Your Body Does Not Define You: A Letter to Your Younger Self


Sometimes life takes you by surprise. Suddenly you find yourself somewhere you don’t really want to be, or maybe somewhere you never EVER could have imagined.

Have you ever realized the decisions you made in the past have brought you right here, right now…to this place in your life?

Do you ever think to yourself, “If I only knew then what I know now?”

We ask participants here at Green Mountain when they are in their fourth week (upon completion of our 3-week Body Neutrality series) to write a letter to their younger selves.

Three weeks ago, our participants’ letters likely would have been comprised mostly of thoughts about food, weight and body image.

In fact, a participant recently shared, “It takes up 99% of my time.” As she said this, the eight other heads in the room nodded in agreement and understanding.

Today, they are ready for the challenge of writing those letters to their younger selves, and these letters will contain much more than just thoughts about food and body image.

Struggling with thoughts of food, weight, and body?

Green Mountain at Fox Run can help. Join us this summer in beautiful Vermont to forge a healthy relationship with YOU, through our 43-year old eating, moving, and living program. Contact us to speak with a Program Advisor about how we can help.

It’s Your Turn

What about you? Are you up to the challenge? To compose a letter to your younger self? Can you think about how you would share some of the wisdom and experiences from your past?

This letter can help you realize how much you have grown and how some of the hardest times you have gone through may have contributed in a positive way to your life right now.

Maybe you are stronger, more resilient or wiser. Maybe you realize you are so much more than the size of your body or a number on the scale.

My Own Example

Dear Annie,

This life will get complicated.

It will be hard, frustrating, and confusing at times. It will be filled with periods of pain and periods of joy.

There may be times when you will want to crawl under the covers and stay in bed, and other times you will find yourself jumping up and down on your bed with pure joy.

There will be disappointment and failure, accompanied by feelings of sadness, anger, shame or guilt.

During these times, remember this:

  • These moments DO NOT DEFINE YOU.
  • These feelings are real…so validate them, and know they will pass.
  • These are the times when you will learn and grow, gain strength, knowledge, compassion, understanding and resilience.
  • These experiences may come again, and you will be better prepared.
  • You may look back at these times and nod your head in understanding.

There will also be victories and successes that will be accompanied by feelings of happiness, confidence, warmth or exhilaration.

During these times remember this:

  • Make time to CELEBRATE THESE MOMENTS. All too often women move right onto the next big thing, without taking time to celebrate the success.
  • Cherish them, write them down, capture them so that you can share the feelings and experiences with others (friends, family, grandchildren).
  • Think about the hard work and determination that gets overlooked in the accomplishment of a success. Realize that it didn’t “just happen”. That you made it happen through hard work, dedication and discipline.
  • Know that this will not last forever either. Our lives naturally have an ebb and flow to them.

The moments and experiences in your life become part of your story, it makes you who you are. Your own unique, special, one of a kind YOU.

There are a few other tidbits I would like to share with you:

  • You can agree to disagree with others.
  • Communication is an important skill to continue to develop.
  • Stay true to your own values and beliefs.
  • Trust your gut.
  • Bodies all come in different sizes and shapes.
  • Size does not dictate health.
  • Food is not the enemy.
  • Everyone you meet has a story.
  • Surround yourself with people you respect, like to be around and who give you energy.
  • Dare to be different — what other people think of you is their business.
  • Your career, family, successes, failures or body size do not define who you are.
  • Your imperfections make you perfect.
  • Develop an internal voice that is kind and compassionate.
  • Treat yourself like your own best friend.

Live this life for today. Don’t put off doing anything because of your size, weight or thoughts about what other people will think. #BeHerNow.

With much appreciation and love,


Your turn, write your own letter. What do you want to tell yourself?

You’re invited…

If you spend a lot of your day thinking about your weight and food, or beating yourself up, it might be just the right time to take a trip to Vermont and visit us here at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

Summer is great time to begin the journey to find a new approach to eating, moving and living in the body that you have today.

6 responses to “Your Body Does Not Define You: A Letter to Your Younger Self”

  1. Charla Wallace says:

    Nice hearing from you Anne. Miss the camaraderie of being at Green Mountain.

    • Anne Poirier, BS, CSCS, CIEC says:

      Hello Charla, Great to hear from you. How are you doing? GMFR misses you as well!

  2. Tracey S says:

    I am having a hard time with this. It’s because I know what I know after 60 years on this earth, that I cannot lie to my younger self. Being a woman of size in this world sucks. It’s better, maybe, than it was a decade or two ago (the clothes may be better), but it’s still horrible. The best thing I could think of to tell her is that “Don’t listen to your mother, your aunts, every doctor, every magazine, every reality that you’re presented with. You are fine the way you are.” If I had done that, I wouldn’t have been on a diet roller coaster and could’ve saved a fortune in therapy. I want to stop the pain.

    • Anne Poirier, BS, CSCS, CIEC says:

      Hi Tracey, Thank you for taking the time to write. You are absolutely right about how much of the world treats women of size. You also have some really great words and thoughts for your younger self (“You are fine the way you are.” and “Don’t listen to…”). Would you be able to write a letter to a young person that you know, instead of yourself? Maybe a niece, friend, or daughter? You have some amazing insight that would be of great value to a younger woman. Sometimes we can find kindness and compassion easier when we are not talking to ourselves.

  3. Alisa Studer says:

    This is so beautiful – if only we had the knowledge then that we have now. I spent so many years hating myself and thinking I was fat, now I look back at pictures and I see that I wasn’t fat at all that I was beautiful and I should have enjoyed it more I shouldn’t have wasted so much time with toxic relationships because I didn’t think I deserved anyone good to love me. Thank God I figured some stuff out in my 30’s and married a wonderful man. My 40’s have been different, I feel much more comfortable with myself. I wonder what the 50’s will bring!

    • Shiri Macri says:

      Hi Alisa,
      We’re so glad this is helpful to you, and also glad you have someone who is supportive to you. It’s never too late to start being nice to ourselves.
      Take care

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About the Author

Anne Poirier, BS, CSCS, CIEC

Former Program Director at Green Mountain | Program Director at Shaping Perspectives - A Woman’s Way to Joy

By sharing experiences and lessons learned through her writing, Anne’s goal is to first, help women finally feel free enough to break away from their dieting chains and learn how to listen and honor their body’s internal cues. Second, to discover and experience more joy in moving their bodies and finally, understand the importance of taking time for themselves. Her philosophy of strengthening the connections among participants’ minds, hearts and bodies fits perfectly with Green Mountain’s philosophy of lasting change through comprehensive, integrative health programming. Anne is the Program Director at Shaping Perspectives - A Woman’s Way to Joy and former Program Director at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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