. But it’s been awesome! It’s allowed me to connect to people and have some amazing experiences! Man… just typing about it here makes me want to join another travel group and go explore some new foreign country! Lol.

    But anyway, I’m not sure why it’s often so hard to truly love ourselves as we are. We all have our “issues” and areas of self-doubt, insecurity, and areas we feel not good enough. One of my shadow beliefs is that no one really likes me. And even if people SAY they do, I can’t trust them. This stems from an experience I had as a six-year-old at a sleep-over. I pretended to be asleep… thought it would be funny. But I did such a good job convincing my “friends” that I was actually asleep that they started to talk about me. And I heard every word! To this day (nearly 30 years later) I still hear the comments those girls made that night about how they didn’t really like me, thought I was stuck-up, etc. I also remember ONE girl standing up for me to the group and saying that she DID like me and thought I was nice. Yet, why, all these years, have I let the words of 6-year-olds shape how I see myself and how I believe other people really think about me? It’s insane. But I know the belief still exists inside me, as it’s still something I struggle with and have few true friends to this day. I keep people at a distance. It’s something I need to work on, for sure. How to do that… not quite sure… but working on it.

    Sarah
    http://beyouliveyourdream.blogspot.com/2013/05/want-to-have-no-fear-struggle-or-anxiety.html

  • tedge

    AMAZING & BEAUTIFUL article!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

      Thank you tedge!

  • Katie

    Thank you. I could’ve written this myself. I related to every single thing you said. I’m just so glad that I now have a healthy self-body image. I forgive that little girl inside me who was, in all honesty, eating food to piss off her parents who told her that she was worthless and would never be a dancer because she was too fat. I forgive my parents, too. But I will break that cycle. I don’t even say the word fat anymore. I don’t ever want to look at someone and think “she’s/he’s fat,” and have it be negative. If someone has more weight to them, then so be it. They are lovely as that person, there and now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

      Katie, I honor your healing and wish you continued success! xo

  • Carlos

    I related to so much of what you said, and I’m a guy. I was teased by my dad about my weight as a child and learned to eat my feelings.

    I am hoping that I can take what you said and find a way to love me. It’s such a difficult journey, but i am hopeful.

    • Devin

      The body issues faced by men are often overlooked. I too related with much of what the author wrote. This article gives me hope.

      • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

        Devin, so happy to hear that the article inspired hope in you! xo

    • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

      Carlos, the journey is SO worth it! You’ve got the universe on your side :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/taraleighlovesyou Taraleigh Weathers

    You are so brave for sharing this story. Your story is going to have an impact on ever person who takes the time to read it. Thank you for putting yourself out there and serving the world in this way. You are amazing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

      Taraleigh, I love you! xo

  • Mary @Maryhadalittleblog.com

    Nicole, I cannot even express how much this article resonated with me. After countless years of starving, binging and hating myself, I have JUST now come to terms with what self love actually means. You are soo right, in order to make any changes you have to accept yourself right now, as is. And to be honest, it is actually quite relieving to know that I am amazing just the way I am. Goodbye working out to the point of exhaustion, and only eating foods because they will make me thin. I have found a new love for exercise; yoga which has allowed me to listen to my body and turn internally. I am so thankful for women like you who write articles like this that make people think and realize that life has to come from a place of love- not when we have the ideal body, boyfriend or financial situation. You are awesome- thank you for your encouragement and love!! xoxo

    • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

      Mary, thank you for your kind words. I’m so happy to hear that you have found yoga as it’s such a great tool for self-love and actually listening to our bodies. I wish you much luck and love on your journey :) xo

  • Keri Parnell

    Wow ~ each sentence brought me more and more to tears with realization of how relatable ALL this is (to my life). All women are BEAUTIFUL, and we are all (clearly) our own worst enemy (more aware than ever now with that being said). Thank you for this. You truly must love yourself, flaws and all, before you can open your heart to others.

    My favorite: “In order to FLY you must First Love Yourself” <3

    • http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMooreNYC Nicole Moore

      Hi Keri! Yes, all women are beautiful and as we start to love ourselves more we help our sisters do the same :) xo

  • Ana

    This is a great article! Thanks for sharing your story! I can relate to an extend. I have a loving and supportive family. My parents were great to me as a child and continue to be in my adult life. My husband is a good husband and I have two amazing daughters age 12 and 7, I am a high school teacher. My students (most of them) often tell me they appreciate me. I am ok with my look ( I don’t think I am ugly) Yet, I feel unloved and that no one genuinely like nor love me. I feel so worthless!!! and I do not know why I feel this way. I cannot remember any past experience that caused these feelings in me. Thank you for your story and teaching that it all starts with loving oneself at the present moment, regardless of what that is!!