the body image series: my journey

This topic has been sitting heavy on my heard, mostly because it’s something I’ve been personally struggling with lately. Truthfully, it’s been hard finding the words to try and share, especially when it’s something I’m in the midst of figuring out for myself, but maybe that’s why I’ve been so compelled to write about it. Blogging has definitely been a powerful outlet for me, but it also gets easy to feel like I can’t write about something until I’ve overcome the issue for myself – which I’m realizing now isn’t particularly true. I know I personally turn to other blogs when I feel like I’m struggling either to find solutions or even just to know I’m not alone (yes, even on the most relatable of topics). My heart has always been to be transparent and raw with all of my readers, and this post is one of those times I wanted to share my heart.

As I’ve gone back and forth about how I wanted to approach this topic, I realized I couldn’t fit nearly everything I wanted to say in one post, so I decided to make a mini-series out of it, starting with my health journey. There have been moments where I judge myself for writing about this because maybe I don’t have anything to write about, but then I realize body image issues + insecurity in general doesn’t discriminate who it effects – it literally has effected some of the fittest people I know, so I guess it’s not too out of the norm that it would hit me too.

Honestly, my weight was never a concern for me until right after my high school graduation. I was going to graduation party after graduation party, followed by a week long trip to Seattle where I was constantly out and about town and eating out quite a bit in the process. I remember feeling seriously so bloated by the time I got back, and I was curious to weigh myself – I had gained about 10 lbs and, this being my first time to really experience “so much” weight gain, I had no idea what to think. After that I started doing some hardcore Zumba for weeks until I lost the weight.

I didn’t think much about my weight again until junior year, when I switched to a smaller campus of my community college and was growing my tutoring business – which meant I was ten times more sedentary than before. In addition to my constant sitting, I was always going from one place to the next with little time in between, so naturally it felt easiest to stop for something quick to eat on-the-go. I think it was easy for me to fall victim to the “I’ll just eat out” mindset because I was a little too confident in how consistent my weight had stayed. I really started to regret it when I found myself 20 lbs overweight and didn’t have as simple as a time trying to get back to my normal, comfortable weight.

It wasn’t until I got to OU I lost about 10-15 lbs in my first semester from having to walk around campus all day every day and made some major changes in how I was eating. I stayed at my ideal weight until after graduation and the desk job started to take its toll on me. It was easy to skip walking breaks and be lazy during the day when I felt confident in my body, not realizing just how active I had been as a student and how much of a role it played in my weight loss + maintenance.

Last September, I started working out consistently – at least 2 times a week, just to start. By the beginning of this year, I was in the gym 3-4 days a week and started my process of transitioning to a plant-based diet. Going into 2019 I felt so confident that I was doing so much right and that I was finally going to get back to where I wanted to be (weight-wise, or at the very least, body composition-wise). But even during recent weigh-ins I’m still yo-yo’ing between 20-30 lbs overweight, and my body composition tests haven’t been much better, even now that I’m working out 4-5 days a week.

In the past few months I’ve flip-flopped between feeling confident and feeling completely beaten down and discouraged. Some days I think to myself, “I’m perfect the way I am,” and other days I can’t stand what I see in the mirror. Some days I feel strong and capable, other days I feel like all this effort to lose weight has been a lost cause – which, is a total lie.

Part of what’s made this period of insecurity harder for me is that I’ve felt like I’ve been trying to do so much right but haven’t seen any of the physical changes that I’ve wanted. I’ve tried to remind myself in those moments of discouragement that I am healthier than I’ve ever been, whether the scale represents that or not – but again, insecurity doesn’t necessarily back down with rationalization. Sometimes, at the end of the day, all I really want is to be comfortable in my own skin, which feels hard to do when I’m trying to go to sleep and can feel my skin touching itself in places where it’s never touched before, or when I remember how confident I felt 2 years ago when I weighed 30 lbs less. Or when memories pop up on Facebook or Snapchat and I’m reminded of how much weight I’ve gained in my face. The thing is, I’m not really guilty of comparing myself to other girls or different body types on Instagram as much as I of comparing me to me, which has clearly been just as damaging.

The thing is, I might not look like I did 2 years ago – and as much as I miss how I looked + physically felt – I do also have to remind myself how broken I was then. I was riddled with anxiety, had a total lack of self-confidence, and always looked for affirmation in all the wrong places. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself, I didn’t know how to keep my head up in the face of hardships. My spirit is stronger now than it’s ever been and I couldn’t be more grateful for the things God has brought me through – but, some days, I’m human enough to simply let myself to fall victim to my physical insecurities regardless of being able to acknowledge how far my mental health has come.

I’m still working hard and teaching myself how to be disciplined in my health – I’ve had to accept that life comes in chapters that present new challenges, and I have to be able to adapt. It’s because I know I’m taking the steps necessary to make a change that I decided to start this mini-series. I strive to be relatable and real, and I felt like this topic was a way to do so. I look forward to organizing future posts to share for anyone who feels like they’re in the same place.

This mini-series is still a work in progress, but at the very least I know I’ll be talking about what I’ve been doing to combat any negative self-talk when it comes to body image. It’s been a struggle, but I’ve been finding ways to dim down the insecurities, and it’s lifted quite a burden off my shoulders. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments and anything you want to see discussed!

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