I want to feel beautiful on the outside.

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.

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13 Comments

Filed under Getting healthy, Weight Loss

13 responses to “I want to feel beautiful on the outside.

  1. spence – you’re awesome. enough said 🙂

  2. Meaghan

    You DID look beautiful on your wedding day by the way 🙂 You are worth it and this is such a positive entry! I think you’ll do great with this attitude!

  3. I struggle with this so much too. Only only recently, VERY recently, like past 2 months, have I started getting it under control.

    Not sure if it’s your thing but I’ll recommend it anyways. I read this book to understand my own compulsive/binge eating and emotional eating better and it changed my life. It’s called Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth. Don’t let the God thing freak you out, there was so little about God in this book that I’m mad that the title almost deterred me from reading it. Also, don’t pay attention to the reviews or the awful yippy picture of the author. Just maybe give it a chance. It seriously changed me.

    http://www.amazon.com/Women-Food-God-Unexpected-Everything/dp/1416543082/

    • Thank you for the recommendation. I will most definitely check it out because I’m sure it would help me better understand myself and the emotional eating I’ve been doing since.. well pretty much forever!

  4. Nana Egan

    Danielle, you are such a beautiful person both inside and out. I have struggled with weight issues and am still trying to get it under control. It is not an easy battle, but I know you will do what’s right for you and whatever you chose to do it’s your decision and you will be stronger for it. I love you so much even though we don’t see each other often. Am so happy the way your life has grown, especially now with Matt. Stay with it and you will be rewarded. I have read Geneen Roth quite a while ago, and the book helped me some, but you have to get into the mindset for changing the way you look at food. Love you and be strong.

    • Thank you so much Nana, that means a lot to me and I really feel good about the direction this is going to take me. 🙂 It’s not going to be complete smooth sailing all the time but I’ve got Matt on board to support me (and me to support him) during the tough times… We can and will do this!

  5. Hey beautiful daughter – you have always been from day one a unique ray of sunshine – the funniest kid on earth – very bright and intelligent – very athletic (tennis, basketball, soccer). When you were born you were 9lbs 12 oz – and that was your body imprint from day one – a “big girl” who had to endure many emotional times because of it and cruel comments that hurt (and if I ever hurt your feelings I am sorry for that!) I am so glad you wrote this – that is step one is dealing with the work to take it off. Shedding it – working it out – losing it – all metaphors for letting go of the past! I am walking, eating less, trying to be healthy to also lose it – versus the dreadful words – “dieting” (meaning to die while doing it!). Just walk the little doggies everyday and eat half of what you did and no soft drinks or sweet stuff and you will lose it quickly. To lose is to reduce the caloric intake and increase the caloric expenditure. Inside of your “car” is a beautiful woman who everyone loves! Remember that – you have an incredible husband, lots of friends, great job, awesome house – because you ARE that ray of sunshine that God let me create……love you lots – Momma Mia

    • Thanks Mom. This means a lot coming from you. I did have to go through a lot of not so nice comments at times. Unfortunately, that made things worse for me. But the past is the past, and it’s time to move forward. I’m just focusing on eating healthier in general and exercising. It’s a pretty simple concept. I think one of the biggest things that is helping me is having Matt do the same thing with me. It makes it so much easier when you have a partner to move into the transition of living a healthier life. We have mini-victories every day and it’s making this ten times easier than if I had to do this on my own.

      Anyway, I love you, too, and I know my life is pretty awesome. I’m beyond lucky but this is only going to make it better. 🙂

  6. Caitlin

    Danielle, I can completely relate to this. Just recently I realized how lax I was being with letting Michael walk the dog more often and “I’m too tired to cook, let’s order out”, etc. Its to easy to do. Its hard to take a look at yourself and love everything, but I have a lot of confidence in you that you will succeed! I’m proud of you, here’s to us!

    • Yeah, it’s so easy to fall into this trap and not even realize what you’re putting into your body. It’s very difficult to step back and really be public about what your issues are with yourself. Being honest with myself in my own blog and seeing the support from so many people I never thought even CARED is really helping keep me going. I’m going to do this for myself and this time I’m serious about being dedicated to making the right changes to my life. It really helps to have Matt doing this with me, too.

      Go us though. This is seriously not the easiest thing ever but it’s going to be worth it for so many good reasons. I can’t wait. 🙂

  7. Speev

    Just wanted to say that I’m also on the boat with you, here! Since my freshman 30 I haven’t been able to successfully keep it off… but 2 months ago I got serious and am now meeting 2-3x a month with my dietician and weighing in. I’ve found that together with journaling, being responsible to someone else has really kept me “in check” and thinking twice before I grab that cookie or piece of cake. (Just knowing that every week or so I have to get on his scale is motivation enough to stay on track!) I’m also motivated to get to a healthier weight because of health reasons – I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) which can and will lead to diabetes very soon if I don’t get my weight down. It’s so true, what you write about looking in the mirror and not just loving what we know is on the inside, but also the reflection we see. With all the media crapola of today it’s hard for us to even define for ourselves what “beautiful” means without the image of a 100 lb celeb popping into our mind! Your writing, openness and honesty here is refreshing, motivating and inspirational … thank you SO much for opening your heart, mind and lunchbox to all of us out there so lucky to read your entries! Keep up the great work, girl! =)

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