I wrote the original post for this two years ago, after my doctor, Dr. Melton, in all of his kindness, took a look at my chart and said gently, “Let’s talk about your weight”. Ugh. No woman alive really wants to talk about their weight. My journey despising my body began as a little girl, like most women, sadly. I was tall, but the funny thing about kids’ bodies is they get a little squishy, then they shoot up (I see this in my own mini me). In high school, my self loathing continued, escalating with my parents putting me into modeling school, where a very dear, hmph, short woman who was never quite tall enough or sassy enough for the runway would make me weigh in every week, shaking her head at my then 128-135 pounds, telling me “you will get there eventually”. I realize now as a grown adult that she must have truly hated herself. I would never say that to a teenager, let alone one that was clearly suffering from an eating disorder.
Two years ago, I was in the throes of grieving a marriage, and the only solution was food. Cole would go to his daddy’s house, and I would sit in my misery with my chips and dip. I have a former student who wore a shirt once that said “Fries over guys”. It always made me want to raise my fist in the air, ha. After Dr. Melton and I had that terrible talk about my weight, my cholesterol, my life, ugh, I vowed to try clean eating, clean eating without a real plan at all. Of course, I failed. I joined the Women Run Clinic and met some of the most encouraging women I have ever met. In the weirdness of adolescence, I had played sports, but was never truly aggressive enough to be successful. I was always the funny girl on the team, who liked to encourage my teammates (and sit down already, good grief). In this clinic, I finally started liking myself again, so my journey began.
My sweet mommy friend, Kristi Wiles, also an encourager, approached me last spring about trying Advocare, and replacing my afternoon diet dr pepper, my drug of choice, with some Spark. I tried it, but of course didn’t commit fully to the plan at all (are you seeing a pattern of behavior here, I make my own self crazy). Finally, some friends of mine had joined a new gym in town, Ohana Fitness. They seemed to love it, so I tried it. I found what I was looking for there. For some reason, I had always connected my feelings about exercise to pain, and punishing myself, eating had always meant then having to get out there and burn it off. I subscribed to the Advocare diet (this is not an ad for Advocare, it is what finally pushed me off the edge to making the dots connect in my head to hating myself for decades), and finally made some progress. One year later, and I am 45 pounds down, six sizes down, and my skin fits me.
I have the amazing opportunity every single day to talk to teenagers about their lives. It is such a calling, and I take my pathway pretty seriously. I realize that if someone had talked to me at that age about actually liking myself, and talking nicely to myself, my life would have probably been vividly different. But, I do understand that life is a journey, and without those experiences, I would not be the woman I am today. I was visiting with a kiddo this week about her health, and we were talking about diet and exercise. I try not to give advice, because if they follow it and it fails, guess whose fault it is? Yep. Mine. Not theirs. Teenagers. They are something ;). I told her that my journey finally made sense to me, and clicked, when I realized that Cole was watching every single thing that I do and say. I finally felt like I was worth the effort of exercise, and eating healthy foods, and living a longer life, and healthier life, to be the mama that Cole deserved to have. I don’t get too wrapped up in calories. I eat pretty much a clean diet, but yesterday, to save the lives of those around me, I did have a baked potato from El Palenque (I am convinced I am the only person that eats that….it is pretty amazing!). I get to the gym a few times a week, because the classes make me HAPPY, they are not a punishment. The ladies there cheer each other on, take care of each other, and lift each other up.
You are WORTH the effort. You are WORTH regular exercise. You are WORTH fitting into your skin. You have got to fix your head before you start working on your body, or you will just go right back to where you started. (and I do think that one type of exercise does not work for everyone. I do not love lifting weights….I am tall, and I bulk up and don’t want to look like Lou Ferrigno. I love cardio and Zumba, and my new love is boot camp style classes, where you use your own weight as resistance, I never thought I would ever say that, whew). Everyone’s journey is different, and not one type of plan fits everyone, but if you really want to, let’s talk about your weight ;).