Friday, January 9, 2015

Hope and honesty.

This is the hardest post I've ever written...
This deep honesty comes with exposure of my most insecure areas of my body BUT it must be shared to help you understand that things aren't perfect...
While I feel STRONG and HEALTHY, I am not perfect. 
We have an image of perfection that is thrown our way every day in magazines, online, on television and on social media, "You can look like THIS in 4 weeks!", "You can lose the weight once and for all" and suddenly the former fat person is replaced by a gorgeous woman with a beautiful figure and six-pack midsection. 
If we start out seeking perfection we will slowly lose steam and give up.  Also if we work really hard, it's the vision that we will be this rock hard bikini body in no time...
That is NOT me.
My weight has fluctuated since I was a young girl.  I wasn't obese as a child but I was definitely heavier than most, if not all of my friends and peers.  I'd grow a bit and find myself a little slimmer then I'd gain, lose, gain and lose.  In college was the time in my life where things really spiraled out of control for me. 
I think the highest I weighed was 253 AND measured for a size 22 dress. 
As I lost that weight, I was working out a lot and eating somewhat healthy so I'd say I didn't suffer from extreme loose skin but I do have plenty of stretch marks all over and it wasn't from the pregnancies.  I have had them for as long as I can remember on my arms, legs, thighs and especially in my midsection. 
At my lowest before children, I was 180 but stayed around 200lbs for a long time.  Of course I lost more than that in the beginning but slowly gained some back just getting comfortable and not pushing quite as hard.  Life happens. 
Eeek, throwing those numbers around makes me feel totally and completely sick.
I HATE talking numbers when dealing with my weight because the truth is, I'll never be 120lbs like I so desperately craved as a teenager and heck, even now!  BUT this is me. 
I am 5'10", I wear a size 11 shoe and am a bigger woman. 
When I'd gain weight it was ALWAYS in my stomach, back and chest.  Never in my booty or legs, as so many woman do.  BUT just because I don't gain where "most" women do, doesn't mean I had it easier when it comes to insecurity.  I would say mine was pretty awful.  Wearing sleeveless-YUCK!  Huge insecurity for me and the stretch marks only make it worse. 
Exposing my upper back, YUCK.  Hated it.  I always would joke saying I looked like a football player because I'd get really chubby up top and smaller on the bottom.  Sure my legs were jiggly and not firm but they weren't heavy, that was all left for my tummy.  DOUBLE YUCK.  Bathing suit shopping was a nightmare because I was huge in the bust, large in the back and then had roll after roll filling in my midsection. 
My tummy has always been SOOO bad to me.  Filled with rolls, never flat and I wouldn't dare wear a two-piece bathing suit EVER. 

But this post is not about my imperfections it's about erasing the images we've had thrown our way for years.  The perfect legs, butt, arms and tummy.  We live in a world that STRIVES for perfection and it can't be achieved naturally then a doctor can create it?
Or why do the hard work if it's only going to get us a little results, why not just take a short cut and have it done in a flash through surgery?

This is MY personal opinion and you can agree or disagree but I think if we have things handed to us, then do we appreciate them?  Does it make us stronger?  Probably not. 
My imperfect stomach, loose skin and stretch marks are a part of me. 

They are a reminder of my journey, where I started, where I've been and where I can go.
"I have to lose sight of PERFECT because a girl in a magazine didn't take my path. 
She had her own as I have mine and you have yours."
I have just as much respect for women of ALL sizes that focus on getting fit and healthy no matter their journey BUT I cannot compare apples to oranges.  They may have never been overweight, maybe they haven't had children and chances are they share just as many insecurities as all of us.  I have learned from the women that I work with,
 it doesn't matter our size, we ALL STRUGGLE. 
At 250lbs I showed as little skin as possible and I know women that in my eyes are so beautiful and "perfect "and they carry as many insecurities at 120lbs. 
They have shared things with me that they wouldn't dare tell a soul but they hate being told how thin and beautiful they are because behind closed doors they cringe at the sight of themselves in a mirror or in shorts.  They are embarrassed to shed their clothes just as I am.
But if we ALL learn to focus on the STRENGTH and HEALTH of our bodies then I think we will be much happier women. 

We need to steer away from the "IMAGE OF PERFECTION"
"PEFECTION" is different for all of us and "PEFECTION" shouldn't be our goal because it is unattainable and while we see "PERFECT" on social media or in a magazine, they may be totally IMPERFECT on the inside or feel EMPTY AND LOST.  Is that better? 
A gorgeous figure but no true beauty on the inside?  NO. 
That person may view you as "PEFECT" because of the beauty you hold in your life...the love, laughter and happiness.  Right? 

So without further ado...

I see my stomach as a MESS but a strong mess...if that makes sense?!
I see areas where it has firmed up and looks better than it once did BUT it will still be an area for MY EYES ONLY...except for this post!  Ha, it'll probably come down in a week for fear that it may travel too far on the web...LOL! I HATE IT!
But if it helps YOU see to stop comparing to others then I've done what I've set out to change lives.  To change the IDEA of perfection and weight loss. 
As we approach next weekend, it will be my THIRD time to run the half marathon in Houston.  This was my first time in 2012, which as you remember was a disaster for me because my head wasn't right.  I felt defeated, afraid and fearful.  Last year was SO different.  It was uplifting, inspiring and beautiful as I crossed that finish line...tears in my eyes and happiness in my heart!  The mind is so powerful and can set you to fail or's that simple! 
Next weekend I will not be alone, I will be with 7 strong women that have overcome SO many things in life...weight loss, teasing, imperfections, even cancer.  BUT we will all cross that finish line with pride in our hearts and tears in our eyes because we set a goal and we DID IT!  That's ALL that matters is that we stop giving up on US!  That we stop comparing our journey to the people around us.  Why would we want to be like everyone else?  We should strive to be different and make our own path in life..
If I would have stopped trying in this picture above in 2012, where would I be? 
WHO KNOWS! I'm so grateful that I kept exceeding and reaching for new things in my life...
THESE women are choosing their path and their journey.  They are unsure of where it will lead but they keep trying.  They don't let defeat stand in their way and I refuse to let them give up.  Even for the ladies that haven't seen me in a while, I hope they know I'm waiting for the day they choose to come back and fight!  I haven't given up on them and I hope they haven't given up on themselves...that they are just waiting to pick back up and keep going!

Their STRENGTH IS BEAUTIFUL, isn't it?  It amazes me!  How can you not look at them and be inspired?  All ages, sizes and stories but ALL working hard!!! 
That's a beautiful thing and to me, THAT IS AS CLOSE TO PERFECTION AS IT GETS!!!! 
Do you have insecurities that make you vulnerable and emotional?  Whew I'd love for you to share so I don't feel alone??   

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