So I know I’d mentioned last week that one of the reasons I’ve decided to lose weight is for my health. Hooray for being healthy! That is exciting and awesome and half of the reason I’m choosing this new path.
This post is about the other half of the reason: my body image and (lack of) self-confidence. I’ve never been small; in fact, I’ve always been the overweight kid my entire life. I was always the tallest girl, up until the boys started hitting puberty, and I was naturally big. I say I get it from my Dad, being that we both seem to have the same body type: large frame, always weigh more than we look. I remember being younger and hating that I got stuck with my Dad’s frame vs. my Mom’s. Even though I was bigger than most girls, I was also extremely athletic. I played sports starting at a young age, all the way through high school where I was the captain of my basketball and tennis teams. Yeah, I played sports competitively and it seemed like no matter how hard I tried, the weight just didn’t want to go away. I was destined to be big, and I just kind of dealt with that.
Though I say I was bigger than most other girls, and I was, I could still look at myself in the mirror and like what I saw looking back at me. I didn’t LOVE what I saw, but I was okay with it. I had boyfriends, I was okay with being a little bigger, and going into college, I was probably in the best shape of my life due to my final tennis season and being generally active. Still bigger, but definitely healthy and in shape.
Then college hit. And I hated it. I didn’t have my sports to play any more. I was stuck living in a miserable “lounge” with 3 other girls, who I had zero in common with. Most of the people I met ended up being terrible to me. Shit had hit the fan financially back at home for my Dad, and it was too much for me to handle. It sucked. Between falling into what I now look back on and realize was definitely depression and suddenly being on my own and eating whatever the hell I wanted… I gained more than just the freshman 15.
Though I had Matt to lean on, he was a senior in college at the time and did his best to support me through what I’d say was probably the most difficult year of my life. I started to look in the mirror and really dislike what I saw. I hated the way my arms looked, the way my stomach grew, my terrible thighs… Yet I couldn’t love myself enough to stop eating that crappy food around me.
But that was just it; that was my coping mechanism. To eat and stuff my emotions and try to keep a smile on the outside. So basically I was falling into a trap of hating how I looked but not doing anything to change that because my emotions and self-esteem about my looks were so low, I continued to stuff it down even lower with food.
Fast forward to now. I basically gave up on myself. I let myself eat whatever I wanted, because hey, I had my boyfriend, fiance, and now husband who would love me no matter what. I also got such comfort out of eating these foods to help with negative emotions. Long day at work? Let’s eat a burger and fries, I’m too tired to cook. Upset over things going wrong back at home? Oh let’s stuff those emotions back down with a half of a large pizza. And so the weight continued to pile on… and my hatred for how my body looks only got worse.
The other night, as I was getting ready to take a shower, I looked at myself for a few minutes in the mirror and got so angry. I got so angry that I let myself get to this point. That I let myself go this far. That I didn’t love myself enough to say, “Hey Danielle, you ARE worth it, you are worth feeling good about how you look.”
It’s weird because I do love myself; I love that I’m compassionate, that I’m funny, that I’m pretty well-rounded and friendly. In fact, I’d say I’m pretty darn awesome when you get to know me. But my body has fallen second to my personality time and time again. Until now.
I want to look in the mirror and smile. I want to feel beautiful. I don’t want to feel like I need Matt to tell me 8 times that he thinks I’m beautiful. While I’m glad he thinks that, I want to feel that emotion myself. It’ll give a boost to my self-confidence, which is pretty lacking due to my crappy body image. I mean really, the only time I’ve really felt beautiful and smiled at myself in the mirror in the past few years was at our wedding.
So I promised myself that along with getting healthier, I’m doing this because I want to feel good about 100% of myself. I’m not doing this for Matt and I’m not doing this for any other person. I’m doing this for myself. Because I’ve finally realized that I deserve it. I deserve to feel good about myself and who I am as a whole, not just certain aspects of what makes me, me.
I want to give myself the opportunity to better my chances of having kids. I want to chase my kids around and teach them how to play tennis or basketball. I want to live to be old with Matt. And I also want to feel beautiful not just on the inside.
When I remember that, I smile because I know I’m on the road to getting healthy and being happy with myself, both inside and out.