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Until the book, May Cause Miracles by Gabby Bernstein, I never really fully grasped the idea that I'm not my body, it just happens to be the one that I was given to walk the Earth this time around. (And whether you believe in reincarnation or not, you can still think of it in the same terms. We have this body once, but it's not who we are. Can ya dig it?)
When I was growing up, the messages I got were that I if I was fat I wasn't going to be loved, being pretty and fit is the ultimate ideal, and to do whatever it takes to stay attractive to the opposite (or same, depending on what year it is) sex.