In a world of airbrushed magazine covers that feature bikini bodies and six-pack abs, we’re taught to be unhappy with our bodies. Caroline Rothstein, a writer and body empowerment activist, says she first felt fat at age 4 while comparing her leotard-clad body to the other girls in ballet class. At 11 she started to starve herself and then spent more than a decade battling an eating disorder. In a powerful video from our friends at BuzzFeed, Rothstein shares the refreshingly simple realization that was key to her recovery: Fat is not a feeling.

“So when I feel fat,” she says, “I know that means I’m feeling something else, and it’s worth figuring out what that is.” In times like these, Rothstein actively chooses to focus on how grateful she is for the miraculous things her body can do—from turning food into energy to cartwheeling across the room—and the amazing things her body has overcome. Break out a box of tissues, Rothstein’s story brings out all of the feels.