The Un-Weight Loss Update, AKA Operation Rad Bod

You know what people love?  Weight loss updates.  On TV, on the internet, while sitting around the brunch table engaging in “fat chat” with your best friends.  Well, consider this an un-weight loss update, as I’m checking in not with how many inches I lost around my waist line, but how I am doing with Radical Body Acceptance, since laying down the gauntlet with my last post.  I’m calling it Operation RAD BOD.  Doesn’t that sound better than “Jenny Craig”?

I struck a chord with my Radical Body Acceptance post, and I have been overwhelmed by all of the interesting comments and heartwarming responses that have rolled in — women sharing their stories, voicing their discontent with the state of the messages we hear about our bodies, and trying to make sense of how we got to the point that it is such a struggle to love the home of our souls.  There has also been a lot of encouragement from people who have already committed themselves to living a bold, beautiful life, regardless of how much the beauty industry tries to make us feel like shit about ourselves.  I got some tremendous referrals, finding out about Project Enough (I mean really, could that be any more perfect for me, in my Year of Enough?!), and several link backs to my post led me to other pieces folks had wrote on this topic (you can see these by going to the comments section of my last post).

When I saw Jennifer in dance class that week, she held her arms out to me, like she was welcoming me into the folds of a comforting religion.  Like any new convert, I felt excited, accepted, and a little worried that I wasn’t going to be able to live up to the demands of the faith.  However, I’ve been doing well so far.  Whenever someone on the playground starts to denigrate their post-baby body, I have been able to say, “It’s funny you’re bringing this topic up, because I just wrote a post about Radical Body Acceptance…” and we go from there.

It’s also been leeching into other parts of my life — I don’t know if it’s Operation Rad Bod, or following The Artist’s Way, but I’ve stopped publicly shying away from my artist self, as well.  Outside of another dance class, my friend Michele introduced me to a fellow dancer, Anne, who saw me in the video Rhythm & Motion did that was at the end of my last post.  She loved the video, but was worried that not enough people were seeing it, so I shared with her that I posted it on my blog, and the piece got over 500 hits.  She said, “Oh, what do you do, that you have a blog?”  Without missing a beat, I proclaimed, “I’m just amazing.”  All three of us burst into laughter so loud that we startled our children, listening on in their strollers below.  Anne commented that she loved my reply because so many people would shrug their shoulders, and say, “Oh, well, it’s nothing, I’m nothing, blah blah self-loathing” but here I was, just claiming my worth.  I said, “Yeah, that was me last week!  I would have been like, ‘I write about my life, it’s really not that interesting, parenting, spirituality, pop culture, you know, it’s just some little site, no ad revenue or anything like that.'”  But there has been in a change in me.  I’m learning to accept my body AND my creative output.  It’s something I have to practice every day, over and over, not to slip into old patterns of self debasement.

In fact, that’s the sneaky thing about acceptance.  It spreads like a leak in the basement, slowly but surely flooding the whole house, until you’re swimming so fluidly that you don’t care your house is underwater.  Speaking of houses, Operation Rad Bod is making me rethink my ever-consuming desire to find a bigger place for my family.  I actually don’t have much jealousy and comparison of other people’s bodies, but other people’s homes?  Damn.  Guilty as charged.  Anyone who has been so blessed, lucky, and saavy to buy a house in the Bay Area, I commend you.  And, I am so uncomfortably jealous of your good fortune that I can hardly bear to step foot in your home.  We are still in a tiny one-bedroom, with three people, and since the Second Wave Tech Boom, we have no hope of finding a larger place in our area.  For over a year, we have been going through all the options, searching constantly for a place, praying, considering drastic choices as well as simple ones.  But finally, due to the radical acceptance I’ve been bringing to my body, I am just coming to terms with the constraints of our income and our ability to spread out.  And guess what?  Looking at another year (at least) in this tiny aerie apartment does not feel soul-stifling.  It’s actually a little freeing, as I was in full-fledged grief mode about having to leave all the self-care practices and community we had set up for ourselves here.  So, I’m radically accepting my tiny living space.

What do you need to bring radical acceptance to, along with your body?  Perhaps it’s that your parents are never going to change into the mom and dad you always wished for.  Maybe it’s that your child is not as much of a star athelete as you hoped, or not the most popular kid in class.  Or it could be that there are more parts of you, other than just your limbs, that you need to bring love to.  I said to Jennifer this week, “I realized that I don’t need to change my body.  I need to change my thinking.”  Little did I know where that would take me.  I’m plugging in, going deeper, wondering what dark corner of myself that I’ve abandoned will arise next as the area that love wants to conquer.

11 thoughts on “The Un-Weight Loss Update, AKA Operation Rad Bod

  1. OMG, I can so identify. I live in the bay area too, had a great job, good health, my own place, and I was fit and happy. In this past year I’ve lost it all — house, job, health, etc. and gained a ton of weight thanks to the health issues. I have railed against everything I’ve lost. Like you, I’ve realized that I need to find radical acceptance or I am just going to make myself sicker. -Thanks for your post.

    • Thank you for your comment, Lisa. I literally said to myself the other day, “If I don’t find a way to accept my circumstances, or I am going to go completely crazy.” So, I feel you. Here’s to finding balance and health through acceptance!

  2. Such an awesome update 🙂 I’m very happy for you and I hope that it continues, because you’re a totally beautiful person and you deserve to feel that completely.

    I know that I’m really starting to own myself as a writer of fiction, and it’s very exciting. When I was younger and I fantasized about being a published author I always imagined that I’d be a one-hit wonder, write one decent book and then do something else. Suddenly I have so many ideas for so many books and I feel like I could write forever. It’s a pretty awesome feeling because it’s something I so completely love to do.

    • “I feel like I could write forever.” — I love that, and you should! You are truly gifted and prolific, so just go for it, babe!

  3. “I’m just amazing” is the best answer I’ve ever heard. And TRUE!! You inspire me and have been inspiring me. I have started the process for a blog ( but am still waiting for it to direct toward WordPress (the email doesn’t work yet either). But, I left a comment on a blog yesterday and this one today and as silly as it seems, these are huge brave steps for me. My acceptance isn’t about body image, it’s about self worth and having something valid to say to the world. I don’t know where I lost it, but I’m trying to get it back. And, as for body image, the one thing I know for certain is that ten years from now, you will look at photos of yourself like the one the woman took the other day and think, Oh my god I looked amazing, how could I possibly have thought otherwise? It’s a sad fact we all go through. And by the way, small space aside, I so envy you living in San Francisco. I was born there and miss it so much. I am dying to move back to Berkeley where I spent most of my childhood. I have tons of room here in Colorado, but these aren’t my people and I miss my people. Like you. Artists and free thinkers, movers and shakers. I know that where I am matters less than what I do, but I sometimes feel like I can’t do what I need and want to do where I am. The thinking here is small and narrow and it makes me sad and often angry. I actually said one day out loud that I want to read a blog by someone in San Francisco and I happened upon your blog the very next day!

    • Kelly, how wonderful to hear from you! Thanks for your encouraging comment, it really made me feel good. I’m looking forward to following your blog, and I’m glad you found mine! Making comments on blogs are huge brave steps, as is creating your site. You are very right about hindsight, I will be loving this body in the future so I’m working real hard to appreciate it NOW. No use wasting ten years. I appreciate your input on living situation, too. We really need more space, but it is one of many needs that we are trying to balance, and when it comes down to it, it’s not the most important one. We’d rather live simply with our people than have expansiveness at our fingertips but be isolated. Maybe it won’t always feel that way, but that’s where we’re at right now. Anyway, sending you all the love SF can muster, which, as you know, is a lot.

  4. oh rhea st. julien. how i love thee. how i accept thee. how you inspire me. how i’m so diggity down with your rad body and your rad mind and your rad heart. how i just burst open at the seems. you are amazing. you are amazing. you are amazing.

  5. Congrats on the self acceptance. I totally relate to the person who downgrades their self worth, as your blog has made me realize that I am one. I should really change that, so thanks for the inspiration. I’ve got to get a copy of “The Artist Way.”

  6. It was horrible to try and read that post through the tears 😉 I have been chanting to myself “I am good, I am enough” for the past couple months. Your “year of enough” is such an inspiration. I actually just wrote a little about it myself on my blog. How I’ve judged myself based on other’s thoughts… but NO LONGER. I like me… and I’m enough! And yes, you are amazing. I’m about to become a total blog stalker 😉

  7. Pingback: Fitter, Happier « thirty threadbare mercies

  8. Pingback: Being Two (The Blog, Not the Kid) | thirty threadbare mercies

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