Guest writer, Stephanie from Behind Yellow Doors
Welcome to my body- with a current population of 195 pounds currently residing in a size 14 frame. Host to numerous special events including to emotional eating, and addiction to potato chips and diet Pepsi and a weird little quirk of not wanting to do something the moment I know I have to.
Years ago, I was still the same basic me- 80-some pounds heavier and far less honest with myself. I was riding the diet roller coaster trying every fad diet you could imagine, looking for the quickest easiest way to be thin and energetic without moving a muscle or changing a thing about my life.
Somewhere in a secret hiding place in my psyche all I hoped for was to one day wake up, lighter, and fit—Full of energy and self control. The persona I envisioned as someone in shape-- The kind of women you see wearing adorable yoga suits running with her dogs at 6 am while I'm still laying half unconscious in a puddle of my own drool, dreaming of pizza's and double chocolate ice-cream.
I bought the gym membership, got a cute little running suit with shoes to match, loaded my mp3 player with motivating music and went grocery shopping for enough fruit and veggies to feed a small army. My mind was made up—I would be "that girl".
For a few days, I ran my chubby little heart out for 10, 20, 30 second sprints, then walked for 10, 20, 30 minute intervals. I'd crank up the tunes to drown out my own personal embarrassment of how loudly my 285 pounds thumped on the treadmill and how my labored breathing screamed “out of shape fat girl!”
If you ask anyone I know, they'll agree that I said I stopped running after my knee became aggravated, about a week or so into my endeavor. If you ask me to be honest- I didn't have it in me to be "that girl." Sure I wanted the look the part—but work for it? That wasn’t what I signed up for.
I'd love to tell you this is a story about overcoming challenges and rising to the occasion—that I pressed on in the face of adversity and overcame the challenge. Now 80 pounds lighter, I'd love to tell you that I stick my newly thinner frame into a cute little yoga suits with matching sneakers and head out for 6am runs with my dogs—But I wont. This is a true story of my personal defeat. A defeat suffered not through failing to fit into the persona I had projected, but a failure conceived through dishonesty with myself and an unfair goal of what health should look like. It was only once I was honest with myself about who I really was and why; I was able to address the very obstacles that were weighing me down.
Being honest with myself forced the realization that I'm always going to opt for snoring over intense morning exercise, and I'm always going to secretly covet junk food. Being honest with myself meant acknowledging my flaws, admitting what I was willing to sacrifice, and what was non negotiable for me. Change for me would mean thinking outside the box to improve my health while accepting my quirks. The fact is that no amount of cute track suits, new runners, vegetable laden-granola-crunchy diets, treadmills or gym memberships were ever going to make me thin, because I wouldn’t use them.
When I traded in denial for honesty, I traded in my yoga gear for a comfy pair of old worn out blue jeans and crocks, the perfect company for long evening strolls with my nieces and dogs, a hard day working in the yard- or an afternoon of playing catch and skipping rope in the front yard. I traded in huge portions of vegetable laden food which I found unbearable and unsatisfying- for portion control and balance. I traded in my need to become stereotypical image of "healthy granola morning jogger " for a good hard look at myself, my life, and my choices, and a cognizant effort to think outside the yoga suit. And years later, I traded in a size 24 pant, for size 14 and counting.
I applaud and at times still envy those who have the will power and the endurance that I can't seem to conjure up despite my best intentions- but I can only advocate that there is not one single solution, not one single persona that we must embody in order to reshape our lives. Through honesty with ourselves, we can create meaningful plans we can stick to, realistic expectations, and positive change in ourselves both inside and out.
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