Many people hate to see their pictures. Pictures are reality and often we are trying to hide the zit on our face, the roll of fat on our arm or the extra bump we have gained due to a food baby. I also know a picture can speak a thousand words without having one word in it.
Over the past two and half years, I have lost over 65 pounds following a Paleo lifestyle which fits me. In the beginning of my journey to find a healthy body, I was constantly losing weight. People would comment how great I looked and I would smile and accept their complement. What those kind people did not know was deep down I was thinking they were crazy giving me the compliment. I thought they were complimenting me because they noticed my drive for change and didn’t want me to become discouraged when I did not see it. Were there physical signs I was losing weight…yes! I loved shopping for clothes but at one point became discouraged because I would purchase a nice pair of pants and they would be too baggy two weeks later and back to shopping I went…I always knew were the clearance rack was located in my favorite stores. I knew change was occurring when I would go shopping, but I never accepted it because I always had a mental picture of myself as the girl with the unhealthy body.
One day I reached my breaking point. At this point I had probably lost over 30 pounds and the compliments were pouring in. I would receive them from my peers at the gym, coworker, friends and family. However, one morning I was walking out of the locker room at the gym and my trainer gave me a compliment. This person I held so high, gave me a compliment…yes me! She said my hard work was showing and I should be proud of my gains. Needless to say, I do not think she was ready for my tears of sadness. I literally flopped down on the lifting bench and started sobbing at 6:45 in the morning, no less. She was taken back when reality sunk in how frustrated I was. I was frustrated because the person I saw EVERYDAY looking at me was the girl who joined her gym the year prior. The girl whose pants were too tight. The girl who was starting to gain a double chin. The girl who was starting to get extra flap on her arms when she would go to write her students lessons on the white board. At that moment she said two words: body dysmorphia. I pulled myself together and said I would read a little bit about it with her guidance. Of course where do I really go….googleMD!
Body dsymorphia is when you see yourself differently than society due to a rapid change. The weight I was losing was occurring at a healthy rate; however, my brain was not catching up to the change. I saw myself as heavy and never fit or healthy.
With my trainers guidance I was able to over come my body dsymorphia. However, it took lots of time. Her first suggestion was to pull out old photos. Look at myself now and how I looked in photos. What was different? She even told me to ‘critique’ the photo from head to toe. She worked with me on accepting compliments. My trainer took my confidence to a whole new level after I let her into my world. She had no idea I was going through this, until I opened up and let her in. I think she was under the impression I had pride in my accomplishments because of how I displayed myself in our weekly meetings. However, I have a feeling something created a doubt because she asked me at the right time when I was ready to open up.
As I continued to find self-acceptance for who I was becoming, I did not want the change to stop! I stayed determined to fuel my body with nutrients to help me perform my best both mentally and physically. As time has progressed, I have maintained a healthy weight. Yes, even that stupid weight equation your doctor does at your yearly physical says I’m no longer obese…something I thought I would never hear my doctor tell me.
Every person we meet will have a story, the question is…when will they share their story with you and why do they share it with you? I’m sharing my story now because I’m comfortable with who I am and sharing my journey leading up to it. I recently read a post by Gina over at So…Let’s Hang Out called A Few Words On Body Shaming. The article is on body image and how we tear ourselves up through what we see in a photograph. This made me realize often we go to the negatives in ourselves and choose to pick them apart piece by piece. Unfortunately the media has set a body image in our minds and no matter what we do, we will always want to change some part of our body.
Embrace who you are and accept why you are who you are. It has taken me awhile to truly let that message sink in and understand it. For me, I’m embracing the large thighs because they anchor me to the ground and support me while I lift heavy weights in a squat shoulder press. My large arms which don’t fit into fitted tops because of my bicep muscle. Well, my bicep muscle can curl 25lbs and I have decided the average clothing designer must curl much lighter. With time, I know that physical body appearance is not important, it is being comfortable with who you are in your body. Enjoy you because there is only one you!!