I turn 31 next week. (Please don’t feel obligated to buy me a present that costs more than $100. I understand that times are tough.) I’ve spent most of those 31 years hating the way I looked. Shopping in the husky section as a kid sucked. Pool parties and beach days were worse. I wasn’t trying to start a new fashion trend by swimming in the pool while wearing a t-shirt.
Six years ago, I finally got tired of that mess. In early February 2008, I went to the gym and did the stair climber. After twenty sweat-drenched minutes, I died, went to heaven, and swapped stories with Abe Lincoln (FYI – he is Team Edward). Thankfully, God sent me back because someone had to take care of my dog. I went to the gym the next day.
And then the next 50 days too. I lost seventy pounds.
For once in my life, I finally felt good about myself. It’s ridiculous that it took 26 years. It’s tragic that we live in a society that puts so much emphasis on obtaining an unattainable standard of beauty that so many of us walk around feeling like Jabba the Hutt. Social media doesn’t help. You see everyone else at their best, but you don’t see the 12 awkward versions of the photo that weren’t posted or run through an Instagram filter. The constant bombardment of images of perfectly fit and digitally-enhanced celebrities doesn’t help either. Put your shirt back on, Zac Efron!
Losing 70 pounds is one of my proudest accomplishments. However, I still struggle with my weight. Every. Single. Day. It is an albatross around my neck. I’ve gained 20 pounds over the past year. I feel guilty, I feel ashamed, I feel uncomfortable when none of my clothes fit anymore. All my pants have gone from slim fit to barely fit. I refer to myself as “fat” at least once a day. I think it a lot more times than that. I feel weak and worthless after eating that 19th Oreo or 7th slice of pizza. I feel miserable when I repeatedly fail at fitting exercise into a schedule that is packed full of so many other activities. I’m terrified that things will only get worse when the twins are born.
That’s not how we’re meant to live. I don’t think you can have a healthy relationship with your friends, family, or even God if you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself. That is still a struggle for me. I don’t know how to overcome it, but I think trying your best, understanding that the standards of beauty set by the media are stupid, and being content with yourself are prerequisites to living a joyful life. I also think it’s important to know that you’re not alone when you struggle with your insecurities.
I’m right there with you.