a simple lifestyle blog

Happy is the New Skinny

hashbrown, no filter.

hashbrown, no filter.

This is me.
Literally, #Iwokeuplikethis.
No makeup.
No coffee.
I haven’t even brushed my teeth at this point. #tmi
I just want you to have an accurate picture in your mind as to what I look like since apparently looks are everything.

The other day, I was discussing my recent strive for better health with a friend of mine and I decided to show her a photo of me from my freshmen year of college.

Here I am, on the left. Classy Jack Daniels shirt as if I even like whiskey. HA!

Here I am, on the left. Classy Jack Daniels shirt as if I even like whiskey. HA!

You may notice that my face is… well, much  more tan for one (compliments of the ever-present Cali sun) and definitely a lot slimmer.
As I am showing this to my friend, I realize that I feel pretty embarrassed about this because I have gained quite a bit of weight since graduating college and getting married.
High school was a hard time for me. I never felt very good about my body during those turbulent, hormone-charged years, which is why I decided to work my butt off (literally!) afterwards to make sure I wouldn’t feel so ashamed of myself while in college.
I had decided that I would be the the person I had always fantasized about being.
New state, new school, new look, new me.
I worked out every single day at the on-campus gym and I busted through 25 lbs of the old me until I looked like this:
Spring2010Hubba, hubba!
I realize I’m not (and will never be) a “super model size,” but this was a far cry from my days of sweats and a huge hoodie covering up every inch of my unhappiness.
You know what’s funny though? I still was not satisfied with this picture at the time.
I would workout at the gym and stare at my body just wishing I could see the clothes fitting looser or not getting caught on the same rolls of my stomach, but I never saw it.
Let me say that again: I never saw it.
How can this be? I lost 25 lbs. That’s significant!
In my warped mind, through every grueling hour long session at the gym, I saw literally no difference.
Check this out:

aw, so sweet!

aw, so sweet!

This is from my husband’s first trip to Southern California to meet my parents during our Spring Break of freshmen year.
See what I’m doing? I am hiding behind him. Literally hiding.
What is that??

My lovely sister and I are on this journey together of holding each other accountable to a more intentional healthy lifestyle. She sent me this cheesy, albeit accurate, “fitspiration” the other day:
Step 1: Hit nail on head.
Step 2: Repeat.

Back when I was all,

(Who on earth edited these photos by the way? Sheesh. smh)

(Who on earth edited these photos by the way? Sheesh. smh)

I didn’t see what was right in front of me.
The evidence of months of dedication and hard work that paid off in giving me a fit and healthy body I had always wanted.
Now I am here.
SistersHeavier than I had ever been in high school, I’m just kicking myself for the ridiculous misconceptions I had at the time that kept from appreciating my hard work and success.

I have to ask myself how not only this delusion years ago happened, but also how I could be so unappreciative of my body in its current physique.
How could I let my perception of my body get so clouded?
There are obvious answers.
Television shows.
Basically any media out there.

#EFFyourbeautystandards, amirite?

#EFFyourbeautystandards, amirite?

I would like to challenge our ideas of what we are supposed to look like at each stage of our lives.
I have been wounded by what others have said to me knowingly or not in regards to my size, but that won’t ever define who I am. I take responsibility for the body that I have created for myself, wobbly bits and all.

I could post this photo:Before_After
freshmen year of college
Hours at the gym each week: 6-7
Salads consumed each week: 10-12
weight: the weight that I put on my driver’s license

3 years out of college
Hours at the gym each week: 0
Salads consumed each week: -3
weight: definitely not what I have on my driver’s license

That seems a little bleak though.
I could also say,

Bachelor’s degrees earned: 0
Road trips between LA and Portland: 2
All-nighters pulled: 1
Countries visited: 1 (Mexico)
Serious relationships: 0
Unconditional friends: not really any to speak of

Bachelor’s degrees earned: 1
Road trips between LA and Portland: 8
All-nighters pulled: countless
Countries visited: 6 (Mexico, Germany, Austria, England, Ireland, Wales)
Serious relationships: 1 (my husband of almost three years)
Unconditional friends: too many to count

I do not discount the importance of a healthy lifestyle, but I have traveled, failed, succeeded, been depressed, been relied on, been confided in, shared, laughed, loved and lost in this body over the past six years and my “after” photo represents all of that.

It represents the nights of binge snacking as my husband and I crammed to get through a biology test we were nowhere near ready for.
It represents the friends that I have gained along the way and the ones who were better from a distance.
It represents the times I would go out with friends or family and order the best thing on the menu even though I should’ve been saving that money.
It represents the best times of my life landing in a foreign country (sometimes not understanding the language) and experiencing all the food, culture and people have to offer.
It represents the worst times of my life having to say goodbye to two beloved grandfathers who I had always intended to be in our lives for much longer than they were allowed.
It represents closing the door on opportunities that were not right for me and seeking out the ones that were.
It represents having the greatest partner in life by my side and all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles we’ve faced and the invaluable lessons we’ve learned.

We cannot determine an individual’s health and well-being solely by the outer shell that houses the true self: our souls, memories, hopes and dreams.

Life is just a series of before and afters.

Before and after college.
Before and after vacation.
Before and after a big move.
Before and after a new job offer.
Before and after kids.

I am learning to accept that my changing body is a result of years of rich, delicious life that I would never want to give back. Now, I am here looking back over the memories and years, heaving a deep sigh and thinking, “Wow, what a ride.”

Change is like a speeding train. We are all on the track and you can either hop out of the way and enjoy a nice view of change rushing through your life or you can sit there feeling defeated and wait for change to come crashing into you.

I sincerely hope that I can be better at accepting and leaning into change, because it can all turn into positive change based on my attitude and perspective.
I encourage you all to do the same.


12 comments on “Happy is the New Skinny

  1. Mary B
    May 25, 2015

    It makes me sad that you think you have to be skinny to be happy. Life will happen. Weight comes, and sometimes weight goes. You should be happy at whatever stage of life you are in. No matter what your weight is remember that true beauty is more than skin deep and that is what others who matter will see.


    • Truly Cozy
      May 25, 2015

      Oh gosh, I certainly don’t believe anyone must be skinny to be happy, that is precisely the opposite of my point. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to clarify, Mary! Glad we are on the same page 🙂 Cheers!


  2. Melinda
    May 25, 2015

    Words cannot express how much I love this post! I am one of those people who always hides behind something or someone else in pictures (or hides behind the camera) and I know that I’m missing out on moments of my life. I should do a before and after list like you have. Several years ago, I had lost a significant amount of weight, but my life was “light.” I’m (sigh!) much heavier now, but my life is full and that is what counts!


    • Truly Cozy
      May 25, 2015

      I hope you realize what a gift these words are to me. You are treasured and beautiful! You deserve to be in all those memories with your friends and family. We deserve to be celebrated for the hardships we’ve overcome and successes we’ve garnered. Thank you so so much for sharing with me in this self-love. Cheers!


  3. catherinemryan
    May 25, 2015

    I love your second version of before/after stats. Like you said, our bodies reflect the many experiences—good and bad—of the years we’ve logged, adventures traveled, hardships endured and joys celebrated.

    Also, I applaud you for such an insightful and honest post. To see that photo of you and your future-husband and realize that you’re hiding—wow. Lightbulb moment.

    Keep on writing, keep on working, and keep on sharing. My little corner of the internet is much better for having you in it!


    • Truly Cozy
      May 25, 2015

      Catherine, your kind words actually brought tears to my eyes. As you know, all we bloggers ever hope for is some solidarity and someone to understand our struggle.
      Your support and encouragement make it easier to keep writing and sharing. Thank you, thank you! 🙂


  4. Erin
    May 26, 2015

    This is a really wonderful post, Danielle! Good for you for both writing such a heartfelt, honest post and also for recognizing that weight is not everything. You are definitely not alone in that. I think nearly every person (men and women alike!) have this struggle, regardless of their size or body type. It is unfortunate but something we have to learn to deal with. I applaud you for your journey to being healthier and also being happier! There are so many great things to enjoy in life, food and friendship especially, it’s better to enjoy those than not! Keep up the great work!


    • Truly Cozy
      June 16, 2015

      Yes, Erin, you make a good point about all people experiencing this phenomenon. Its funny then that the norm isn’t to just support and applaud each other (and ourselves) no matter what through all stages and seasons of life. All we can do, I guess, is keep up the positivity and self-love. Hopefully others (and our own personal demons) will follow in suit. Cheers 🙂


  5. Ali WIlkinson
    June 1, 2015

    I. Effing. Love. This. Post.


    • Truly Cozy
      June 1, 2015

      Ali, thank you so much for this affirmation. It means a lot to me! 🙂


  6. Rosanne
    June 4, 2015

    Miss Danielle. I stand up. I applaud. Loudly, with great enthusiasm, and for a long, long time. If I could do the bellydancer’s zaghareet, I would do it for you. You are intensely beautiful, amazingly talented, immensely intelligent, and just plain wonderful.

    I, too, have recently been on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance while trying to incorporate better decisions related to my health. Thank you for being part of my extended family – and part of my journey.


    • Truly Cozy
      June 4, 2015

      Rosanne, your comment means the world to me. Thank you so much for your affirmation and support. I am excited to be walking through life with you and other loved ones who can relate to me, love me and challenge me through it all. 🙂


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