a simple lifestyle blog
This is me.
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.
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:
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:
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,
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.
Heavier 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.
Basically any media out there.
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:
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.