I’ve had a lot of time the past few days to think and ponder. There’s nothing like a holiday and time with family to really put things in perspective, at least for me.
This year for Christmas my stepfather gave me one of the coolest gifts ever: all our home movies on DVD.
Today I sat and watched the self-conscious 15-year-old version of myself on vacation covering up on the beach. I was so young and awkward.
I was NOT fat.
I watched the DVDs in order. High school graduation, basic training, college, masters, wedding. I could easily put myself back to each of those moments in my life. I could also see myself gaining more and more weight through the years even though I was consistently dieting back then.
There were a few moments I was almost brought to tears. I reminisced with Mom about family members who are no longer with us. I laughed at my funny haircuts and outfits — seriously, I was wearing a hot pink B.U.M. windbreaker and an fanny pack. A FANNY PACK!
Anyway, I had two big revelations while watching these moments of my past:
- All of them happened regardless of my size or how I felt about my body. In these milestone moments it didn’t matter. I was surrounded by family and people who loved me.
- HOLY CRAP, I wasted so much time and energy wishing and trying to be thin back then. And when I say “thin” I mean like really thin, too thin, unnaturally thin for my frame.
Eight years ago when I finally reached goal and had the tummy tuck I was the “thin” I sought after for so many years. I felt so vindicated. My whole life I thought I was fat. I said I was fat. I made myself fat. All because I wasn’t rail thin.
Back then there were a few jerks who validated my fat thoughts but most normal people thought I was crazy and once I got older and gained more weight I realized it, too. I was crazy.
I’ve talked about this before and it’s hard to put into words correctly but I’ll try again. If I never had the bad body image I had, if I never started dieting in the first place, I probably would not have gained as much weight as I did. My bad body image started a cycle that led to more and more weight gain and the dreaded yo-yo dieting cycle of hell I always talk about.
There’s no doubt that losing weight changed my life but it’s not because everything miraculously fell into place when I slipped on a pair of size 4 jeans. It’s because I started to live life differently BEFORE I lost the weight. I started to be more conscious, more determined, more present. I learned to talk back to the inner mean girl. I started stepping out of my comfort zone. I started to take a more active role in my life. Instead of sitting on the sidelines hoping things would happen, I took the steps I needed to take to MAKE them happen.
Normally I find pictures of other people’s bodies to be a trigger for me so I don’t share them much on the blog, but this photo of Robyn Lawley stopped me in my tracks. To be honest, I didn’t know who she was a few days ago but when I read her words…
”Instead of spending hours lamenting over weight loss, I channeled all that energy into living my life to the fullest, day in and day out. What’s so amazing about being a size 0 anyway? Is it because that person exhibits control in a hedonistic world? Or is it just a tool of manipulation against us? I am proud of my body, flaws and all.”
…I thought, how refreshing to see a woman with such confidence and beauty who isn’t the traditional media image of a model.
I wouldn’t take back any of my life experiences because I would not be who I am today without them, but I can’t help to wonder if I would have struggled as much as I did/do with my body image if the self-conscious 15-year-old version of myself saw more women like Robyn on a regular basis.
Regardless, her words really captured my current state of mind. It’s why I now set goals and resolutions like this instead of trying to again starve myself at the beginning of the new year hoping it helps me finally feel confident in a bathing suit.