One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

INSIGHTS

Can you LET IT GO?

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question of the weekLet it go.

That’s what I want to tell every young woman who hates her body. It’s what I tell myself, almost daily. Yes, daily.

Let me tell you a story…

Ten years ago I was not the woman I am today. I guess we all aren’t, but I was an insecure, body-conscious yo-yo dieter. I would have done anything to be “thin.” ANYTHING. Yet for some reason, I would eat entire 12-inch subs loaded with fatty lunch meats and extra cheese. I’d devour an order of hot wings at 3 a.m. after drinking my weight in beer. And pizza, in hordes, was a daily meal choice with a side of mozzarella sticks and cheesy garlic bread.

I ate to fill a void. I ate because I hated the body I was in. I ate because it was fun and social. I’d complain about my body ALL the time, hide in baggy clothes and never look in a mirror naked. I’d ignore compliments and focus on the few jackasses that told me I’d be pretty “if I only lost some weight.” What does that mean, anyway?!?

One day, in a fit of pure desperation, as nothing else he had said in the past to make me happy worked, the boyfriend (now the husband) replied to one of my self loathing comments with “Who cares, so what, you’re fat.”

WHA?!? He knew I was fat? All his compliments really WERE “lies”? My jaw hit the floor.

It was the first time someone agreed with me! Now you might be thinking that was an inconsiderate comment and at the time it stung a bit but you have to understand this was after years of him trying to tell me I was beautiful. Trying to tell me that he loved me for who I am and that I should love myself. Trying to tell me that it didn’t matter. I’d just shrug off his compliments and focus on everything I hated about myself.

This is why Babs’ comment a few weeks ago struck such a chord with me. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way or had this experience. I’m not the only one whose body-image issues caused a weight problem. Yeah, yeah, I wasn’t THIN but I had a beautiful, healthy body. My 32-year-old self knows that now, but the 15-year-old would NEVER hear it. Never.

I still struggle with negative body image. Yes, STILL. It must be something threaded though the fiber of my being. It’s not about weight or size — there is something we need to change about the way we accept ourselves. We have to work on loving who we are, body and all. For me, that was the key to stop the dieting cycle. But I didn’t do it on my own, I had some help!

Having a child showed me how wonderful my body really was. I was able to grow a life and that life needed a confident, HEALTHY role model. That life wouldn’t care if I didn’t fit into a size 6 or have pencil thin arms (two of my 15-year-old self’s dreams). That life would love me for who I am, no matter what, and would depend on me to show him how to live happy and healthy.

Isn’t it strange how one event can really change your perspective on life? Days after “the toddler” was born I was out and about wearing clothes I wouldn’t dare wear when I was 50 pounds lighter. I wore tank tops and let my flabby arms hang out. I wore shorts and saw my lumpy thighs. I decided it didn’t matter and I just LET IT GO.

And guess what? The sky didn’t fall. People didn’t point at me while walking through the mall. No one snickered as I passed them by. I realized then that I was the one who had the biggest problem with my body. ME.

Am I still my own worst critic? Sure. But just like everything in this short life of ours, I’m working on it. I wear tank tops in my videos even though I still don’t like my arms. I wear a bathing suit without a T-shirt at the beach and I’ve worn shorts ALL summer. I’m not hiding who I am anymore. This is my body, this is the body I have to enjoy life in, and this is the body I am making strong and healthy.

I still have to make a conscious effort to let it go and accept myself for who I am. Every day I get a little closer. Every day I get just a bit more confident.

Will you join me?
Can you LET IT GO?




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Discussion

There are 41 comments so far.

    Annette

    September 2, 2008

    I have joined you Roni! This time around, I am losing weight to be healthy for my family and ME! I know this isn’t a “diet” that I will go off of when I get to goal. I will continue to eat healthy and exercise because that’s what my body needs to be healthy. Just because I get to goal doesn’t give me permission to eat cheetos and peanut butter cups! Crap is crap…..no matter what your size. I will love my body…..I will love my body :)

    Amanda

    September 2, 2008

    Roni?

    That was your best post ever.

    Unequivocally. And that’s really saying something, considering how much I love your websites. :-P

    I wish every girl in the world would read this post, because it’s the best thing we can do for ourselves.

    Can I let it go? I’m working on it. And it’s nice to know you’re there with all of us on the journey!

    Melissa

    September 2, 2008

    “Let it Go” these were the exact words that my nutritionist spoke to me when I stepped on the scale and saw 177…my usual plateau number. She said just that, “Let it Go”…I am now down to 173 as of this morning. I had to not stress the number, not stress the contest, not stress weight loss. Be kind to your body and it will reward you!

    Roni, I am right there with you!

    madison

    September 2, 2008

    i don’t know if this answer is going to make sense, but to answer the question honestly, i think the only way i can or will be able to let it go is knowing that this isn’t the body i am going to have forever. if i was severely overweight and somehow knew that there was no way that i could lose weight and improve my body, i honestly don’t think i could let that go. i would be very unhappy. but if i had confident hope that i could lose the weight and improve my body, i think i could find the strength to accept my body, WITH the knowledge and determination that i WAS going to change it.

    basically i’m saying, i think there are two types of people. one type that is trying to lose weight, but feels so hopeless about it, failing over and over again, not seeing ANY light at the end of the tunnel, thinking that she’s doomed in this body forever. i don’t think that person can “let it go” because she has no hope whatsover of change. then theres another type of person who says “yes, this is me and this is my body. i’m not satisfied with it but i can’t do anything about the past and i’m going to do whatever i can to get it to where i like it.” the second person can accept her body because she has that confident hope.

    Trace

    September 2, 2008

    I would love to be able to “let it go” but I can’t. I hang on to my fat like a security blanket. Yes, I do wish I was slimmer. Yes, I do wish I was healthier. Yes, I know the only person stopping me, is me.

    roni

    September 2, 2008

    Madison

    That makes PERFECT sense. That’s where I was in the beginnning of my journey but you still have to let it go! You still have to let go of the fact that this is you now and not let your body image get in the way of getting what you want. That’s what I meant,

    NOT “let it go, you’ll be fat forever”

    BUT

    “let it go, so ok, I don’t like my body but I’m working on it and that’s the best I can can do.”

    In the meantime don’t miss life. Don’t get so darn hard on yourself because you don’t like your body now that you eat because of it or don’t eat because of it and binge, or don’t go to the gym because of it. Let it go, accept it so that you can change it.

    That was what I meant.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Jan

    September 2, 2008

    I’m working on it! I now have more days of acceptance of my body than disgust. I have been at my goal for 5 months now but still have some trouble looking in the mirror when I am naked. However, I love looking at myself in my size 6 jeans! My biggest regret is that I didn’t start to like myself until I was 50 years old! That’s a lot of wasted years worrying about how I looked.

    Keep up the great posts Roni!

    Jamie

    September 2, 2008

    Having a child really does change ones perception — not only of our bodies but of who we are.

    I’ve been reading your website for about a year and a half and I have to say that this is one of your best posts. Trying to let go of those feelings is an every day battle… but so worth it.

    I have had a question for you for awhile — but it isn’t directly related to weight loss. I am assuming that the toddler will be an only child since you have had a tummy tuck and other surgeries. What made you decide to have only one child? What are your thoughts on this? (I’m currently trying to decide if we should have another child…)

    Heidi

    September 2, 2008

    Roni,
    You are so motivating! I too have spent years thinking every day how I hate myself, I hate my body, I am fat, I cant be as happy or as bubbly as I could be because I will draw attention to myself and everyone will see that, I am fat! I’ve lost nearly 25 lbs on weight watchers and still need to lose about 10 more. I catch myself looking the mirror, looking at other girls, catching my reflection and I still think, I am a fat girl. I went from 5’7″, 180 to about 158- 1 80 isnt even that bad on a girl qho is almost 5’8″!! jeesh! That thought is so intertwined in my blood that I forget, HEY! I am NOT that fat girl anymore, I actually look pretty good! haha Your question of the week is so on! I wish every girl could read it. Let it go!! I totally agree.

    Shannan

    September 2, 2008

    Something comes to mind after reading your post. Family members (and some friends in the past) have always made comments – even back to grammar school – about how I don’t have any hips and how thin my thighs are, and though I was flattered, most of the time I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that any part of me looked good. I have a thick waist, and my face is kind of round. I’ve always had a bit of a double chin. I took after my dad’s side of the family in body type, and that’s big on top, small on the bottom, an apple. I’d “always” be an apple.

    I’m down 30+ lbs from my heaviest weight, and have about 30 more to go to get to goal, but have recently begun to accept the compliments and show off what I’ve got. That includes accepting the tummy and wearing tops that might be a little snugger than the usual baggy tee shirt. I’ve officially signed up on WW online and started the C25K. I’m more aware of what’s happening to my body, every muscle that looks more toned, every bulge that’s getting smaller. I can see my shoulder bones! :)

    I’ve had a change of heart about accepting my body as it is, but wanting to improve it. That includes making it more fit and reaping the rewards of feeding it a healthy diet. The weight loss and body changes just follow.

    alex

    September 2, 2008

    agreed: one of your best posts yet.

    One thing I thought of was: if my mom accepted herself and let it go earlier, would she have let my weight issues (that looking back were not that bad) go? Would I have accepted myself faster, easier, better? Would i see my body as something to work with not against?

    Crystal

    September 2, 2008

    This was such a great post, and I so needed it today. I’m going through a slump, and I have just been down. Life is too short. Tonight, I’m going for my run, and I’m going to enjoy myself and not think about my butt jiggling. Maybe one of these days it won’t, but if it always jiggles when I run, then that’s okay. At least I’m running, which I wouldn’t have done before I had my daughter. You’re right. You’re thin vs. health way of thinking changes for the better when you have a kid.

    Thanks, Roni, I needed this.

    Crystal

    Tricia

    September 2, 2008

    I wore shorts to the gym for the first time EVER a few weeks ago. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I looked in the mirror during weights and wasn’t HORRIFIED at what I saw. I wish I could always see that reflection…sometimes I look down and still see my old 200lb body!

    Laura

    September 2, 2008

    I think a big part of “letting it go” is the whole attitude of “i’ll live my life ONCE I get slim/to goal/lose weight etc”

    I did this for so long, put off going out, meeting people, buying new things, anything really because I never felt “good enough” to do it at the weight I was. I used to plan to do things once I got to goal, or a certain number on the scale! But of course I never got there, as I wasn’t happy with myself and I self destructed!

    The irony is, I did get to goal and once i’d gotton there, I was still the same person, nothing had chanaged apart from a number on the scale and my dress size, I was still the same person, I still had the same “issues” and still didn’t feel “good enough”

    I didn’t accpet myself for who I was, I didn’t feel happy and try to make the best of myself and my new body. Instead I always tried to be something/somebody else!

    I spent years looking at others and wishing I was more like them, when the whole time, I should have looked within and realised that I was a beautiful person and deserved hapiness.

    It’s taken me a long time and years of self-loathing, but I feel that I am ready to “let it go!” This is me, I can’t change that, but I can make the best of myself and treat my body and my mind with respect. I’m no longer at goal, but neither am I at my heaviest weight! I’m far from it! Weight loss has been a real journey for me, but the most important thing i’ve learned it to live life for today, don’t put thing’s off until you get to a certain goal, number etc. So I may not be a slim as I was 6 months ago, that doesn’t make me any less deserving of hapiness or any less of a person. By accepting myself I know that I will get back to goal, but I’m not going to put my life on hold to get there, you only have one life, you have to live it!!!

    Thank you Roni for bringing up these topic’s, it’s all too easy to self destruct and I hope other’s can let it go too! xxx

    Nicole

    September 2, 2008

    One word sums this up perfectly for me

    AMEN!!!

    Tanya

    September 2, 2008

    Roni – I was brought to tears reading this. You are so right…my three kids don’t care one little bit about what I look like, what I wear…how giggly my arms are….I am setting a great example for them in leading a healthy lifestyle, being active with them and just letting go….
    Thanks Roni – I am keeping this one and I will share it with my daughter when she is old enough and the time is right. She is built just like I am. I want her to realize that she is beautiful from head to toe. Thanks again…

    Josee

    September 2, 2008

    great post – made me really do some soul searching and even shed some tears (you are not the only sap around)!

    My answer is posted on my blog at
    http://mywwjourney2008.blogspot.com/2008/09/responses-and-soul-searching.html

    deanna

    September 2, 2008

    I’m in!

    Robin

    September 2, 2008

    This may or may not go along with this post, but my mom asked me yesterday how my ‘diet’ was going. I responded with ‘My lifestyle change has been wonderful.” She looked at me with a puzzled look and said that she thinks that is a great way to look at it.
    I have been looking at myself differently for the past couple of weeks. I am starting to like me again. I have a post it on my computer at work with one of Roni’s favorite quotes “People don’t succeed because they give up what they want the most for what they want right now.”
    What I want the most–to be healthy and happy
    What I want right now–to be skinny
    :)

    Lisa

    September 2, 2008

    Wish I could “let it go” It’s something I am working on. We went hiking this weekend and I sweated my ass off in my t-shirt because I wasn’t comfortable wearing just a tank:( Its not like I even knew anyone else out hiking but that little voice in my head always wins. One day it won’t….

    sherice

    September 2, 2008

    Wow Roni, you never sease to amaze and inspire me. This post made me cry. You are soo right we need to get over it and just accept who we are despite what all the magazines and Tv shows tell us. I know you have a ton of fans and you can not get back to everyone but I wanted to let you know just how much you have helped me. I have been following your site for almost a year and you have been a solid sorce of inspiration and hope for me when I am struggling and feel like giving up.
    I am starting to see a difference in myself as I have lost 40lbs but I am getting really scared because I am over 35. My skin has started to do that evil ” loose skin” thing and I soo can not handle the thought of that. There is no way I can afford surgery and I would rahter be fat that flabby with tons of loose skin everywhere. I know you have gone over the options on what to do about this but I am still scared.
    I will need to work very hard on the let it go thing from now on I think.

    madison

    September 2, 2008

    yes roni that makes sense! =)

    Emily

    September 2, 2008

    I wrote this today to remind me of why I am doing this. I thought I’d share.

    Because…

    I don’t want to take “meds” when I’m 40.

    I want to “want” to run and play with my girls.

    I want to go shopping in “normal” stores and not dig around to find the biggest size.

    I never want to set foot in a plus-sized store again.

    I want to feel sexy.

    I want to run.

    I want to think about something other than my weight.

    I want to prove to myself (and everyone else) that I can do it…again.

    I want to wear a swimming suit that doesn’t involve shorts, a skirt or a wrap.

    I don’t want to be invisible.

    I want to show my girls the way.

    I don’t want to get winded doing the “Hokey Pokey” at preschool.

    I want to buy a dress from Banana Republic.

    I want to nourish my body, not fill it.

    I want balance.

    I need to.

    I love myself.

    Crystal

    September 2, 2008

    OMG. Emily. I could have written that list. It is every single thing that I think and believe. Right down to buy a dress from Banana Republic. Holy cow. We really are looking and searching for the same thing, aren’t we?

    Pubsgal

    September 2, 2008

    Wow, I’ve been stumbling across a lot of posts like this in “blog-land,” about not waiting until you’re the “thin you” before living your life. In my case, age, diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and being a mom have really brought a new twist to the old “I need to lose weight.” It’s not all about the scale anymore, or wanting to fit into smaller clothes. It’s about doing everything I can to stay around longer and with better quality of life. I’m focusing on the right amount and kinds of food for me and regular exercise (not something I’d done for a long time). I feel better than I have for a long time, and I’m not even close to my goal yet.

    As for the letting go of what you fear others are thinking, why not? Most people are probably too caught up worrying about themselves and what other people are thinking of them. (Oh, I know, there are exceptions, and why are they MY parents? ;-)

    KK

    September 2, 2008

    Wow! You wrote about me! I could have written this post. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is so true. I am 40 pounds lighter and still struggle with this. And yes, it is a daily battle if I let it. I am trying to let it go. Some days, I completely let it go and don’t worry about it. But, to be honest, others days are a struggle. But, even with those struggles, I push on. I don’t let those negative thoughts win. Rather, I win. Everyday I choose to live my healthy lifestyle and feel proud of my accomplishments, no matter how small, I win.

    http://www.icanbearunner.blogspot.com

    ~R.

    September 2, 2008

    This is SOOO true. Having lost 54 pounds…gone from a tight tight 14 to a 4…I STILL pick myself apart. I was SO SURE that I’d finally be “happy” being thin. It’s really a day to day choice that I have to consciously make…to be at least satisfied with myself. I can wear an awesome dress one day and feel beautiful, wear the same dress two weeks later…and feel fat and ugly.

    This post was wonderful, and so are everyone’s comments. Wow!

    ~R.

    Cathy

    September 2, 2008

    What a wonderful post, thank you!!!

    Brianne

    September 2, 2008

    Roni–great post!

    Emily–your words are sheer perfection. Thank you so much. Can I repost them on my blog?

    Emily

    September 2, 2008

    Post away :) I’m glad they resonate with more than just me. I guess we really aren’t alone.

    Inny

    September 2, 2008

    Wow, Roni, you’ve had great posts before but this one truly brought tears to my eyes, maybe because it reminded me so much of myself. I used to really hate the way I looked, especially in high school, when I compared myself to all the 0 sized girls. I used to cry at night, thinking “Why am I the ugliest person in the world?” I was so self-conscious that I wouldn’t eat in front of other people, even in front of my parents, because I thought people would judge me for being overweight and still eating like everyone else. Instead I’d eat secretly in my room, hiding all the wrappings until I could throw them away when no one was looking. And I wasn’t even overweight! I thought I was but now I know my BMI was 24-25, in the top of the healthy range. I look at my old pictures and I think I was SO beautiful! What was wrong with me to think I’m fat and start crash dieting?

    I think the person who truly changed all this is my boyfriend. My relationship with my parents is somewhat dysfunctional, so when I met my boyfriend I found for the first time in my life someone who accepts me and loves me just the way I am. I gained 20 pounds since I met him and he loves me no less. He showed me in so many ways that I deserve to be loved. Now I appreciate myself more, I can’t say I’ve let go, but I am learning, and I’m happy, and it’s such a big step forward for me.

    So thanks, Roni, for the wonderful post!

    Kate

    September 2, 2008

    I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

    Thanks, as always, for the awesome post, Roni. You’re an inspiration!

    Alexia

    September 2, 2008

    I so totally relate — after I birthed my last child at home, I was an AMAZON, I was a GODDESS, I was BIRTHING WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR. Yes, I have also worn whatever I damn well pleased since then. :D It was a remarkable experience and healed a lot of my relationship with my body — I didn’t think I was broken any longer. One less issue than I had before :-)

    Cindy

    September 2, 2008

    Excellent and inspiring post. Thank you!

    Kim

    September 2, 2008

    I love that post Roni! I just want to thank you for all your inspriational posts. I’ve been reading your blog on a daily basis for about a year now. All of your encouraging words have helped me immensely on this journey to lose weight.

    Azad

    September 3, 2008

    What a great post!!! I have come to terms with the fact that my body will never be perfect. I am so okay with this though…all I want is good health and a body that will allow me to do things that I want to. My least favorite part of my body is by far shorts. I’ve just began wearing them and it feels WONDERFUL!

    Thanks for being such an amazing inspiration :O)

    Terri

    September 4, 2008

    I am teary eyed just reading this post and all the Reply messages… Your post describes me to a T, even the comment your husband made- mine made the same one!!! I am so glad I am not alone :)

    Zandria

    September 4, 2008

    You either have to let it go, or the negative thoughts will consume you. It’s so much better to be healthy. Great post. :)

    Tennille

    September 11, 2008

    Well, you posted this a while ago, but I just wanted to say that you are so inspiring to me Roni. I love reading your blog. Right now I am in the same place as you were 10 years ago. I will let it go. Thank you!

    Nina

    October 8, 2008

    Hi Roni,

    The sentence I liked most in this wonderful blog which actually made me cry in front of the computer was,

    “This is my body, this is the body I have to enjoy life in and this is the body I am making strong and healthy.”

    Especially the part “I have [want?] to enjoy life in”. You are so right, we all do NOT get another one. We can only work on the one we have now. I have heard this before by Julia Havey, who you probably know, and like you she is a great motivatress.

    At the moment I am just having so much trouble with letting go, and I see the difference very clearly: I am not losing weight and even though I am trying hard, I can’t let the food go. I cannot let the chocolate go. I am starting to wonder if I am afraid of weight-loss and changing my life for the better. And I am getting very impatient with my life, I even freaked out about it in front of my mother last week – of which I was quite ashamed afterwards.

    And I do not understand how a few inconsiderate remarks or even insults of others in younger years could make us believe that all compliments we get are lies. And I am sure there were remarks which triggered those feelings, they might even have been directed at other people from your group of friends, and you became afraid that if your friends did not want you anymore, would they say the same to you? Who told us that we better listen to the jackasses instead of the smart and caring people who love us and only criticize us to make us see a real mistake?

    On the other hand I am glad that I am not alone with my problems and that you and other commentators on this site have been there and found a solution for them. The problems may not totally have gone away, but you are not controlled by them anymore. And I think this is the most important part.

    Lots of love!
    Nina

    julie

    October 29, 2008

    emily’s list brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad to have stumbled on this blog. It is amazing and all of the positive women on here are beyond words. Thank you ladies