Ever since I was young, I felt as if I was always chasing something, whether it was a number on the scale or a certain clothing size. If I needed motivation to push myself on the treadmill, I pictured myself dancing at a music festival wearing a bikini top. I also kept a “thin” photograph of myself on the refrigerator as an incentive to stick with my nutrition plan.
For the readers not familiar with my story, I spent the majority of my adult life on a big yo-yo diet. When I was 20 years old in 1992, I weighed 145 pounds and was a size 8. That was the only time during my adult life when I was at a healthy size before I had children. After that, my weight my crept up and eventually topped to what I estimated to be 240 pounds by the time I got married in the year 2000. For the next 8 years, I closed my eyes every time I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office because I was in denial and did not want to see the number.
I know when we embark on any change, we need the wisdom to know change is necessary; the motivation to start the journey; the drive to stay consistent with it; and the dedication to continue during life’s curveballs, roadblocks, and challenges. My current transformation started in 2008 at 230 pounds. Because I committed to changing my relationship with food and exercise for the rest of my life, I knew I would reach all of the goals I stated above, eventually, due to science.
Of course, with life, there were many obstacles along my journey. The most profound was having my daughter in 2009. However, after I was medically cleared to exercise following her birth, I got on the treadmill and remember feeling the fat move up and down on my lower back as I forced myself to jog. I gained 40 pounds following this pregnancy. I then had a series of weight plateaus for the next 6 years.
In 2016 (8 years into my journey) I FINALLY achieved (and most recently surpassed) my weight and clothing size goals. Then, I started to feel this intense panic set in that I no longer had anything to chase. What was I going to picture myself doing now on the treadmill? As I started to analyze these thoughts, I realized the underlying problem and the core of these feelings all had to do with me seeking the approval of others. This is not a surprise because I felt much rejection during my obese years as a child and adult. I believed if I lost the weight, I would get the same positive attention I saw others get who I thought (at the time) had everything.
Now that I am where I am, I now realize the grass is not always greener on the other side. However, at the same time, I am quickly learning it is time for me to stop giving a shit about what anyone outside of my family thinks about me. I need to focus on accepting and loving myself (with all of my quirks and all), so it will no longer matter what opinions others have of me. I need to focus on taking care of myself and my family. I am so lucky to have the most amazing and beautiful husband, who not only has supported me every step through my journey, but has always made me feel as if I was the most beautiful woman at any weight for over 20 years!
Photo credit: JMS Art and Photo (2015)
Photo credit for this image and featured image on Facebook: Faces of Festivals (2016)
I need to stop, take a breath, look around, and understand I have had all I needed right in front of me during my entire journey; the best cheering section a woman can ask for!
It is time to stop chasing things I cannot see and start focusing on the beautiful scenery right in front of me.
Photos may not be used without permission.