Hey guys…. Remember that picture? Yeah, so do I. It’s the one that I tweet whenever I feel shitty about myself. Whenever I don’t feel good enough. Whenever I need a reminder of my own hard work.
I remember being 300 lbs. I remember looking at girls who looked like I do now and thinking, “God, she isn’t even skinny and I’d give anything to look like that.”
But as it turns out, I didn’t have to give “anything”. It didn’t take my firstborn. It didn’t take a tonne of money, fitness equipment or a whole whack of magic pills. It took dedication. I spent a lot of time and dedication on being a woman who makes better choices and…. Amazingly enough… Here I am.
I’ve spoken before about how proud I am. How I’ve arrived. How I’m smaller than I’ve ever been in my life. All of these things are true.
But as the weight loss stopped and I was where I had always been…. I started to think.
It reminds me of something that I was told once, I can’t recall by who… that no matter how much money you have in your life you will always find things to spend it on. Money is one of those things that you can start to feel like you never have enough of.
Weight loss can get that way too. When you’re obese, from my experience, you start out at this place where any movement would be welcome. It can feel discouraging to be a fat body in what you perceive as a skinny world. But then something amazing happens; you change your lifestyle and…. it works.
Now…. long time readers know this, and I can only write about the things that I have firsthand experience with, but for me the key to losing over 100 pounds was all in my diet. By cutting out processed food and viewing my eating habits in a different way, I was able to positively change my body in such a way that worked for me.
And I was happy with my progress. I mean, look at the picture! Who wouldn’t be happy?
But the thing is… as I get used to living in this body, I’m realizing that things aren’t as good as I want them to be. Being smaller than I’ve ever been just isn’t enough for me. Call me greedy, call it what you want… It’s all a part of becoming the person that I want to be. There are layers to my success and body image is one of them.
But taking on the way that I feel about myself isn’t just a matter of saying, “Hey, I look great just the way I am!”
Maybe I do and maybe I don’t, but the bigger thing for me is to be able to say, “Hey, I’m not totally happy with the way I am but I can improve it.”
This goes for everything in my life.
It’s the way the new me handles it all. And the cold truth is that it’s a really hard thing to do because it requires self evaluation. And that includes being honest without being mean. Being truthful without degradation. It requires mistakes being made, and the ability to shrug, dust myself off and keep moving forward.
I”m saying goodbye to embarrassment more and more each day. Goodbye to jealousy. Goodbye to guilt and regret and fear. Which is not to say that these feelings and reactions don’t come to me anymore…. Trust me, they do. But when they do, I’m training myself to be more equipped to not engage them, or to allow these demons to control my reactions. I watch them go by.
I cry so much less than I used to. I wake up without dread. I feel I have a purpose, and where I don’t… I create a purpose.
So that’s why I’m working out. Again.
I’m actually running.
I’m doing other, more strenuous activities.
I’m setting goals for myself, even though the very idea is terrifying.
I know I can achieve them. I know I am stronger than I think.
I know that in so many ways…. I’m changing and it’s for the better. I’m growing out of old habits and into myself. My health has become increasingly important to me.
I’m coming from a place where I used to be borderline hypertensive, and my blood pressure is absolutely perfect. Consistently.
I am out of the fog of depression. I am close to a good size for my height. I can’t write off any of the amazing progress that I’ve made since Abby was born. But I’m also nowhere near my full potential. And I don’t mean physically, either. I mean in terms of who I am. What I do. The life that I create with my family. The things that I prioritize. All of these things are coming to a head at once as I change and grow. I am able to handle the tough stuff. I am able to be honest about how I’m feeling and what I’m needing.
The exercise thing is only the beginning.
I’m in for hard work, in so many ways. But so much of what I’m working for is well worth the effort.
I am worth the effort.
I am worth loving.
I want strength in my body and in my mind. I’ve come so far in just a few months. I feel like I have the perfect support system in place. When I stumble, I’m caught. When I’m acting like a giant dork… I’m told to cut it out and make a change. I’m still holding onto that life preserver with all my strength.
Because when life throws amazing things your way… you accept them graciously. Gratefully. You meet them half way. You respect them.
No one ever gets to a place where life is perfect, my friends. That’s why it’s up to us to consistently choose “better”.
Things are happening in my life that are amazing. My heart is full and I feel lucky. It is not perfect. I could dwell on what’s lacking…. But instead I see each breath these days as the gift that it is. I am folding up my entitled nineties child syndrome and placing it in a box of souvenirs which represent the old me. I am blessed. My heart is so full. And the amazing things that come to me do so only because I am open to them.
Take chances. Live and breathe and learn.
These are the things that I’ve learned will keep me growing. These are the only words that I have to share. Words from my journey… a journey that’s far from over.