Today is April 30, the one year anniversary of the the first day of the rest of my life. I remember April 30, 2012 clearly, as it marked the first day of my weight loss journey. Or first day of success. I had been trying for months, but the combo of needing to start thyroid meds, and joining Weight Watchers helped me to finally be successful. There is so much pain associated with being overweight, it is ridiculous. It really is. I am getting a lump in my throat just thinking about the frustration and stigma that I felt during that time. I still have weight to lose, but last year I reached an all time high that was so incredibly scary for me. I felt that I was trying, and numbers just kept creeping up, I wondered how it would ever come off. I was scared because if the weight was creeping up with working out, what would happen if I skipped? I didn’t think anything looked good on me, and felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. I could tell you that tears were shed on numerous occasions because of my weight. It felt hellish. I have few pictures of me during the one year that things were out of whack, which may not seem like a big deal, maybe even a blessing. But I felt like I wanted to delete myself from the memories. We’d take a picture, i wouldn’t approve, I hated what I saw, so i deleted it. I didn’t think of myself as fat, it wasn’t a lifelong struggle or anything, and so to to see myself in pictures or in the mirror seriously would catch me by surprise. I didn’t even recognize myself. It hit me hard when my face started changing, when I didn’t even feel that my face was my own. It’s easy to avoid full length mirrors, but it’s pretty hard to ignore your face! (more about my struggle in the post Identity Crisis)
But that is the past. That is behind me. I have learned so much about myself and about life. When I see someone who is overweight, I see me. When I see belly that is past its glory days, I see me. When I see a woman trying to hide behind someone in a picture, I see me. And if you see you, I sympathize with you too. I sympathize partly because of the culture we live in that puts unrealistic expectations as our standard, and partly because I know the pain of feeling out of control. But believe it or not, when I see an obnoxious little high schooler in her bikini at the beach, I see me too. I used to look pretty darn cute in a two piece when I was 16 years old (I didn’t think so then, but I am sure of it now), and at 32 I wouldn’t have dared to ever even try. But that doesn’t change who I am. I am not defined by the way I look. I am all of those women at different times. I am even the mama who let it all hang out in Europe! I am not going to live in a past that is more than half of my life ago, nor am I okay with letting the creeping scale become the new norm for me. I want to be healthy, and I want to be comfortable and I want to be active. I am embracing my life, I had the chance to grow two babies inside me and have the marks to prove it. Life is good! In the grand scheme of things, I am probably going to look back at these years, much more than my “cute figure bikini days” as the best years of my life.