I stood there, sobbing and staring at the scale. I couldn’t believe I had let my weight get so out of control—AGAIN. Why was I not more self-disciplined? Why was I a person who coped with emotions through eating? Most importantly, would my husband find me attractive? Would he be embarrassed to be seen with me?
Those thoughts were not too different from the ones I had when I was single.
My mind flashed back to when we were first dating.
I was always afraid that men wanted someone much prettier than me. Even if I were thinner, I sure wasn’t going to look like a supermodel. My hair wasn’t perfect and I didn’t keep up with hot fashion trends.
So I was curious why my new boyfriend clearly found me attractive. He had told me as much, but I didn’t understand.
“Look, I am not a regular sized woman. You obviously find me attractive. Why?” I asked.
“I really like everything about you. Believe me, it isn’t just that I am attracted to your looks—I am!” he said.
“I find you attractive because you are you.”
Oh, how this statement gave me hope! Whether or not I ended up with this man, at least I knew that a future was possible with someone.
Now here I am, married to this man. He knew all of my previous ups and downs with weight, diets, exercise, successes and failures. He always told me I was beautiful from day one of our relationship and this kept going well into our marriage.
But we were different people now. Maybe he had changed his mind? After all, I wasn’t blind to the fact that he taught some great looking college girls. He probably wants someone like that, I thought. What guy wouldn’t?
My husband is well aware of my weight struggles and noticed how upset I was about seeing what I’d gained.
“Sweetheart,” he said, interrupting my thoughts. “I know you are frustrated about your weight. I support you, no matter what. If you think you need to do something to get healthier—and I absolutely agree that being healthier is good—then I am behind you.”
“But you need to know that I love you for who you are. You are more than the physical. I love the way you listen to me, I love how sensitive you are to the needs of others. You are nothing but thoughtful and kind to our family and friends. These things make you beautiful, not the number on the scale. I love you, and I want to be with you forever.”
With his words to me, I started to believe that my body matters, but other, non-physical things matter more. We absolutely should take good care of our bodies, and being physically attracted to each other is part of what makes romance so fun. But people can be attractive in other ways—generosity, kindness, patience are all good examples of this.
I leaned into him as he held me. This was not the first time he had told me these things, and it probably won’t be the last, either. Self-doubt has always snuck into my mind, and I suspect I won’t suddenly wake up cured one day. But I know he accepts me completely, and that’s helped me learn to accept myself.
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