She was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them! -Unknown
See, I have a demon in my head, the voice, that inner critic. You know the one, the one that often starts with “you can’t” or “it’s just one piece” or maybe even “you’re not that good”. I’ve had each and every one of these and probably hundreds of others throughout the years. The one that has screamed at me most is that of my weight and body image. This one for me tends to lead into other areas but the culprit, yep, it’s all about the weight. To give you a snapshot, I’ve been 305, I’ve been 140 and I’ve lived everywhere in between.
Forty-two years my friends. Forty-two years of negative body image self-talk. Oh my gosh to even write that makes me want to tell the world how important it is that we be kind to ourselves. See for most of my life, I was that person who would look in the mirror and criticize every single part of me. I never needed anyone else to, I was good enough at doing it myself. And, other people sure didn’t help. Looking in the mirror, picking myself apart, “look at that spare tire”, “oh my, your muffin tops getting huge”, or even worse would sneak in, “what boy could ever possibly like you”. Then of course I would have to look at my face, “your smile really look at those imperfect teeth” and “chubby baby cheeks” and “come on those wiggly arms”. Friends, it’s really quite sad what we are willing to say to ourselves. I would never even consider talking to anyone like this.
Most of my growing up years, I was overweight. At some points I was probably classified as “Obese”. I remember it clearly, doctors saying when I was young, your overweight, your obese with no care to understand the why’s or help me get the right mental state of mind to overcome for life. I ate my feelings, I would eat when I was happy, eat when I was sad, I think you get the point. When others would criticize my size, it would make me eat more. I was that person who would hide food, so no one would see me eat. But, I was always active and very outgoing. I was ambitious, put myself out there to talk to new people, all the time. If there was a boy I liked, oh he knew it. And, any fundraiser we did for school or extra curriculars, that’s right I was going for first. Food was my one, the one I couldn’t control, the demon in my head who has always told me I am not good enough or strong enough or worthy enough to be fit. At the times I got fit, I didn’t see it, at times I was even harder on myself. No weight or physical appearance was good enough.
Let’s speed it up to my early twenties. By this time I had lost close to 100 pounds. My max weight shortly after high school was about 305 or so. I’m certain the weightloss had something to do with no longer sitting on my butt all day in school. I was on the go all the time. I don’t remember changing my eating habits all that much at this point. Of Course, once I hit 21, it was dancing every night in the clubs that burned mad calories. Still at just over 200 pounds and still classified as “Overweight”, yes sad, we classify people. I was horrible to myself. The compliments I would get were amazing. Yet, I never took them, I would criticize what I still had to do. “Still have 50 pounds to go or look at this gut, wiggling it” . You guys if I ever heard someone talking to themselves like this I would help and redirect. Why on earth would we talk to ourselves like this?
Over the course of my twenties and early thirties I did drop that last 50 and them some. I ended up getting to about 140 which was a bit too small for me. What no one knew is I don’t recall at any point feeling good about how I looked. Compliments would still give me that, “but look at this pooch” thought. Even as I write this my heart hurts for every single person out there who has yet to learn how to appreciate and be gracious for the things you have accomplished in life. And to appreciate how far you have come. During these times I had some pretty good swings up and down. I would range about a 20-30 pound swing from 150-180 at any given time. Don’t get me wrong, I had some pretty awesome feeling moments looking at my tanned self in a size 6 daisy dukes. And at my High-school reunion oh yeah it was on! In a little mini skirt with my hottie by my side whoa, to all the haters in high school, it made me feel amazing to know how far I had come. This would have been my chance, my chance to redirect, change the path to positive. If we could help others to get there, help redirect how they look at themselves. Boys and girls alike would have far less self-image struggles.
Part is from what I saw and heard growing up. I LOVE my family dearly and so say this with only the most love, I saw my mom cut herself down in regards to her weight as long as I can remember. If someone would have helped shape her image perhaps it would have changed the trajectory for me. Of course, the “Jenny really are you eating that” or “we should take you to the fat farm” never helped.
Forty two years my friends that’s my age today and it wasn’t until recently that I finally started working on how I talk to myself in the mirror each day as it relates to my weight and how I look and talk to myself about myself. The great news for all of us, we can change at any point in our lives and start directing those thoughts in an empowering positive way.
Whether your negative is weight related or something else here are a few tips that I use for me.
Always remember how good you really are!!
Much love friends!
Supporter of people and growth. I absolutely LOVE helping others see in themselves what I see in them. We all have good in us, we just need a bit of help seeing it at times.