I LOVE cookies, cupcakes, and ALL sweets, and I’ve always seemingly struggled with my weight. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a hatred for my body, it’s shape, and therefore, had a messed up relationship with food. From 4th grade on, I remember looking in the mirror and being overly concerned with what I saw, whether I should have been or not.
I was a dancer all through middle school and high school, and being that I was in a community where being very thin was a goal, I would go to extreme measures to make sure that I was small enough to be good enough. I would restrict, purge, or over-exercise to ensure that calories consumed would not be absorbed into my body. Once I stopped dancing, I ended up with the opposite problem. I just didn’t care, and managed to get up to a size 18 and 190-something pounds. Because I didn’t care enough to be healthy. My relationship with my body was not healthy, good, or beneficial in any way and it took me graduating from college to realize that my body was not my enemy. Yep, you read that right. From 4th grade to college graduation, I had body image and food issues. After college, I realized that my body wasn’t my enemy, but I still really struggled with getting dressed in the morning and with what image I saw in the mirror, enough so that getting ready in the morning caused daily anxiety attacks.
Fast forward to becoming pregnant. I was on Weight Watchers (thanks to a few extra love pounds from the wedding and honeymoon) when we found out I was pregnant, and let me just say that being pregnant rid me of my body image issues, for the most part. It was so FREEING. It was freeing to know that my body was not to be hated because my body was FANTASTIC for creating a little human. I was putting on weight, and not hating myself for it because food was fuel. It was what was going to make Baby J grow and develop and make him healthy. I stopped worrying about it. During the time that I was pregnant, I felt so good about my body and what it was doing, I did not ONCE have a breakdown about looking “fat,” or being “pretty.” It was marvelous. But, I got up to over 200 lbs. Yes, little 5’0″ me got to be BIG. But hey, it was all baby, right?
(the day I went to the hospital to be induced)
The day I went into the hospital, I weighed 209 lbs. Leaving the hospital, I weighed 209 lbs. Figure that out. I gave birth to a 9 lb. baby, one would think I would have at LEAST lost that, right? Well, either way, I still had some weight to lose after giving birth. I wanted to be healthy for my son. I wanted to appreciate my body now that it wasn’t growing a tiny human. Enter, Stroller Strides (now Fit4Mom). This workout program gave me motivation to get fit, AND I could bring Baby J. Over the last year and a little bit, I have managed to lose over 50 lbs (like I’d give the EXACT amount and let you all know my real weight… haha!) and set real fitness goals. I’ve learned how to fuel my body with proper nutrients and how to LOVE my body.
Ever since having Baby J, my body image has been fairly healthy. There are definitely days (or weeks) where I struggle with wanting to be thinner, but at this point in my life, I want to be HEALTHY. So, I’ve set some goals. One is to run the PF Chang’s half marathon next January. One is to make sure that I am eating enough every day and not feeling guilty about a cookie or cupcake here and there (note: not after every meal…). All very realistic. But the biggest goal I have is to make sure I love my body at all it’s stages. I want to love it when it’s bigger, smaller, and in between. I want to love myself the way that God loves me. He created me the way I am for a reason. Yes, I still need to take care of what He has given me, but He LOVES me regardless of whether or not I lose this extra 10-15 lbs. I don’t want to be on a diet every day for the rest of my life. I want to exercise, eat healthy, and enjoy life.
A verse that I’ve been meditating on since I’ve started this journey of being healthier is Psalm 139. My favorite part of this Psalm is verses 13-18.