I may not be in NYC this week, but I am still participating in Swimsuit Confidence Week over at Curvy Girl Guide.
Remember The Thing that I was kind of devastated about?
That Thing was to be traveling to NYC to be a part of something amazing for Lands End.
When dates were changed and I found out I would no longer be able to make the trip and be a part of the (super awesome) media campaign, my heart was broken. Mostly because This Thing was going to be something I was proud of, something I could share with other women and say “if I can do this, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!”
I’ve had a couple of weeks to process my emotions. I’m happy to say I’m no longer heartbroken about it. I have accepted that it wasn’t meant to be for me to be there.
Here’s the good news: I still get to be a part of This Thing.
I will be part of Lands End National Swimsuit Confidence Week.
That’s right, Swimsuit Confidence.
You may remember that last July I bought and wore my first bathing suit in many, many years. It was a huge step for me in my journey to be at peace with my body, to be confident in my body. Now, almost a year later, I will be taking part in a movement to help other women do the same thing.
How cool is that?
So cool, you guys.
I hope you’ll click over to check out the details. But mostly, I hope you’ll be inspired.
(Size 14. Ross- $22.00)
Here’s the thing. I don’t make good Fashion Choices because I my Fashion Sense sucks. When I do find and wear something that people love and compliment me on, I feel so proud. Because it almost NEVER happens.
I’m trying to be more fashion conscience and to wear things that are stylish, but most times, I fail.
I didn’t fail with this dress. I got so many compliments when I wore it on Thursday night. And it was nice to get complimented on something I was wearing, because that pretty much never happens.
The way that I felt wearing that dress has me totally excited about shopping for clothes again. The fact that I can pull something like that off (fitted! with stripes!) has me thrilled in a “Oh, the possibilities!” kind of way.
I promise, this will be the last time I talk about this dress. (But I can’t promise you that I am not going to Ross again this week to find another awesome dress that I will love and write about here and on Facebook and on Twitter.)
(Don’t forget to click over to the review blog to check out the Tropicana and Walgreen’s reviews/giveaways.)
A few months back, I had a conversation with my daughter about stretch marks. She had walked into my bedroom as I was changing. She noticed my stretch marks and she asked me about them. How did I get them? Did they hurt? I’ve been terribly ashamed of my stretch marks. I’ve written more than once about the hatred I have towards them. But I wasn’t going to tell my daughter that. What if she gets stretch marks? Do I want her to feel the way I do? Absolutely not.
I explained the marks to her. I told her they were called stretch marks. I told her I got them when I was pregnant with my children. I told her that I loved them. “These stretch marks remind me of when you and your brothers were in my belly. They remind me of how happy I was to have a little baby in my tummy. Every time I see them, I think of my little babies.”
This afternoon, my daughter sat down next to me on the sofa as I worked on the laptop. She lifted up the bottom of my shirt and looked at my belly.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Just looking at the marks on your belly.” She looked up at me and smiled. “You love those marks, don’t you mommy? “Because they remind you of your little babies and how much you love us?”
She does not look at my stretch marks with disgust. She does not find them to be ugly. She views them as a symbol of my love for her and for her brothers. Where I see ugly stretch marks, my daughter sees the beauty of a mother’s love.
I can only hope that through the example that I am trying to set, my daughter will be as kind to herself and her changing body as she grows. I know that as she moves through life, she will develop insecurities along the way. But I will be here for her to help her through those difficult times. And I will do everything in my power to teach her to embrace her perceived imperfections. Because I never want my daughter to feel shame about who she is, or the body that her beautiful spirit lives in.
I used to have a neighbor who would invite me to go out dancing all of the time. My answer was always something like this: “I’ll go when I lose x-amount of pounds or when I am less than x-amount of pounds.” I never got down to the size that I thought was acceptable enough to go dancing out with my friend. I was 150 pounds.
I am now 179 pounds and I’ve danced more in the past 6 months than I’ve danced in my entire life.
I know that I’m still overweight, I know that I’m not society’s idea of a “beautiful woman.” But I dance anyway.
I can feel my arms jiggle when I raise them up in the air. But I dance anyway.
My jeans are a size 16. But I dance anyway
I have a double chin. But I dance anyway.
What changed? I made a choice. I chose to stop believing the lies I would tell myself (you’re ugly. You’re repulsive. You don’t deserve to enjoy your life) I chose to stop measuring my worth on the stupid numbers on a stupid scale. I made a choice to believe and trust the people in my life who love and care about me. For many years I disregarded the loving words of my husband. I found it hard to believe that a man could find my body attractive. He would tell me that I was beautiful, that he loved every inch of my body. I would tell him he was lying. I stopped calling him a liar and made a choice to accept and embrace his love and desire for me. For my body. I made a choice to stop believing that I have to be a Certain Size to enjoy my life.
This hasn’t been an easy process. It’s taken me many years and many tears to get to this place. I still have days where I contemplate NOT doing something because “I don’t have anything to wear” or “my stomach is SO BIG!” It’s still a struggle– but I am DETERMINED to live the rest of my life to the fullest. No more regrets. No more sitting at home wishing I had gone, wishing I hadn’t said no, wishing I didn’t feel so alone.
I don’t believe I could have arrived at this place of peace with my body without the words of encouragement and wisdom from the women I’ve met through blogging. And that is the reason why I said yes when I was asked to be a part of new project– Curvy Girls Guide. I feel honored to be a part of something so positive, so encouraging, so…real. I hope you’ll join the conversations we’re having over there. I think it’s going to be something truly special.
Yesterday, I woke up looking like this:
Double Eye Infection.
It sucked. I cried.
Because yesterday was the day before I turned 39 and 2 days before I celebrate my last year in my 30’s with friends at a piano bar somewhere in Orange County. And who wants to look like that when they’re Drunk Dancing next to a piano while some dude plays a bad cover of Don’t Stop Believing?
No one. That’s who.
Today, my eyes are slightly less swollen, my throat isn’t as sore and I have not cried once.
Today isn’t for crying. Today is for reflecting.
Reflecting upon the 38th year of my life.
Turns out, Year 38 was the best year of my adult life.
Nothing extraordinary happened.
But it was extraordinary.
It was a year full of small victories, both physical and emotional, that helped shape a Better Me.
A happier, healthier, stronger, more content Me.
It was the year I stopped hating my body because I was too busy loving my life.
38 was so good to me in so many ways, for so many reasons.
I got to spend time in the city I love the most, New York City.
Twice. And the second time, I got to ride to Central Park in a pedicab driven by Mario.
I reunited with friends from high school, 3 of them whose friendship saved me from feeling totally alone during the hardest years of my life. I went to my 20th high school reunion where I was stalked by an old class mate. I ran my first (treadmill) 5K. I bought and wore my first dress in many,many years.
I had lunch with Tony Hawk.
I hugged Erik Estrada.
I reconnected with dear, old friends and made new ones that have brought so much laughter (and Stella Rosa) into my life.
I Owned My Sexy. Oh, yes I did.
I got a promotion. I cut bangs. I had Hot Soapy Naked fun in Vegas.
I got my medical problems under control. I lost more weight. I gained more confidence.
I watched my daughter blossom in kindergarten, make new friends, learn to read. I watched my son win a drum contest, crush his opponents on the basketball court and receive numerous academic and social awards. I watched my oldest take his senior portraits and began his last year in high school.
I fell in love with dancing and I danced so hard, more than I’ve ever danced in my entire life.
Tomorrow night I plan on spending the evening dancing, surrounded by people whom I love. I started to panic a bit yesterday, because people started sending me the all too familiar “sorry, I won’t be able to make it after all” messages. But then I talked to Lena and she said “it doesn’t matter if it’s just me and you and your sister, we’re going to have so much fun.”
Oh, that Lena. She’s always right. Tomorrow is going to be so great.
But first, I have to get through today. The first day of my 39th year. I welcome it with open arms. And quite possibly, a drink in my hand.
I have set 3 weight loss goals for myself.
To eat well. To exercise daily. And to ultimately, get down to 150 pounds.
150 pounds is the magic weight because my endocrinologist says she will not take me off of metf*rmin until I reach that weight. (And I really REALLY need to get off of that evil drug. Having to know that you can get to a restroom in less than 30 seconds at any given time of the day IS NO WAY TO LIVE.) It’s totally doable, except for the fact that with My Condition, losing a single pound can take WEEKS. It’s frustrating, sometimes EXTREMELY SO. That is why I try to focus more on how much stronger and faster my body is than I focusing on the numbers.
However, it’s been hard not to focus on the numbers lately because I can’t seem to get out of the 180’s. I’ve been stuck at 182.4 pounds for what feels like 100 years. Sometimes I’ll go up to 184 pounds, then back down to 182.4 pounds. BUT NEVER LESS THAN THAT. I decided it was time to switch things up at the gym a bit. For the past month, I’ve been running faster and farther, I’ve been lifting more weight, I’ve been mother effing jumping rope and squatting and lunging and over all working out harder. And yet, every single time I step on the scale I see 182.4 flash before my eyes.
It’s been emotionally and physically exhausting. Frustrating beyond all words.
But then, today, I saw this:
I can now say I’ve lost 57 pounds and am only 30 away from my Ultimate Goal. It feels damn good to be able to say that.
(Unrelated: Please click over to my review blog to read how you can help raise money for a great cause!)
I’ve never liked it. In fact, for the majority of my life, I’ve hated it.
I’ve been ashamed of it when it was thin, when it was obese and when it was everything in between. I’ve spoke to therapists and psychiatrists about my body hate. I’ve cried about it more times than I could ever count. I’ve hid from people that I love because of the shame I feel about my body.
I’ve starved myself.
I’ve stuffed myself.
I’ve done things I could never tell a soul to this body because I’ve hated it.
If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know what a struggle my body image has been for me. You know that I’ve missed out on so much of my life because of how disgusted I’ve felt with this body.
But then I read a post that changed everything.
I decided I had to find a way to make peace with my body. So that I could be an example to my children. I never wanted to hear my daughter say she’d “rather be dead than be fat.”
It wasn’t easy to do. I was riddled with health problems and stuck with a doctor who wouldn’t listen. I weighed 237 pounds. Not easy to love a body that unhealthy.
But I did. I loved it enough to fight for it.
I am now 55 pounds lighter, but make no mistake about it– I’m still fat.
182 pounds on a 5′ 4″ frame.
My breasts are saggier than ever. My stomach is too.
I have more stretch marks and we won’t even talk about my belly button.
But I’ve decided to to try love it anyway.
I love it by taking care of it. By taking the proper medications to make sure it functions as it should. By working out every day. By pushing it to do things I never thought it was capable of. By letting my husband enjoy it again,without reservations or hangups. By wearing cute clothes again. By treating myself to pedicures and facials.
By just enjoying every minute of my life.
This is my body. This is the only one I will ever have and the only life I will ever live.
While I was in NYC for BlogHer, I was given an amazing gift– a free Boudoir photo session. The photographer is a long time blog reader, internet friend, who wanted to do something nice for me after how hard I’ve worked to lose 55 pounds. (awesome!) What a perfect way to prove my new found Body Love! I said “absolutely, YES!” despite my fears and insecurities.
Oh, the fears and insecurities!
I haven’t worn anything sexy for at least 10 years– how would I put on something sexy and POSE FOR PICTURES? I didn’t know if I could go through with it, but godblessit, I was going to try!
This was a Really Big Deal.
This meant more to me than taking sexy pictures. This was so much more to me than that.
The shoot was fun and not as difficult or scary as I imagined it to be. Laura made me feel totally comfortable. I definitely had a ton of hangups. I worried about all of the body parts I was ashamed of (basically, every! single! one!) I was afraid my stretched out belly button would show, or my lumpy thighs. I laughed a lot, though and when it was over, I was so proud of myself for doing it.
But then, it was time to view the photos.
A very good friend had done a shoot before mine, so she came and my other friend came along with me so we could view our photos together.
As we watched, I felt a little embarrassed, but over all, I was comfortable with what I saw. Yes, my thighs were huge, but duh, I’m a big girl.
Then, it was time to view my friend’s photos.
And they were beautiful. And sexy.
I instantly felt regret about the photos I had taken. I suddenly became aware of how much time I’d spent covering my body up in my shots. Every insecurity that I’ve ever had about my body overcame my entire being.
Later, when I was alone. I cried in the cab on the way to a dinner party. I cried when a friend asked me how the shoot went. I sobbed in the bathroom.
Every awful thought that I’ve had about my body came rushing back. Not because of my friend’s pictures, not because she made me feel bad. I was proud of her for overcoming her fears — I know it was just as hard for her to do as it was for me. Simply because I was feeling so vulnerable in that moment.
For days, I secretly regretted doing that photo shoot. I hated the thoughts and emotions it brought up. I hated that I was once again reminded of how thoroughly flawed my body is.
I’m happy to say that I no longer feel that way.
When I got the first photo in my inbox, I was nervous. Nervous that I’d start crying all over again. But that didn’t happen. Instead, I felt… proud. Proud of myself for once again stepping outside of my comfort zone. Proud of myself for taking the huge step of buying myself something pretty and, dare I say it, sexy to wear. Proud of myself for working so hard every single day for the past year and a half to lose 55 pounds. Proud of myself for all of it.
Yes, my body is flawed. It’s no longer beautiful (in the way that I define beautiful.) I’m still overweight.
I had a choice to make. Pick myself apart, dwell on the negative, compare myself to others.
Or, just embrace it. My body, this experience, who I am.
And love it anyway.
Today, for the first time, maybe ever, I chose to love.
If you’ve ever felt the way that I have, I hope that you can learn to do the same. I hope you chose to embrace and love who you are, whatever your shape/size.
This is the part where I take a deep breath and show you what was so graciously given to me. Big thighs, saggy breasts and all.
Thank you, Laura, for this amazing gift. I am so grateful. [little voice] and so is my husband.[/little voice} And thank you Lena for being brave enough to do this with me. I love you.
Full set is here.
This year, we’ll be spending our 4th at my sister’s house, like we always do.
I imagine it will be the same as it always is– good food, laughter, fireworks.
And of course, swimming.
However, for me, this year will be a little different.
This year, for the first time in many years, I will not be sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else enjoy the cool, refreshing water. This year, I will not be wishing I was with them, instead of baking in the hot sun. Because this year, for the first time since 2005, I will be splashing around in the water with my family.
That’s right. I bought a swimsuit.
(Hell YES, I bought one with a skirt.)
To a normal person who isn’t riddled with Body Image Issues, this might not be a big deal. But I’m not a normal person. This is A BIG EFFING DEAL.
I’m nervous and not at all comfortable about wearing it.
But I’m going to do it anyway. Even though I’m still fat (and make no mistake about it, I am still fat.) Even though I hate the way that I look in it. Even though I may have cried when I saw my thighs in the mirror.
I’m going to suck it up (and in) and wear the damn swimsuit and jump in the water and play with my children and pretend like I don’t care that my thighs are too big and my arms jiggle too much.
I know that I’ll never regret putting that damn suit on and having fun with my children. But I know all too well that I most certainly will regret it if I don’t.
A common question I get asked is “what are you doing to lose the weight.”
I’d like to answer that question here. On my blawwwg.
The first thing I did was get proper medical care. I didn’t give up when Doctors told me to “work out harder” or “eat less.” I knew that there was something wrong with my body and I fought until I got the tests that I needed to get a diagnoses and treatment. It’s important to know that I was unable to lose any weight before I was on the proper medications.
When I first found out I was insulin resistant and that I’d have to take Metf*rmin, I pretty much stopped eating sugar and All Things White (bread, pastries, etc) I was terrified of developing diabetes (insulin resistance= pre-diabetic.) If the only option for breakfast was a muffin, I’d skip breakfast. That is no longer the case. I’ve learned to cut most sugar/White stuff out of my diet, but I will allow myself a dessert (CHEESECAKE!) or a scone every once in a while now.
Here’s the thing– I am not on a diet. In fact! I will not go on another diet for as long as I live. And here’s why– I never want to gain the weight back. I want to be able to maintain this loss, I want it to be forever. The reality is that simple sugars aren’t something I should eat and for the most part, I don’t. If I want a burrito, I use a whole wheat tortilla. If I want a piece of toast- it’s whole grain/wheat. I no longer choose sourdough bread for sandwiches, nor do I have a sugared up latte every morning. However, if I want a piece of cheesecake while out to dinner with friends, I’ll have a piece of cheesecake.
So, while I’m not “on a diet.” I most definitely have made some changes, but these changes are for the rest of my life. I am not going to go off of a diet and binge. It won’t happen. I may have a piece of sourdough bread sometime in the future, but I won’t be writing a blog post about what a failure I am for going “over my points” or “blowing it” ever again.
The most drastic change for me has been in the form of physical activity.
The first few months were difficult. Workouts had become complicated due to my thyroid condition going untreated for so long. Irregular heartbeats. Chest pains. Difficulty breathing. Nothing like a ride to the ER in the back of an ambulance and 2 shots of Nitro to make you live in fear of dying of a heart attack on the treadmill. The first few months of working out after that incident were rough. I was scared to push myself. Even after I was medicated properly and my heart was working as it should (according to two doctors)– I was terrified. I would stop and check my pulse every other minute. And if it got too high, I would stop.
That is why I said that I never imagined I’d be able to run 3 miles. I didn’t think I was capable. I was operating from a place of fear.
I’ve since conquered that fear. While I am still mindful of my heart rate and how my body feels, I no longer fear to control me. I push my body a little bit more each time. And I am constantly amazed at what it can do.
I try to work out at least 5 days a week. 30 minutes or more of cardio (usually running, sometimes elliptical and sometimes step, jump rope.) and alternating upper/lower body workouts with weights, squats, push ups each night. For instance: Last night I worked my arms with free weights and some machines. Tonight, I will do legs.)
The night before last night, I ran another 5k on the treadmill. I need to prove to myself that the first time wasn’t a fluke. That my body is truly capable of such things.
I not only did it again, but I improved my time by 2 minutes.
I don’t write about that to brag- there are millions of people who can run farther and faster than I can. I write about them because I am in awe of how far I have come on this journey towards a healthier, more efficient body.
The truth is I’m stuck in the weight loss department. I’m still holding steady at 186 pounds. (180’s are the new 200’s, apparently!) But that isn’t stressing me out because my body IS changing for the better. It’s stronger, faster, healthier and that is what this journey is all about for me.
(Although, I really do need to drop another 36 pounds so I can get off of this metf*rmin, which is still wreaking havoc on my body– more specifically, my digestive system. I’ll spare you the details, but HOLY NOT POOPING FOR 5 DAYS AND THEN FOR 4 HOURS STRAIGHT ON THE 6TH DAY.)
So that right there is what I’m doing to lose weight. Eating as healthy as possible for my body and exercising at least 4-5 days a week.
And because I’ve not posted photos in a while- here is a before and a current (taken today) photo of my progress. There is a very good reason my hand is covering my belly button and that is because my belly button is JACKED THE EFF UP. No one needs to see that. Gaining 100 pounds and losing 50 of that 100 can do that to a belly button, I guess. I cover it up because I care about you, is what I’m trying to tell you.
Here’s to losing another 50.