Sure I was overweight but I wasn't repulsive...
so why did I constantly think about the way that I looked?
It's powerful. It can push us forward or hold us back for a lifetime.
It's pushed onto girls at an early age and that's disappointing.
Teaching intermediate students, I'd often hear the word "fat" being thrown around all too often and once that word is used to refer to someone, it never goes away in their heart.
So here I am today, over a 100lbs lost.
I've changed my way of thinking, the way I feel and the way that I look. I'm HEALTHY.
But have I let go of my "image" issues?
Do I see what others see when they look at me?
Well I feel 110% better, that's a given!
I'm healthier, no more high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
My weight is "normal" and I'm no longer considered "obese".
THAT IS WHAT MATTERS.
But today as I was Christmas shopping with my husband, I was chilly and we were in the boys' section. I grabbed this hoodie pictured below and quickly noticed it was a Youth XL...I giggled and threw it on, thinking it would NEVER fit but to my surprise it DID fit and I loved it...haha! Beside the point!
Point is, I wore an Adult XXL or men's XL in jackets/hoodies when I was at my heaviest.
THIS is a Youth XL.
Am I still struggling with that image factor after all these years?
That's an extreme size difference from the beginning of my journey to now yet I still don't SEE it.
I know that I've lost weight, I know that I'm in smaller clothes and so on...
But that self-doubt and lack of confidence when it comes to clothing seems like it sticks around a lot longer than the actual weight.
I've shed SO much of the old me throughout this journey and that makes me proud but when will that "image" I have of myself? I want to feel confident and beautiful. My husband and our boys tell me that I'm beautiful but that's different...I want to feel it inside.
But is it maybe because my "image" of beauty was instilled in me from a young age through Pop culture, TV, magazines and so on that I just can't picture myself like "that"?
Now wait, I'm not writing this post for you to tell me I'm beautiful. It's to help women like me understand that when on this journey, we must know that it's about nothing else but getting healthy! Nothing else matters and we MUST want it for all the right reasons rather than the wrong, skin deep reasons or we'll go nowhere fast. We have to feel good about ourselves throughout the journey and if we struggle with that, as I do, then we must work on that every day. It's just as important as being healthy. As always, I'm a work in progress and I love that...always changing and growing! I'll take it!
One huge thing I've learned is to stress the importance of
It shouldn't be about a certain size, number on a scale, wanting to look like someone else or losing weight or getting healthy to "fit in".
We can't get caught up with the magazines, the models, Hollywood superstars...
It's about being real. The day to day ups and downs. The good and the bad.
We have to find a way to balance all of that while also being healthy. And if it were easy, all would do it but the truth is, they don't.
It's a select few that can dig deep enough to seek the kind of change that lasts a lifetime!!
Lets be THAT select few...what do ya say??
I don't exercise and eat right to add days to my life
but rather to add quality of my life to those days!!
So I'll wear my Youth hoodie with pride knowing I've drastically changed my body from one extreme to another from old fashioned hard work, dedication, focus and determination! It's the ONLY way to achieve long-term success! I didn't find it right away, it took a LONG time but I learned a little each time I took two steps back and those moments of learning helped steer me in the direction to help other women do the same and I can hopefully help some of them not repeat my mistakes that I made time and time again...that is my hope and wish!
And I will continue to help women and girls understand that they are enough and they are beautiful. I want them to see their beauty from the start and not compare their flaws and imperfections to those superficial standards that girls and women are held to.
Talking with one of my Mommas today after class, her and I spoke about hurtful things that loved ones said to us before our journey's began. She spoke about her father saying hurtful words and I about my grandfather saying something similar. We agreed that those words don't just go away. It's hurts and will always hurt but it's how we choose to grow from those moments. They love us and didn't mean to hurt us but we both said, our weight issues were SO personal that it dug deep and will never go away. PAY ATTENTION to how you speak to loved ones when it comes to wanting to help them be healthy. Choose words wisely because chances are, they already know they need to change and need help but they MUST be ready without you pushing them to want it. These days I take those hurtful words that used to hold me back and they now push me forward because I realize he chose poor words but was only worried about me and where I was headed if my health didn't improve. Women and little girls internalize A LOT so when you speak to them about appearance, their weight, their size, height...be careful with your wording. You do NOT want a young girl feeling like she isn't enough....they'll get enough of those comparisons through TV, social media, etc. We need to be their role model and guide. We want her to say, "Hey, my Momma works out, eats healthy and takes care of herself...look how beautiful she is...I wanna be just like her when I grow up!"