One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

JOURNAL

Just Another Skinny Girl

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As those that read regularly know, I blame my weight problems on a body image issue. I have never felt comfortable in my skin. I routinely put a pillow on my lap when I sit down on the couch. I cross my arms in front of my chest and I rarely wear anything that exposes any unnecessary skin. And when I’ve tried, like wearing a sleeveless dress to a formal event, I’ve always regretted it and felt uncomfortable the whole time. It’s just how I’ve always been no matter if I was 210 or a 150 pounds.

It wasn’t until I started down a path of self acceptance did I start to make strides on the weight loss front. I say "started" as I don’t think I’ve completed the self acceptance journey yet. I still fight fat thoughts. I can look in the mirror one day and see a fit active body with muscle tone I thought was only reserved for the genetically lucky. The very next day I swear I see the same chubby insecure girl I once was. I know it’s in my head. I know it’s ridiculous. Which is exactly what I tell myself. I try to suck it up. I say to myself, "Who cares? This is my body, this is what it looks like, deal." Fat or skinny is irrelevant, just get out and enjoy life because when push comes to shove, it just… doesn’t… matter.

There’s been a few times I wanted to be "that girl". You know the one who wears the cute little outfits. The one in a sport bra top and capri pants at the gym. I’ve always looked at "that girl" with jealously. Not so much of their bodies but of their confidence. The seem to exude it.

Generally when I go to the gym I wear a pair of sweats and a tank top. That’s right, a tank top. Sounds pretty basic right? Well It took me almost 20 years, TWENTY YEARS, to feel comfortable in a tank top. I’m not kidding and I have the picture to prove it (working on a pictorial post.) Now I have become really comfortable in one and with my arms. I didn’t wait until I had "Jennifer Anniston’s Sleek Arms". I still have loose skin, I’ll never have the arms the 16 year old version of myself longed to have. I’m not even sure why I wanted them in first place. My arms are my arms. They are strong. They let me easily pick up my 3 year old and dance with him. They are mine and I love them. (ok.. that just got a little corny, but you feel me. Right?) :)

So a few months ago when I was in Chicago, I decided to go out of my comfort zone yet again (like the first time I wore a tank top). I was meeting MizFit in the hotel gym and I decided to go down in a sports bra and capri pant like "that girl". It was my version of exposure therapy. I figured no one knew me in the windy city anyway, so why not? Maybe I could pull it off? Well I felt more then uncomfortable. MizFit even commented. Telling me I looked good, which, of course, made me feel even MORE uncomfortable. Why can’t I just take a stupid compliment without the flood of thoughts about how I must look out of place or stupid or fat. Why couldn’t I just say thank you and never think about it again.

I realize I sound like a raving lunatic, or at the very least a whiny baby. Sometimes I just want to smack myself and say "get over it! Wear what you want to wear and shut the heck up. You are manufacturing these issues. No one gives a $hit about what you wear or how you look except you."

That’s exactly what I did tell myself today when I went to the gym in a "that girl" outfit. My midsection was exposed. It’s never exposed. I have worn a bikini on the beach since losing the weight but I rarely last a half hour before I throw a t-shirt on under the guise of "I’m getting too much sun." When really I’m just super uncomfortable. Sad, isn’t it? I’m 32 and still uncomfortable in my skin.

Well guess what happened at the gym? Nothing. The sky didn’t fall. The world didn’t end. No one threw eggs at me (where did that come from?) I’m still here. To be honest, (and this is what inspired the post) while I was there I actually forgot what i was wearing. It didn’t even phase me. I had a tinge for a moment but then once I started working out, I was just working out. I wasn’t even self-conscious. I was just doing my thing. I was just another skinny girl at the gym.

Me? Really?

It’s unbelievable.




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Discussion

There are 30 comments so far.

    Michelle

    March 7, 2009

    That’s right, it’s just you whether you are wearing the “that girl outfit” or the t-shirt at the beach. Congratulations! Move over “that girl” there is another skinny girl at the gym!!!

    Laura

    March 7, 2009

    It is amazing…we could lose 100 lbs plus and at times still look in the mirror and see fat..i hate that feeling. Is it even possible to get it out of my head and just be happy for how far I have come? I am not sure – my husband tells me everyday how good I look and there are days(very few) i could agree slightly but the majority of the time I say to him you are blind!!

    Christie

    March 7, 2009

    I had the same sort of thing happen to me with a short skirt and knee length boots. I finally got the courage to wear them to work together one day and no one died. It was amazing. Congrats Roni!

    Robyn

    March 7, 2009

    I found this blog recently (and ironically, I think it was through MizFit’s blog!) and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your candor, insight, and honesty. This post really spoke to me.

    You are such an inspiration and you’ve really helped me to see that this is not some unattainable, far-off, “right after I win the lottery” goal for me. I’ve had a few “epiphanies” since I’ve started reading/watching/listening to your blog posts.

    Thinking about the things you have posted about are really encouraging me to peel back the layers of my weight loss issues and really examine why I am where I am, how I got here, how I want to change things, and where I want to go on this “journey” :)

    So, thank you! Keep it up!

    Debbie

    March 7, 2009

    Roni, I applaud you!!! I after losing 47lbs cannot look at myself in the mirror. I know I still have another 50 to lose but at my age the skin is not as elastic as when I was younger. My breasts will never be where they should again….gravity….the gift that keeps on giving… forgive my boldness please…I show as little skin as possible too. Now that I no longer have cankles I will wear capri pants….but shorts are totally out of the question. I will not go to the pool or lake…no way! Being told for so long that I was ugly, fat and would never amount to anything…oh the power the words from the grave still hold on me.
    I am beginning to like myself again, but barely. Im just so mad at myself for allowing my body to get this out of shape. One time in my life, I stood and turned sideways in the mirror and liked what I saw. That was 18 years ago. Shame on me! I have found that I enjoy my pjs…you know the ones no one likes but me.
    I have to again give you kudos….if not for you I would still be 47lbs overweight. You will never know how much you have influenced my life, my eating habits…it is an ah ha moment for sure. Thank you again !!

    Tawnya

    March 7, 2009

    Good for you Roni! I too would love to be “that girl.” But I don’t think that will ever happen. I have lost a total of about 130 lbs., I lost the first 100 very quickly and have lots of loose skin and no breasts left. I do have a little bit more confidence around my fiance, because I know that he loves me no matter what. I am still very self conscious.

    roni

    March 7, 2009

    Michelle LOL thanks that made me smile!

    Laura I’m not sure the feeling will ever go away totally, I really think it takes just as much work to lose the weight as it does to accept the bodies we have.

    Christie LOL YAY! That is also something I’ve never worn either! I told even own a pair of boots.. thinking there are reserved for “that girl.” no me!

    Robyn I used to think it would like winning the lottery too.. that’s is such as awesome way to describe it. I’m so glad to be a part of you journey!

    Debbie WOW Congrats on your loss that’s awesome!! Thank you for letting me know I’m helping! I almost didn’t post this but when people let me know it helps them it makes that decision so much easier.

    Tawnya Congrats on that loss! That’s amazing. I hope you know my post was very introspective. I totally understand where you are coming from and how that skin can extra lose skin can really effect your outlook. I know so much I went and had mine surgically removed. To be honest, I don’t know how I would feel right now if I didn’t.

    pam

    March 7, 2009

    LOVE THIS POST!!!! It took me instantly to a swimming suit I had to wear last year on the beach. I always had the”towel” habit” and last year….you guessed it I didn’t wear my towel around my waist to the dock. I just walked down there (trying to be inconspicous) and jumped in the water. Was I freaked??? YES!!!!!! But I did it. :) No one laughed or made vulger sounds or whispered to each other about me. I did it. My mom even took a picture of me OFCOURSE WITHOUT ME KNOWING!!!!
    Now the other side of the coin……I find that I must mention this since I am a teacher and I see young girls all the time doing this. I know they just want to fit in and styles these days are sooooo crazy for young women who have a “normal” body. The really tight shirts, the low, low, low cut jeans with the thong hanging out and of course the low cut….visiblly shockingly low cut tops with the bra haning out. I wish their moms would tell these girls that they should dress appropriately for their body type. Certain styles are more flattering and appropriate. Realizing I am talking about extreme cases here, but I do find that many young women are just ready to put their bodies out there for show and tell.
    Anyway…little soapbox for the day…sorry.

    Amanda

    March 7, 2009

    Roni–you amaze me. I have tried so hard to adopt that thinking that it’s my body and I should love it b/c of what it’s done for me (birthed 2 children and nursed both of them as well, etc…) This post speaks to me. I am trying so hard to get this weight off once and for all. I try so hard to not care what people think about me when I pick out my clothes for the day and especially when I pick out a swim suit. You are such an inspiration to me and you have been for so long. Thank you for always keeping it real.

    Tanya

    March 7, 2009

    I had to LOL at the end of the post. Congrats and keep doing it.

    Lou

    March 7, 2009

    Roni, What a mental BRAVO!! What a NSV!! Even as a man, I have felt your strugle down my road to accepting myself. As a matter of fact, this post brought tears to my eyes. That is how personal it gets to me and that is why I enjoy reading your blog almost everyday. More than not you are my morning OJ.

    Thank you for doing what you do… everyday.

    Lou

    Joanne

    March 7, 2009

    Hi Roni, I totally empathize with you on the body image issues. My mental image of myself is still that of the 150+ pound girl who was felt like she was chubby and out of place. It’s sad to me that I may never be able to see myself for the forty pounds lighter girl that I am and I even have “fat” days which is ridiculous, all things considered. It’s really unfortunate that some of us are just wired this way. I attribute some of this to my mother who was always complaining about her weight even though she was always incredibly thin. Whenever my mother sees someone after not seeing them for a long time, her first comment is, “You look like you’ve lost weight.” To her, this is the ultimate compliment, and I think that this idea then was ingrained in me somewhere along the line. To please her, I had to be thin, and for a long time I wasn’t.

    Anyway, this is all vaguely depressing but I think my point is that your post is so true and also so inspirational. Maybe little by little we can overcome our body issues, even if its only for moments at a time. At least, it gives us something to hope for.

    Bonnie

    March 7, 2009

    After losing 95 pounds from 8/07 to 1/09, I still struggle with the body image too. I was just telling a girlfriend Thursday night at the movies, when I went to the bathroom, I caught a look of myself in the mirror and I was shocked when I realized that skinny girl was me! I’m used to seeing myself in my “own” mirrors, but to see myself in a “strange” mirror just makes me go “whooooaaaaa!”.

    pam

    March 7, 2009

    That is awesome Bonnie! It is so interesting the difference between our fat brain and our skinny brain! It is so cool to have that moment when you even surprise yourself!

    Xenia

    March 7, 2009

    Great post. I have such a hard time seeing me for me each day. Like you, I have good positive images days and then the really self-conscious fat days. It’s both sad and good hearing others experiencing this too. At least I’m not alone in this.

    Jessica

    March 7, 2009

    Geez. It sounds super rough. I was that self conscious in high school. I sure like your idea of exposure therapy. You can practice at home by going to a different gym as a guest (since working out seems to help you feel at ease.) Do you ever traipse around the house in something revealing that you feel beautiful in?

    Anyways- super good on you for progress you beautiful woman!!

    Courtney

    March 7, 2009

    Ugh Roni, you made me cry.

    I feel like this so often, and this is my biggest reason for wanting to lose weight. I know it shouldn’t be, I know that I should be doing it for health reasons, and not because I’m self-conscious of the way I look, but the fact remains that that is why I’m doing it. I want some confidence. And while I know that I won’t be 100% confident 100% of the time, even if I lose every bit of weight that I want to, that’s alright.

    After losing 20 lbs so far, I’m already starting to have “hot days”, where I actually feel good about the way I look. It feels so fantastic. But the urge to “hug a pillow” when I sit on a couch, or to wear long sleeves or baggy tops is still there. I can’t wait for the day when these things don’t bother me [as much!]

    Thanks Roni. You express what so many of us can’t seem to find words to say.

    Love the post!! It was only when I started lifting weights and developing great deltoids/biceps that I felt comfortable in a tank top myself – nowadays, tank tops are all that I wear in the spring/summer/fall.

    I worked hard to reclaim my love for my body, and to heck with what anyone else thinks!

    Enjoy, Barbara

    Lyn

    March 7, 2009

    I have to tell you Roni, when we were in Chicago, I didn’t know at that point that you were ever overweight. You looked *to me* like “just another skinny girl” when I first saw you! You look healthy, but more than that, after spending some time talking, you looked HAPPY. You are so animated and engaging and interesting, that by that point it wouldn;t have mattered what you weighed. You may not feel confident on the inside, but you seem confident on the outside. And that is a HUGE step!!

    I enjoyed this post… I totally still see the 278-pound morbidly obese woman when I look in the mirror some days. I still feel embarrassed when I eat *anything* in front of people.

    We’ll get through it. You’re doing great addressing it and moving forward. Your mind will follow your actions :)

    Julie ESG

    March 7, 2009

    Oh my gosh, can I relate. I have owned one bikini in my life, when I was 20 (and weighed 145 lbs.). I wore it a total of twice. The first time, I was so self conscious I thought I would die. The SECOND time? A guy friend complimented me on how good I looked and I never wore the thing again. What IS that??

    I don’t work out at a gym, but there is a lake near my house where I often bike/walk/run. I have always wanted to be one of those girls who wears the sweat pants with words across the butt.

    Now I’m shopping for wedding dresses. At first I was sure I could not buy a sleeveless gown but guess what? Gowns with sleeves pretty much don’t exist any more. After about a thousand tricep curls, I tried on a strapless dress the other day and… didn’t … totally… hate it. And it wasn’t because the arm jiggles have disappeared, because they haven’t. Progress perhaps?

    marymaybe

    March 7, 2009

    now tears rolling down my cheeks, seriously, Thank you

    Zandria

    March 7, 2009

    I know what you mean. I think some people are just automatically more comfortable in their skin; they don’t worry about how they look. I wouldn’t wear belly-baring shirts even when I was underweight, and I’ve never gone running or to the gym with just a sports bra on. BUT…I applaud you. I think it’s awesome, and I’m glad you were able to do it without thinking about it. :)

    Valerie

    March 7, 2009

    Skinny and FIT!!! SO many of those skinny chicks are really unfit. I’m proud of you for getting fit and thin, even skinny, in the process. You did it all the healthy way too. So, wear what you want. You earned it! :)

    Jac

    March 8, 2009

    Congrats on being “That Girl” today!! That is a huge step towards self acceptance!

    I really appreciate that you continue to share your story; because it’s nice to know that I am not alone. That there are people “like me” who have lost it, and who continue to fight to keep it off. So thank you, for inspiring me!

    Berni

    March 10, 2009

    Thankyou Roni, I read this post a few days ago and it’s been rolling around in my head ever since. I read it again today, and cried again. Thankyou so much for sharing, it means so much.

    Lori L.

    March 10, 2009

    You and I are the same height and the same weight. I always put a pillow over my belly when sitting on the couch… I wear baggy t-shirts to the gym… it is as if I am reading something that I wrote myself here! I relate to much of what you write about – thanks for sharing!

    Andrea

    March 10, 2009

    Wow, this speaks to me. I just came back from a cruise where I stared at all the amazing mom bodies. Even at 130lbs I wonder when I will ever stop holding the pillow over my tummy.

    KK (Running Through Life)

    March 10, 2009

    Thank you for this post!!! I feel the same way in my skin and I do many of the same things….ie: arms folded, pillow on lap, etc. How sad that many of us struggle with these issues. Here’s to eradicating self loathing!

    sraikh

    March 10, 2009

    I can so relate to this. Well I can never wear a bikini because I have too many stretch marks form the 4 pregnancies but I have not worn a sleeveless shirt in 10 years.. This summer is the one where I’ll finally wear one. I am working towards getting rid of m flabby bat’s wings.

    A

    October 15, 2010

    Congratulations for being brave enough to wear what you want to wear. I understand that…I always see girls wearing beautiful clothes that show their thighs and cleavage, and I struggle to even wear a dress. It has nothing to do with being bigger either. I am smaller than most, angular even at under just under 100 lbs and about 5’5. I used to be a bit bigger, though not much and I always wore baggy clothes because I felt fat. Friends say I’m a tomboy, but I’ve got a closet full of cute clothes that I rarely pull out; flouncy dresses and miniskirts that I buy in impetuous moments. I need to get over it.