A Year of Tacos

TW: eating disorders, body dysmorphia

I love tacos. I mean, I absolutely love tacos.

This year was a year of tacos when I think about it.

I had tacos in New York, New Jersey, Austin, Houston, New Mexico, Virginia, Florida, and arguably China. Tacos took me places this year or really, I took myself to tacos.

I featured photos this week on my Instagram of me at my most recent Taco exploit: Tacoria in Princeton, NJ.

I don’t post a lot of photos of me eating and I did so because there aren’t a lot of pictures of people eating in general on social media. I see plenty of skinny Instagram influencers posting fashionable photos with their Five Guys fries and soda, though.

And more power to them, I live for aesthetics and using food an an unapologetic prop. But there is also a lot of double standards in what bodies are allowed to look “cute” with food and others that are shamed for eating.

I love food, but I have always felt the need to combat fatphobia with stipulations on how I’m a vegetarian and that I don’t drink soda, as if those things we morally better. And truthfully our society sets us up to think that.

My relationship with food could be and should always have been described as disordered. I didn’t fully realize I might have been growing up with an eating disorder until I had a very brave friend share their experience with one. So I understand the impact of sharing honest experiences, I’ve set that asย a pillar for my life’s purpose since the beginning.

It’s like my relationship with my body and food as been the great star crossed love of my life. I’ve always been thicc and I’ve always had a passion for food, but I’ve never had what I’d consider normal eating habits. I remember being young and thinking I was too weak willed to even have an eating disorder: because my habits didn’t fall in anorexia or bulimia, I figured I was just a fat kid destined to be a fat kid.

Then I became an athlete at the ends of middle school. And I became fitter and skilled in using my body as a tool. I learned about lifting and cardio and feeding my body to fuel it. For me, I didn’t feel like my identity was fat kid, it was an athlete with various accolades. My body became an asset, although I was still “overweight.”

My athletics, however, allowed me to cover my poor body image with a drive to be a better athlete. If I lost weight, I would be fast, I would perform better. Throughout high school and into college, my policing came from a place of “reason.” This policing was also enforced by coaches, teammates dieting behaviors & bodies, and doctors telling me to lose weight even at my smallest. I trained with a “no excuse mentality” which led to my worth being directly tied into how I performed and poor performances meant my body was the problem.

It wasn’t until I quit my sport that I fully realized the damage that behavior and environment had on me. It took me almost a year to get back in the gym without carrying the strategic training mindset with me. It was hard for me to alter my identity: I was a fat athlete and now was I just fat? This was when I began to understand that body dysmorphia was playing a huge role in my life.

Even at my smallest, having achieved a 30 pound weight loss because I was eating 1000 or less a day + working out, I never got out of the notion that I was still fat and that I needed to be losing a lot more. It wasn’t until after a year post-athletics that I began to miss the body I had my sophomore year of college. To get that body, I was working out a ton, missing out on my life, and was still unsatisfied with the way I looked.

This is where I’ve found myself: stuck in a cycle of knowing what it has taken in the past for my body to lose weight but now having the understanding that that behavior isn’t good for me.

I read a quote recently that went, “It’s very difficult to connect deeply with ourselves while thinking our body needs to change.” And that struck a cord with me.

I preach self love and truthfully I do feel very good about myself, it’s all very authentic, but the struggles I have with being plus size are things I’ve dealt with my entire life and are things I’m very exhausted to have hinder me.

I love fashion and this would really be more of a fashion blog if I could wear the clothes I like, but my options are painfully limited. Shopping trips are anxiety filled for me because the frustration is real.

Knowing all this however, I want to say how proud I am of body as well. It’s been a journey of realizing that my frustrations with being plus size has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the outside world. I’ve stopped blaming myself and that alone feels great.

It doesn’t make up for everything, but coming to peace with myself and feeling a real sense of pride in the things my body enables me to do helps.

Just this year alone, this body took me across the stage for my college graduation, through Acadia National Park, along the East coast, across the country, half way around the world, along the Great Wall of China, through the streets of Beijing, and to my jobs I love every day.

What is there to be ashamed of in that?

So dear reader, think about your New Years Resolutions this year and consider not putting “lose weight” on that list. Instead, consider working on coming to peace with your body and yourself, choose to celebrate who you are and where your body has gotten you up to this point. Think about all the places this body can take you and be thankful for that.

I know I am. And for tacos too.

x,

Lillie.

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