I think the struggle started in Jr. High. I remember sitting around and talking with friends but we wouldn’t be talking about life, the boys we thought we the cutest, or what we want to do over the weekend…we would sit there and obsess about our weight. We all had to fit into this number on a scale…for our little group it was 120 pounds. In order to be considered beautiful, in order for boys to like us or to think we were cute, we had to weight 120 pounds.
At the time, I was playing soccer and softball 4-5 days a week. I was healthy but I definitely wasn’t 120 pounds. I was probably somewhere around 130ish, 135ish…and the fact that I still remember that number now that I’m 32 years old is crazy to me. Because of sports, I had muscles so I was no where near 120 pounds. And in my mind, if I wasn’t 120 pounds, I was no where near beautiful. So, there I was, 13 years old, thinking I needed to lose 15 pounds
It really became an obsession. I couldn’t see the beauty in being strong, couldn’t see the beauty in who I was as a person. I would look in the mirror and think I needed to look more like this person or that one, never really accepting myself for who I was. It was a daily struggle that I was losing. I stopped eating breakfast before school…would barely touch my lunch and then go to practice after school and try not to fall over from lack of food. Sure, I ate dinner but that was about it. And that was my life. Always watching what I was eating, counting every single calorie until I saw 120 on the scale.
And once I hit the number, I still didn’t believe I was beautiful. I still compared myself to others. And no one knew my internal struggle. People always told me that I was lucky to be “naturally thin,” always told me that I needed to eat more. And I laughed along with them…never letting them in on the truth. Mostly because I never thought they would believe me. And for awhile I survived and it got better. I stopped worrying as much about what I ate as long as that needle on the scale didn’t move. And I weighed myself every single day until I finally found a little bit of peace.
Then I had a baby. After K was born I had this crazy idea that baby would come out and pre-pregnancy clothes would come back on. NOT. EVEN. CLOSE. And all my worst fears, those fears I had back in Jr. High came roaring back. In my mind, I couldn’t possibly be beautiful to anyone in that body. I started exercising as soon as I could and I cut my calorie intake to 1200 or less a day. And I lost the weight…fast. Way too fast. But even though I lost the weight, I still hadn’t learned to love myself as I was. I hadn’t learned that the most beautiful part of me couldn’t be seen from the outside.
10 years later and I’m still learning how to love myself. I don’t weigh myself ever, workout because it makes me feel good, makes me feel happy, and seeing muscles come back on my small frame makes me smile. Food has become my friend again. I eat healthy butI damn sure don’t count calories. If I want a piece of cake or a cookie, I’m going to eat it. No one is perfect. The media tells us there is only one type of “perfect body” but the truth is…we all are perfect as we are. We define our own beauty and that beauty can never be defined by a number on a scale or by the number of calories we eat a day. Sometimes you have to lose yourself in the struggle in order to see the beauty was always there. Wake up, look in the mirror, and know that you are beautiful, that you are incredible…you are enough.