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Saturday, March 30, 2013

A New Beginning: My Journey to a Better Me

I've seriously debated over whether or not to share all of this here, and even once I decided I would document my journey on the blog, it's been hard figuring out how and when to start. I don't know how much to share and what sorts of things will be of interest and helpful to someone {anyone} out there reading this. But I guess it's time to stop agonizing over it and just get to it...


One of my senior portraits; HELLO collar bone!


I'm not going to say that I've struggled with my weight, because that would imply that it's something that I've worked on and put some effort towards fixing. That's not quite truthful. To be perfectly honest, I will admit that I have not been happy with the way I look, well my body at least, since Peyton was born almost 13 years ago. That's a long time to look in the mirror and not recognize {or like} the image reflecting back at you. And for me, it's been a long period of denial, false acceptance, and perhaps sheer laziness that's kept me feeling like I was trapped inside of a body that was not mine.


Peyton was just a few months old. I went from a size 0/3 to a 6/8 after she was born, but you can still see my clavicle {it's one of the prettiest, feminine parts of a lady IMO}.

Prior to getting pregnant, I was naturally thin, ate whatever I'd like, and was only moderately athletic/active. At my heaviest, I was around 115 pounds and that was largely due to muscle built while on the swim team my senior year in high school. I actually went through a period of time, the summer before junior or senior year, where my mom and I could not find much that would fit my slight frame properly {even when I was tiny, I was quite busty}. Now, I have a similar issue finding clothes to fit my figure, and the problem is still further exacerbated by "the girls" {my affectionate term for my boobs}, which have pretty much grown exponentially with each of my 3 pregnancies {and yes I breastfed all 3 of my girls, which did not have the added benefit of weight loss after pregnancy as some women experience and to be quite honest, I may be just a little bit bitter about that}. At times, I have blamed my dissatisfaction with my body image on "the girls," hoping, thinking, and saying that I would look better, feel better, and be happier with myself once I got a reduction; that clothes would fit better and my wardrobe options would increase if I wasn't so top heavy. But unless I'm carrying 50+  lbs. around in my bra, the problem does't lie with my breasts.


Circa 2002/2003, in Puerto Rico. At this point, I was willing to wear a two piece bathing suit in public (though it probably had something to do that we were on a island far away from anyone that I knew and surrounded by people that I would never see again}.

And then there's my stomach {which can more accurately be described as a belly now}. My once flat and toned midriff, which at one brief point in time, was quite capriciously adorned with a navel ring {oh, the vanity of youth}, was so stretched beyond capacity {and recognition} while housing, growing, nurturing a healthy {and good sized-Peyton was 7 lbs. 10 oz and 21 inches long when she was born} baby, that I had all but given up hope that it would return to anything resembling its former appearance. So perhaps the reality of that was what caused me to sort of give up. I never returned my pre-pregnancy weight or size after having Peyton. And once again, in all honesty, with the exception of a few periods of experimenting with Slim Fast {which actually allowed me to drop 10-15 lbs from time to time, but I just couldn't deal with the severe feeling of deprivation I felt only being allowed to eat actual food once a day on a long term basis} and even rarer periods when I exercised regularly {I am the proud owner of a comprehensive set of The Firm Workout DVDs; only one or two of which have actually been freed of their cellophane wrapping}, I don't think I put any real effort into trying to get back to any semblance of my former self. So I stayed miserable...

With my gorgeous cousin and mother shortly after Kenzie's birth. My collar bone disappeared long ago, but even at this point I was smaller than I am now...


And it wasn't until I had a mini breakdown/major breakthrough a few weekends ago, that I even realized how miserable I really was/am. At this point, I've had two more babies, and with each pregnancy I got farther and farther from the image I longed to see in the mirror. My ideal has shifted along the way; my hubby openly admits that he prefers a woman with a little meat on her bones and that he wouldn't have been attracted to me when I was younger because I was so skinny. According to the CDC,  "for my height, a normal weight range would be from 113 to 152 pounds," so my goal is to find a happy place between 125-135 lbs. I'll admit, I'm nowhere close to that right now. Perhaps it was my hormones that precipitated the tears that flowed a few Saturdays ago, but I found myself so utterly disheartened, defeated, and unhappy with myself after struggling to find something to wear and really looking at my face in the mirror as I put on my makeup. I tried to hold back the tears {I am SO not a crier and have to be at an absolute emotional extreme for tears to be shed}, but while in the car on the way down to my parents house, I tried a new lipstick color, found it to be totally not flattering, and as I scrubbed it off my lips, I once again looked at my image in the mirror and could no longer hold back the emotion that had been bottled up for more than a decade. I cried. Just a little bit at that point, but still. It was enough to shake me up a bit because I understand the gravity of my tears. I was trying to hide it, but my husband could tell that there was something wrong and when he asked, the truth came out of my heart: "I'm unhappy with myself. I don't like the way I look and feel, and I'm so tired and frustrated about it." Once I spoke it, I could no longer deny it. I am unhappy-but not with my life, with myself. For allowing myself to get this far gone and doing absolutely nothing about it. For burying that discontent so deep inside, yet somehow so close to the surface, and continuing to live a lifestyle that was not conducive to change. But with those tears, came a new beginning for me.

December 2012. This picture was one of the tipping points for me {though quite honestly, I should have known better than to wear wide horizontal stripes. They're not exactly flattering to a curvy girl's figure}.


Another unflattering picture. What's funny is, I didn't realize that that was how I looked in the mirror, until I saw this picture of me in the mirror. 

I think they say in most addictive groups that the first step to getting better is acknowledging that you have a problem. So I'm acknowledging that I have a problem. I live a largely sedentary life, I hate water, and I LOVE food. But I'm ready for a change. I'm ready to do something about my unhappiness, for myself, for my husband, and for my girls. I want to get to a place where I can be happy, satisfied, and proud of the image I see in the mirror; one that I actually recognize as me {because right now I see me surrounded, trapped inside, by blubber}. I want my girls to have ME as their role model for health, beauty, and positive {and realistic} body image. So one day at a time, I'm trying to take steps ahead on a journey to a better me. I hope you don't mind me sharing it with you. And maybe we can encourage one another and you can share your journey with me too. Until next time...




















6 comments:

  1. It's so funny that you mention the clavicle being attractive but mine has always stuck out + I hate it, makes me look + feel too skinny. But I look forward to reading more posts about you getting on your way to a healthier + happier you. Reading your post was motivational + so now with that I'm going to go sweat it out for 30 minutes :-)

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  2. I adore you. while I've never been skinny and often dreamed of throat punching a size 0, I was once smaller. Actually, after the two boys I managed to get down to a comfortable size. Not by taking care of myself, but by doing the opposite. But I quickly found the ponds that had considered my frame home for so many years after I stopped my self destructive patterns of drinking daily and not sleeping. Nevaeh brought on a good bit of poundage that never went away. Yes, it was an accomplishment when I had Kinsley without gaining weight. No worries, I'm still the largest I've ever been. I don't discuss my issues with anyone. I don't HATE myself (because I'm awesome) but I don't like my body anymore. That's my business, and I don't want to compete with someone else for weight goals. I don't want to feel bad because someone else isn't 30 something, hasn't had 4 children, or isn't struggling with my personal issues. I don't need to feel like a failure that you metabolize better than me. I try to do better privately. I avoid fast food at lunch. I drink little soda. I still haven't picked up a fantastic water habit. Most days I don't make it onto my elliptical. But, I know I am the only Person standing in the way of where I need to be. Im trying to do better. Everyday I actively make choices to Put less crap in my body. I won't be a size 6 ever. My "comfort" weight is about 160. I am fine being a size 12. I don't have a small frame. I little cush to pull it all off. Without throwing around figures and giving away ALL my secrets, I have a long road ahead of me. I know I'm not on it alone. This is one journey I won't be the best riding partner in the sense that I may not say much, but I'm here. I applaud your ability to make your journey public. You are a beautiful person, regardless of your appearance or your perception of your appearance. I look forward to your inspiration and encouragement.

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  3. This post spoke to me today in more ways than one. I have contemplated posting about my struggle but always chickened out, fear of being judged I guess. I am so glad I found your blog, I really enjoy that you are so open. You have inspired me to get back on track :)

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  4. Quinn, thank you SO much for posting your story. This is one of the most intimate and honest things that I have read in a very long time. Your bravery in deciding to publicly share something so personal is incredibly admirable and inspiring to me. I hope you will continue to share your journey, as I look forward to watching your successes!

    Your girls have a fabulous role model with you as their mom. ♥

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  5. This is a courageous post. I really sympathize with you so much. I think the first step in any successful weight loss begins above the neck. You are already many steps down the path to your goals.

    You can totally do it and you will feel so proud of yourself!

    If you want, you can email me and I will send you my best healthy slimming tips that really worked for me. isgood at rocketmail dot com. I am at my goal weight after years of struggle, and I would love to share what I have learned. I know how frustrating it can be to "diet". That is why I don't do it. ; )

    ReplyDelete

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