Loving To Love Myself
I was a pretty lean kid until the ages of 10-12. That’s when the pediatrician told my parents I needed to lose weight, or I wouldn’t be able to wear a mini skirt. My dad quickly involved us in sports. We played soccer, tennis, rode our bikes more, and learned how to swim properly. When I think back to my sister and I running around the tennis court, I wish I could go back. However, I hated every moment I was there.
The most “oh snap I’m fat” moment was when I was 10 years old. My family went on a trip to Spain. One day, my parents had bought us snacks. I asked for a box of strawberries. A family my parents knew came over to the hotel to pick us up. The dad (let’s call him Raul) looked at me and said to his wife (in Spanish), “oh look she’s so chubby but at least she’s eating healthy”.
I was never skinny when I was in middle school or high school. I wouldn’t call myself fat either, but I was so aware that I wasn’t thin. All my friends were a size 0-2 and XS/S. I never felt attractive. I think I was in middle school when I began to fat shame myself. The most vivid memory I have is of my yellow chair. I wrote “you’re fat”. Yeah I know, I probably wrote “your”. Sorry Mrs. Skains! My parents eventually saw this and I remember just bawling my eyes out.
I did eventually lose some of the middle school weight, and I was a bit thinner in high school. At least for the first year. Then I gradually started gaining a couple of pounds. I think the heaviest I was in HS was 150 lbs. Then I graduated HS, and the summer before I began my first year at UNT. I attended a 3 day orientation. It was the middle of summer. We walked every where, and I was constantly sweating. When I got back from orientation, that’s when I decided to start losing weight.
It’s College Time
I began running for 20 minutes every day, then 30, and eventually worked myself up to running 50 minutes every day. I ate pretty healthy. At least healthier than I ever had before. That meant protein shakes, salads, froyo instead of ice cream, and only a burger or two a week. Yeah, I know, not very healthy. It worked though. I went from weighing around 160 to 118. That lasted for a good year and a half.
Then I met my S.O., and we ate (or should I say eat) too much. I gained all the weight I had lost and then some. The heaviest I have been in these last 3 years was 180 pounds. Thankfully I’ve lost 20+ pounds of that, but I have a long way to go. I don’t want to miss this point though, even when I was the smallest I had ever been, I still didn’t look like “those models”. I thought I had huge thighs, and that I needed to weigh around 105-110 pounds.
When I realized all the weight I had gained, I felt horrible. Absolutely disgusting. At that point, I thought back to how I felt when I was “thin”. The feeling, at times, was similar. When I was thin, I wasn’t disgusted with myself, but I thought I needed to look better, smaller. Realizing this, I told myself I needed to love myself more. Embrace who I am. I do not want to be defined by how I look, but by the quality of person I am.
I’m not going to lie. I’ve been wanting to lose weight since late 2014. It’s a struggle. It’s a lot harder this time around. Is it because I’m older? Am I not as driven? My weight fluctuates more than ever now. I barely work out, and I am not as careful with what I eat. My goal is to become more aware. I want to be proactive.
It’s ok that it’s more difficult for me. Just to clarify — I’m happy now. Even though it’s a battle every day. I know why I want to lose weight. I want to take care of my body. The only body I am going to have. I want to be healthy and be filled with energy. I’m not racing against anyone. I’m not comparing myself to anyone, not even my past self. What I am finally learning is that I need to lose weight for the right reasons.
I hope that at the end of this year, I get to look back and see how I have advanced. I want to be open about my failures and successes. My journey to a healthy life is one I will be working towards. I hope to be able to update my story each month with what has helped me the most in being healthy. Along those lines, I want to note my downfalls and what I could have done better.
Believe in yourself, in your dreams. Work hard and diligently for what you desire. Find courage within yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most importantly, remember to love yourself. I want to end on this note. No matter how you look, what matters the most is who you are and how you treat others. Let’s be creative + kind.
Photography by: Young Revelers