Own Your Beauty!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where I am Going and Where I Have Been

So since I have stated these lofty goals of becoming a healthier person, losing weight, getting in shape, I figure I should let you know a little more about what that means to me in my life.

Awwwww...wasn't I cute?

I have never been what you would call a small person. I was a big baby (over 9 lbs at birth), a chubby kid, a plump adolescent, and I became downright obese in high school. By my junior year of high school I was a size 24, pushing 250 lbs and, with most of my meals consisting of fast food and vending machine candy, not exactly a shining paragon of health! So that summer my mom and I joined a local weight loss program and I for once really, totally and utterly committed myself to it. I was logging everything I ate, cooking with absolutely no oils or fats, taking my lunch everyday, avoiding all drive throughs, and waking up to do an hour of Tae-Bo every morning (and this is when Tae-Bo was still brand new). I was IN SHAPE! Like, running, lifting weights, energy, down to 175 lbs. and a size 12 and feeling like I could kick some ass SHAPE! I thought this was it, I was going to get to goal and I would never be the fat kid again. Then something happened...

...College. Yes, I went to college and everything conspired against me (including myself) to give up this healthy lifestyle. My bike was stolen so I couldn't ride anymore, the cafeteria was FILLED with all you can eat junk food, my roommates thought exercise was a dirty word so I stopped working out, suddenly mac and cheese and peach schnapps seemed like a PERFECTLY reasonable dinner, and all the weight I had lost and more began to creeeeeep back on. Over the last 10 years I have yo-yoed a bit, but primarily just worked my way back up to that high school size and an even higher weight.

Don't get me wrong, I have had my spurts of exercise and health! In 2008 I went from being a
couch potato to training for and running the Philadelphia Half Marathon. I worked out with a personal trainer and lost about 30 lbs. and gained a ton of muscle in 2009. I have done weight watchers for various lengths of time and success over the past 7 years. But really, nothing has stuck and I am at my highest adult weight and size right now, and worse feeling so very out of shape that a mile bike ride to school has me winded and gasping for breath. I am no longer willing to just resign myself to a life of ill health and poorly fitting clothes!

After having said all that, I also need to make it clear that I am a firm believer that you need to love yourself and love your body at any size. If you are just miserable all the time and hate your body, why would you want to be kind to yourself by offering it healthy and delicious food? Why would you want to exercise and move a body you loathe? All that does is set you up for frustration when things don't go exactly as you want, and ultimately anger when you lose the weight and find that being a skinnier person doesn't make you a happier or different person, it just makes you the same person who takes up less room. I do love myself most of the time...I love my body for what it DOES not hate it for what it DOESN'T do. I may be huffing and puffing on my bike, but I still have 2 strong legs to ride it. I may walk a lot slower and have to take more breaks when hiking, but I am still out there relatively pain free and loving the outdoors. I may have to learn to eat healthier and smaller portions, but I have no allergies and I love all types of food from all over the world (including some of the stuff other people find weird!).

When I look in the mirror I tell myself that I am a beautiful, intelligent, passionate and amazing woman who is pursuing the things that make me happy! I am making the changes in my life to improve my health, but losing 150 lbs. won't make me a better or happier person, I am doing that now simply by living my best life. Size is just a number - Friends, family, doing the things you love, that is what makes you a happy and well-rounded person.