Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Learning to Live in Your Own Skin

It's kind of ironic that I didn't start to find comfort in my own body until the last three years....at my highest weight ever.

I was always the biggest kid.  Although several years younger than my sisters, I always looked their age.  I was as tall and big as them for as long as I can remember.  That is until around fourth grade, and I became taller.  I've been the same height, 5'9, since fifth grade.  In addition to my height, I was always the biggest kid.  It wasn't easy being taller and bigger than everyone else.

Then in eighth grade, after not making the basketball team, I joined weight watchers at 220 pounds.  The truth of the matter is that I stopped eating.  I only ate egg whites and green beans, and OCCASIONALLY had a SmartOnes frozen dinner.  I drank cans of diet soda to fill me up in the mornings.  Looking back, I know that what I was doing wasn't healthy, but it worked!

In 6 short months, I was 160 pounds.

But I still wasn't happy.

I couldn't shrink to 5'nothing, like my sisters.  I didn't have their dark hair and eyes.  They were always beauty queens in the parades (no, this isn't an exaggeration), and I always felt like the ugly duckling.  I always felt like I was STILL too big!

I hated pictures of me...

Age 14 (165 pounds), and I hated this picture because I thought my arms and face were too fat.

Age 15, and I hated this pic because my hips were so wide.

Age 15, and I hated this pic again because of my hips.

Age 16 (180 pounds), and I thought my legs looked like tree trunks.

It's funny how perception on these things can change.  I wasted so much time hating my body!

This continued until college.  Until I met my ex who two years later I found out was married.  He showed me that I should feel beautiful how I was.  He always made me feel good about myself, regardless of the fact that my weight was the highest I'd ever been.  If there's anything I can be thankful for when it comes to him, I think he taught me to love myself.  I remember him telling me once that I couldn't love him until I loved myself.  Thankfully, when the relationship ended, I didn't go back to the place I was before meeting him.

I think no matter who you see when you look in the mirror, you should find something nice about yourself.  Even on my worst days, I try to think one positive thing about myself every time I look in the mirror.  Even when I haven't showered and I'm feeling ugly, I can at least come up with "I'm a good friend" or something non-appearance related.

Regardless of how you feel about yourself today, there may be a day that you look back and realize you spent too much time worrying about things that didn't matter and this day in your life was really better than you thought at the time.  Be happy with yourself today.  I didn't get to 344 pounds overnight, and I'm not going to get back to 200 that way either, so I don't want to waste the time in between lamenting for something I'm not, or comparing myself to someone I can never be.

Focus on your goal, but don't lose sight of today in the process :)


  1. I totally understand about not fitting in growing up. I was 5'9 by the time i was 12--and hit six foot by 15. so I was lucky I stopped there. I don't have sisters (i have a brother who is 6'8), but I have girl cousins who are the short petite size 0 girls--and I never felt comfortable around them. they barely top 5'3 and i towered over them, my mom and her sisters, etc.

    I was just thinking about writing a post about fitting in your own skin this morning--and then i read yours. how timing appropriate!

    And I agree about the loving yourself part. My boyfriend is awesome--we have been together going on 7 years--and he thinks that I'm beautiful. when we met, I was down about 20 lbs more than where I am now--and was having great self esteem and felt confident about myself. but even with the weight gain, the surgery to help me lose weight--he has always been there to support me and show me that I am worthy of love and being loved--and I think that makes a huge difference. Knowing that you are capable of being loved and of showing love. It changes your life.

    In your pictures, I am jealous of you because you are so beautiful. You are beautiful now, but you were beautiful then, too. I struggled with not only being taller, but also being a big girl with glasses and acne pretty much my entire life since age 11. Life has not been easy--but now, at 36, I finally feel like I'm coming into my own (Thank you proactive!). And I know that only good things will come in the future.

    Thanks for your post and for sharing your feelings and being honest. I wish that I had your determination and drive to succeed at weight loss when I was your age--and maybe I wouldn't have wasted so much of my life regretting it.

    1. Thank you for your positive words and encouragement. You're so lucky to have found someone who loves you for the woman you are!

      And girl, trust me...I know about acne. I was that 12 year old girl taking accutane...and it was hell. Thank God I did that early though!

  2. I can definitely relate to your post - conversely, I always have wished I was taller! But you're absolutely right... we need to be happy with ourselves today or we're never going to be happy.

  3. It's all so true. I wasted my thinnest years (high school) being SO self-conscious and never happy with my body. I didn't gain confidence and peace with myself until my 30's at my highest weight. It helped that I figured how there are tons of awesome things about me that have nothing to do with how much I weigh. That's true of all of us!

  4. I totally agree! I've wasted so many years hating myself over weight! NO MORE! Each night, as I drift to sleep, I am saying a new mantra: My body has done hard things, it deserves kindness. I have done hard things, I deserve kindness.