Yesterday, I saw a picture of me all dressed up, in heels, at a dinner reception in LA. Sounds fancy schmancy, huh? Well, for me, the event was awesome, however, my feelings, when looking at that picture, turned to bitterness realizing just how big I am and how I let myself get that way.
I’ve always had an issue with my body image. When I was an avid runner and down to size 2, I battled the I’m TOO skinny image. When I was pregnant with my third child I battled the I’m as big as a house image. Now, that my youngest is 4-yrs-old, I battle the How in the heck did I let myself get this big? image. See. It’s not me. I love running. I love exercise. I love eating healthy, but the daily chaos of being a wife, running a household, running a business, and raising three children almost all school aged… well, it gets the best of me. So, what IS the story of the fat girl behind the blog and, most importantly, is there anyone who feels my pain? How can I become stronger, in not only my will power, but the way I perceive myself?
I must have written this post about five times. I re-read it. Hated it. Started over. If this had been 15 years ago, I probably would have had hundreds of balled up paper in the corner of my room. Instead, I think I may have an early onset to carpel tunnel syndrome from typing.
So, yesterday, when I hit writer’s block, I decided to poll my friends on Facebook and Twitter.
I had an array of responses from people stating they turn to booze, shopping, or eating to boost their spirits. What was interesting to me was that some of these people take drastic approaches to dealing with their body image, where as others, see it as a chance for spiritual growth.
Raul, from raulcolon.net, (whom I met in LA last week) stated:
One of the reasons I became vegetarian was because of my constant battle with weight issues. I can say that being vegetarian helps me become more aware of what I eat and how to control those sudden impulses.
This is an example of someone who took drastic measures to ensure he is more aware of what he is putting into his body. It makes me think Am I willing to take drastic measures to be healthier? Am I aware what kind of toxins I’m ingesting? Probably not. A lot of my conversations about this issue took place off the public grid of Facebook, into the messages in which Raul gave me the BEST advice:
It is all in the head my friend. Just apply the same discipline you have to blogging to what you do.
I can do that! I’m a kick butt blogger and I am really disciplined to my craft. I can SO transfer that to my health regimen. Another bit of advice came from one of the coolest bloggin’ chicks I know, Shelly from MomFiles.com. She stated:
My boost of confidence comes from my teenage daughters. They always praise me on how amazing I am and how much they want the kind of life I have when they are adults. Also my hubby makes me feel like the hottest thing walking the earth.
This set very deeply into my skin because I have a 7-yr-old daughter and I’m trying to raise her to know exactly what true beauty is. I don’t want her to hear me constantly ridicule myself for being overweight. Instead, I want to show her how I’m comfortable in my skin, the importance of healthy habits, and the complete coolness that comes with it.
I don’t want to make this blog post longer than the novel you just read, but I have two more quotes I’d like to fit in. Luke A., a former classmate of mine, feels it’s all in perception:
My gym membership is at a Jewish community center in town (discount membership through work). Twice a week, I go into a locker room populated by men between the ages of 50 and 80, who just hang out and talk. Completely naked. Old guys are like that. They just don’t give a damn. “Yeah, that’s where I had a lesion removed two years ago!” The downside for me is self-evident, but the upside? I feel like an ADONIS by the time I leave. And hell, if they don’t give a damn, why should I tie myself up in knots? It might not come from the best place, but a little perspective is refreshing when you’re feeling down about not looking as trim as the latest spastic on MTV.
Luke. You may have just saved me from the fear of becoming an old woman with sagging boobs and skin. No seriously, sometimes it IS all about perspective. I refuse to feel like crap about myself because at the end of the day, at the end of this life, it’s not going to matter how big or little I was. I want to be healthy, not the “latest spastic on MTV.”
Lastly, I bring you to Mike. Mike is a very special person in that we have a LOT in common. I met him when we lived in Memphis. His son was in my son’s preschool class and eventually I got to know his little family. Later, another one of his children was in my daughter’s preschool class, and I got to spend time with his wife Kristie at a woman’s Bible study. I also learned that Mike likes to blog…… HELLO. I do too! So, Mike told me:
Realize you are God’s child, which makes you special. Also realize that we all have the power to change it through our habits and willpower, so it’s never a lost cause.
He reminded me that I am special, even the times I think I’m not. I have to say I’ve had a whirlwind of emotions the last few years regarding my body. I’ve always been very small and very petite, but when I had my third child, the weight came on REALLY fast. Not only that, but throw in marital affairs, financial burdens, depressions, eating disorders, and alcoholism, and my body completely hated me.
Now I’m back to normal.
Now I’m ready to take on the result I was left with after the wreckage, but how do I start? What if it’s too much? How can I ultimately change how I think about myself and look beyond the body, the pounds, and the size?
On Monday, I brought you Mandisa’s latest song Stronger. She tells us below just how she felt when she went into the studio to record it. She talks about her battle with weight, but concludes that, through her Faith, she became stronger in His Will and states, “God will do more than you could ever ask, think, or imagine and bring you out stronger.” This strength led her to lose over 100 lbs and has been encouraging me as I greet the ultimate change for my health.
For the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you little snippets of Mandisa, discussing very emotional topics such as weight loss, confidence, and the making of her new album. Tell me, what is one thing that made YOU stronger. Any specific event or instance that comes to you immediately?
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