Warning- it’s going to be a heavy one today. And it’s a post that was pretty emotional for me to write. If you’re looking for something fun and light-hearted, come back tomorrow. I promise I’ll back with something sunny.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts swirling around for the last few weeks that I just really need to put into words- get out there- and move on.I’ve written, deleted and re-written this post about 5 times over the last week. And yesterday evening when I got home, I edited it one more time- completely starting from scratch. So here goes.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I’ve struggled with my weight for pretty much my entire life. I was overweight as an adolescent, teenager and young adult, and didn’t make changes towards a healthy lifestyle until a little while after I graduated college. I got a handle on healthy, mindful eating and consistent exercise around age 27- and that’s when I was at my lowest weight (which was in the 140s- and I’m 5’7″. Very healthy and reasonable). I felt confident and sexy for the first time in my life back then, but I still thought that I needed to lose a few pounds. Looking back now, I think I was completely nuts. I looked great!
When I look back at photos from 2007-2008, I think I looked so happy and full of life. Recent photos definitely do not reflect that. In more recent photos, I can see the struggle and insecurities. (Side note- Ashley had a great post about looking back over old photos last week)
Back in 2008, I actually worked so hard at trying to lose five more pounds that it backfired. I started exercising twice a day, every day, for 3-4 hours sometimes. I stressed my body out so much that it started holding on to any bit of fat that it could and storing it- and the weight slowly crept back on. I have been able to get a handle on my exercise addiction a lot, but still struggle with it at times. But, I’m a lot better than I was a year ago. I always take a rest day now, and on days that I’m not teaching, I’m happy with a good 20-30 minute workout (which I would have considered a warm-up before!).
So, here I am, 15-20 lbs heavier than I was at my lowest weight in 2007. Granted, I’m more muscular than I was then, but I also know that I have a good 10 lbs more of body fat now. The bottom line? I feel pretty bad about myself. I don’t feel attractive or in control, and can’t really remember the last time that I did. There is nothing more that I want for myself than to be happy, confident and to let go of my issues with food and with my body.
I’ve tried a few different programs over the last year in attempt to lose weight, including Weight Watchers, tracking with My Fitness Pal and Fitmixer Bootcamp. All of these programs are great- and for some people- it’s all they need to lose weight. But for me, none of them really helped- because I already know how to eat healthy and what I should be doing. I wasn’t able to make the mental breakthrough that I needed to find success in weightloss.
I’ve definitely identified a lot with some of my fellow blogger friends, and my real-life friendship with Ashley has been such a help. We share the same struggles and talk about them openly. Just knowing that I have a handful of friends that understand me in that way is huge.
What I don’t need is anyone telling me that I “look just fine” and “don’t need to lose weight.” I’m outside of my healthy weight range, so wanting to drop a few pounds is healthy and reasonable. I’m not talking about something drastic- and don’t really even care about the number. I just want to be comfortable and feel good in my skin.
One of my friends that has always just “gotten me” is Brie. She’s shown up a few times on this blog, and I’ve probably talked about how similar we are before. When Brie and I get together, we talk nonstop about everything. We both have a huge passion for exercise, but also have struggled with our weight and body image and admit to having an unhealthy relationship with food. And when I say that I have an unhealthy relationship with food, I don’t mean that I eat unhealthy things- that’s not the case at all. What I mean is that I don’t only eat when I’m hungry. I eat when I’m bored, happy, sad… you get the picture.
I ran into Brie on Saturday after not seeing her for about two months. I noticed right away that she had lost weight- and looked great! Not only did she look thinner, but she had a glow about her and just looked really confident- and happy. I told her she looked great- and I’m so happy for her. But, I’ll be honest- I was (and am) jealous of her weight loss. Brie and I have pretty much identical issues with food- and she was able to overcome hers and lose those pesky few pounds that were keeping her from feeling comfortable.
Brie and I met up to go hiking last night, and it was just really freaking great.
I told her about being jealous (and happy for her at the same time). For the next hour, we had the best talk in the world. She explained to me that she was just able to finally get a hold on this very simple concept:
Is it better to feel “good” for the next five minutes- or is it better to feel “good” when you go to bed at night? Or the next day?
What she means by this is such a simple concept- and here’s how it relates to my issues with food. If I go to grab an extra serving of something or a snack that I really don’t need- it feels good while I’m eating it. It’s almost numbing. But at the end of the day, I’m not happy about choices like that- mentally or physically. When I have a really great day where I didn’t overeat or mindlessly snack, I feel like I’m on top of the world. The problem is, I don’t have many of those days.
For Brie, she just kept thinking about that statement- about how the “big picture” is so much more important than instant gratification. It was hard at first- and she had to force herself to be mindful about her choices. Every time she would go to grab something that she really didn’t need to eat (wasn’t feeling physical hunger) or drink, she’d think to herself “How is this going to make your feel afterwards?” It took a lot of effort in the beginning, but in a short time, it became a habit. And she started seeing results. And for the first time in a while, she feels really at peace with her body, and good about herself.
I admire her.
Another thing that really sticks with me from our conversation was Brie saying “You are the only one in control of your decisions. You don’t have to live with that baggage of being controlled by your negative thoughts about your body and relationship with food. Once you figure that out, a whole different (happy) life awaits. Just let it go.”
She’s so right.
Standing like this makes you look thinner, right?
This is not how life has to be. I don’t have to accept a life of being controlled by any negative thoughts about my body, or let food fill any kind of void. It’s really all up to me to change this. And I really, really want to. I’m very aware that I’m unhappy and uncomfortable- but I guess I haven’t been aware that I’m the one that is in control of it all.
I’m going to make every effort to keep this in my mind every time I am about to make a choice that I’ll regret later:
It’s up to me.
I can do it!