Lately I’ve written a lot about the concepts of Health At Every Size (HAES) and am also striving to put these principles into practice in my daily life. I’m focusing on my health, not my weight, and am learning to separate the two. I’ve learned to love, care for, and appreciate my body as it is now instead of constantly wishing it were different. I accept myself as a fat, beautiful, intelligent, passionate woman. I do not hang my hat on your acceptance of these concepts or of my body. And yet, I discovered this week that I hadn’t fully accepted myself because I hadn’t accepted the limitations that my weight might impose.
We are planning a trip in the fall to Universal Orlando. The kids and I are recent converts to the Wizarding World but when we finally fell, we fell hard. We can not wait to walk down the streets of Hogsmeade and try our first sip of butterbeer. But Universal, unlike Disney World which we visited three years ago, is not always accommodating of people above average size. I’m not being euphemistic with that phrase either; everything I’ve read online indicates that people who are exceptionally tall, muscular or fat may have trouble fitting into some of the ride seats. I worried about this quite a bit because one of the rides in question is the one featuring my beloved wizards and witches. I’ve spent a lot of time pouring over information from those who’ve been there, fretting over whether I’d be able to ride “Forbidden Journey”. I still have no idea because it’s all about proportion, not weight and it’s impossible to tell until you’re there in the test seat. (And even then the test seats have been known to be wrong.)
A lot of the discussion on the forums I’ve visited center around “encouraging” people to lose weight, to remove these limitations. And I have to admit that I briefly considered trying to diet my way down a few pounds before the trip. I told myself it was okay because it’s not about my weight or other people’s perceptions; it’s about doing something I really want to do. And that argument may be true for some people. But it is NOT true for me. With my history of eating disorders there is no such thing as a casual diet. There are no “right reasons” to go down that road for me. Ever.
So, with that realization I realized that HAES and body love aren’t really enough. I also have to be honest about the limitations I’m accepting when I accept my body as it is.* Instead of following the standard assumption that I should actively try to lose weight for myself I’m choosing NOT to for myself. I accept the limitations of this choice and also reject the misplaced pity that may accompany it. I am not a victim, I am a warrior fighting for my health and well-being.
I may not get to fly with Harry, Ron and Hermione but I will still get to walk through the streets of Hogsmeade and explore Hogwart’s castle. If that’s what happens then that will truly be enough for me because a few minutes on an amusement park ride is not worth the risk of triggering a downward spiral into relapse.
Besides walking through Hogwarts is hardly a consolation prize. 😉