To Grief Your Ideal Body
When I recovered from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea after my second pregnancy, I remember how sad I felt when I had to get rid of old clothes. I was surprised about the strong emotions that that has raised in me. I would even describe is as a form of grief. A grief for my past “ideal” body.
Rationally I fully understood that becoming healthier is a really good thing but emotionally I felt different. I think it partly had to do with expectations. The weight I needed to land at this time was higher than both before and after my first pregnancy. And I had kind of assumed that my pre-pregnancy weight was my set point. I had accepted and even learned to like that previous recovery body. But life is more stressful with two little kids and a full time job. I did lose a lot of weight post-partum. All these factors led to that my body needed more reserves to feel safe again.
It was a good reminder that my new body, the one I am in now, might also be temporary. I had to leave the familiar behind accept that I am living in a constantly changing and evolving body. It will grow older, it might become bigger, it might become smaller. I will get wrinkles.
But letting go of the idealized body Is hard. It is painful. It may feel like giving up. Even as I learned to rage against disordered thoughts, there was a part of my mind that wanted perfect abs, toned arms, the strong legs. There’s a part of me that still does. It is okay to feel sad. It is okay to grief your ideal body. It's okay to mourn the past, but it's also important to move forward and embrace a healthier and more balanced perspective on body and self-worth. To choose the present over the body in your mind.
We all feel most comfortable with the familiar, even if that familiar is not always the best for us…. and new can be discomforting to begin with, until that too becomes familiar. Until the feeling of alien goes away, here are some strategies to help you cope.
How to deal with grief of your ideal body
Focus on Health
Shift your perspective from pursuing a specific body image to focusing on overall health and well-being. Try to keep in mind that the weight you were at previously was not healthy for you. Your missing period told you black and white that that body was not healthy for you. Celebrate the fact that you've taken steps towards better health.
Be kind to yourself and understand that your worth isn't solely tied to your body or appearance. Remember that bodies change naturally over time, and your value as a person goes beyond physical attributes.
If these feelings are overwhelming, consider talking to a coach or counselor. They can provide you with coping strategies and help you work through these emotions.
Challenge Distorted Thoughts
Our minds can sometimes idealize the past or fixate on certain aspects. Challenge those thoughts by reminding yourself of the negative aspects of that time, like the absence of a period, which indicates severe health concerns.
Wear comfortable cloths
Get rid of old cloths that are not fitting you anymore. By new once that makes you feel good.
Shift your focus to the positive aspects of your current situation and body, you are now fertile again! Your bone health is reversing! Your digestive issues are improving! Gratitude can help you appreciate the progress you've made and foster a more positive outlook.