Body Beautiful And Self Love


After three months of sitting on my couch and binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, an American television series, feeling depressed, combined with holiday overeating, and two months of illness, I gained ten pounds.

I had just enough work clothes to make it through the week. In the mirror, I saw a small watermelon nestled just below my rib cage. I kept thinking, This isn’t good, but I’m not allowed to turn my weight gain into a crisis. I will lose the weight eventually. This fluctuation in weight is common for many women like me in their 50s and 60s.

I have several friends who gain and lose fifteen pounds routinely. I thought, Under no circumstances am I allowed to hate my body. So I didn’t.

I tried to combine my limited work wardrobe in creative ways. My colleagues complimented me. I worried that I would be less attractive. Both a previous and a current paramour let me know this wasn’t an issue. I struggled, failing week in and week out to lose the ten pounds. I repeated: You are only allowed to love your body.

And eventually I did. I still need to lose the weight. I pine to fit into more of my clothing. But I’m not in a downward spiral of self-hate.

Sometimes we get sicker and sometimes we get fatter. It’s life. With determination and self-acceptance, we can continue to change. Sometime we return to the way we want to be, and sometimes we change by moving forward. But self-hate only hinders the process. It’s better to practice self-love—that’s what heals.

Joanna Charnas

Joanna Charnas has been a social worker for over thirty years, and currently works in the Mental Health Department of a large teaching hospital. Her first book, Living Well with Chronic Illness (MSI Press, 2015), evolved from her career experiences and years as a patient. Her second book,100 Tips and Tools for Managing Chronic Illness (MSI Press, 2018), elaborates on the numerous methods she utilizes to maximize health and wellness. To learn more about her writing, go to

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