I will just come right out and say it: I’m not the size I once was.
Now my weight history looks a little different than most. I was actually larger in high school and the beginning of college. When I say larger (or later, when I say smaller) I’m using myself as a reference for the measure. I do not have a mental image of anyone else who doesn’t have my body or my metabolism or my love for chocolate. At least not for today, for this topic and this post.
I’m not saying I was ever erroneously overweight. I recognize that I have not had the past or had to come from a point of obesity. I’m trying to be very honest and I don’t want to misrepresent myself or the actuality of my journey.
So returning to my background – I wasn’t the fit, trim zero fat percentage body type. Never have been. I have had curves since middle school – you know what I’m talking about. Maybe even before then. I was my most active in childhood and middle school, playing sports every summer and throughout the year. At one point, playing on three sports teams a year.
I’m the kind of person who dislikes gyms and working out and the only exercise I enjoy is playing sports. Or hiking. Or biking (but oh so beginner in biking). I’ll admit right off the bat that for the past 6 years my enthusiasm for being active had gone w a y down.
When I had active jobs (i.e. serving at restaurants), that was my workout. I could clock 15, 000 steps a day without blinking an eyelash and with hours left in the day to spare. It’s honestly the thing I miss most about waiting tables.
Then this great job opportunity comes my way and is beneficial in every way but one: I sit at a desk all day. All.Day. I may not like to exercise in the traditional sense, but I do NOT like to sit still for long periods of time.
I digress though, because I didn’t come here to talk about my jobs or my exercise non-habits.
I meant to start by explaining that I got healthier later in life. More fit, better habits. A few years into college I lost 30 pounds (insert Weight Watchers plug here – seriously). A few years after that while living on the East Coast, circumstances, more free time for legitimate work-outs, and hardships brought even more weight loss, though that phase was less intentional and more to do with a variety of circumstances – most, out of my control.
I didn’t realize it at the time though. How thin I was. Because I wasn’t fit. I wasn’t toned and muscle mass was almost non-existent. (Except my legs. Somehow those have always been the strongest part about me.)
I carry my weight in the middle – always have. Always have hated it. But I’ve also always had curves, and I don’t wish that away. I think that’s a positive and for that, I’m thankful. (News flash, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever admitted to liking something about my physical appearance.)
So, what’s my point in all this?
Why did I sit down and begin to inadvertently over-share?
Yesterday I spent so much money on clothes. (Which I hate to do.)
Because I’ve grown basically two sizes larger.
(Stupid girl emotions…stop crying and keep typing.)
I know how to eat healthy. It’s important to me to enjoy what I’m eating but to choose wisely so I can enjoy all the more. Weight Watchers taught me portion control and what is or isn’t worth the intake. If you’ve known me lately, you know I stay away from preservatives, I love spinach and salads, I’ve used my Nutri-bullet like a nerd who really enjoys her new toy. But…still…
Sedentary work life. Rarely any free time to move. A former insomniac to knows the precious commodity that is sleep and doesn’t wake at 5am like a ton of dedicated fit people do to hit the bike or the Daily Burn or sweat inducer of choice.
But these are all excuses. I know.
I hear my super fit friends chanting/scolding now: “If you make it important, you’ll make the time.” “If it really bothers you, do something about it.” “Do this product, try this supplement, here I just started selling this so here’s your secret – don’t worry about the cost…”
The thing is – they’re not wrong. I know that.
But here’s what I’ve decided (and what I think we should tell ourselves, as women):
Dress yourself in a way that makes you feel great. Regardless if you’ve gone up or down a size.
So your favorite pair of jeans don’t fit as well and you feel cinched. Get new ones.
So the new clothes may have a different cut or be a size up. Rock the style you love.
Wear the boots, put on the leggings, buy shirts that go past your waist and flatter your curves.
Smile more. Instead of breaking down when you look in a mirror.
Take time to take care.
Sip the coffee, laugh at the joke until you can’t breathe and your abs are sore. Let people in. Be honest with what’s going on.
Get your bike out again this week, even though that last time had you pulling over in the middle of that hill to get on all fours and catch your breath. Even if a car stops to check on you, smile and wait till your heart rate regulates and you can stand again. Wave and say “I’ll make it”. (Yes…this really happened. Thank you kind lady [my age], for being genuine and not looking at me in pity like you easily could have. I really do appreciate it.)
Because when you get your bike out that next time, you’ll not only make it past the hill (which by the way, usually doesn’t give you trouble and to which you have surpassed before) but you’ll go extra miles that day and feel so much better for it.
Still eat your favorite dark chocolate.
Don’t deny yourself something you love, just remember your choices matter but they shouldn’t rule your life.
You have the power of your perception. You may not have power over anything else in this world, but you can choose your reactions and actions and treatment of others as well as yourself.
It’s that last one I have always had the most trouble with.
I’m not my biggest fan. I never have been.
Talk about trying to break your worst habit.
But something’s got to give and I’d love it if for once it’s not my tear ducts.
And I want to enter with a clear head and chin up and comfortable in my skin – at least outwardly. Because there will be so much internal stretching and growing and challenging happening in those three short days. I’ll have networking and important meetings to move ahead in my career-passion goals. Confidence will have to be faked until I can feel it without having to try so hard.
And the clothes may be surface but they’ll actually help. Because instead of struggling to breathe, I’ll be flowy and free and able to focus on the encouragement of an amazing group of men and women. Both experts and timid dreamers just like me.
We’re all walking through these years and experiences with thinner skin that we’d like to let on, but with the deep capacity for shining rather than shame.
Shining not out of our own prowess, but for His will. His direction. His purpose. Most importantly, His glory.
May that be my measuring tape and may the most influential number I give heed to be the number of days it took to be liberated from all the junk in this life.
He rose on the 3rd day and obliterated any need I had to perform, to perfect in order to be important or be worthy. He never saw only one type worthy of saving or using.
He saw every last one of us. And He said yes. “They are mine.” “It is finished.”
“Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.”
[Proverbs 31:30, AMP]
May I rest in the knowledge that no matter my situation, I lack nothing. I do not become less worthy or capable.
If I wake in the morning and place one foot in front of the other, I succeed in strength.
If I show compassion and empathy, if I care for my brother and sister, I succeed in beauty.
If I choose forgiveness for myself and for those that hurt me deep whether by intention or apathy, I succeed in Love. The kind of Love that stood on a hill and couldn’t be contained by rags or rocks.
**What do you think? Am I foreign in these disappointments and battles of climbing out from underneath my own expectations and “wishes” to be better, be slimmer, be….something? Can you relate? Please share with us today the words you need to hear – or the words you need to stop saying to yourself (or perhaps start saying). Rally around those who speak into your corners: “you are not alone”. It’s your turn to breathe, walk, smile.