Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I haven't been blogging much the past year or so. I was embarrassed because I gained back 30 pounds of the original weight I lost. And let me tell you something...it was easy.

The other day my nifty little TimeHop app showed me a status of mine from three years ago.

"I added a little jog to my walk tonight. And by a "little jog", I mean one block. I like to remind myself that little is more than nothing. So if it's more than nothing, it must be something. And something is always better than nothing."

Three years ago, I couldn't jog a block. I still remember going down to the track and putting everything I had into jogging a whole mile without stopping, months after I had started working out. What a victory that was. I took a picture of myself after that moment.

May 14th, 2012 - My first mile.

I felt beautiful when I took this picture. It's hard to feel that way looking at it now. But I distinctly remember how ecstatic I was. I felt more beautiful, more accomplished in this moment than I did after I finished my half marathon this past summer (although that was pretty cool too ;) )

The other day I jogged a mile. It had me winded, but even with the addition of 30 pounds, I could do it without thinking about it all too much. I didn't feel accomplished when it was over. I didn't feel beautiful. I felt like a fat blob, a loser...ugly. Less than a year ago, I jogged 13.1 miles. How did I get to this point? As I stood there, examining myself in the mirror, I cried.

I am ugly. I am fat. Those are words that I've never used to describe myself before, even at my heaviest. So it quickly became less about what happened to my body, and more about what happened to my being in these several months that I would consider some of the happiest of my life.

Anyone that works with me knows a lot about how my mind functions on a day-to-day basis. I am assertive, aggressive in my work, inquisitive, fast-acting, but deep thinking. I also tend to live in a constant state of panic, worried about completing all my work effectively, pleasing others, and not failing. A lot of these attributes carry over into my personal life. I've programmed myself as an employee and also as a person to be like this (I'm my father's child).

Somehow, I lost sight of what was important on my road to health. A half-marathon wasn't enough, and the remaining 30 pounds I had to lose seemed just completely unreachable. How could I switch careers, make a movie, start a relationship, travel, focus on my hobbies, and lose that last bit of weight? Instead of stepping back and looking at the big picture, I let my anxiety and fear get the best of me.  And instead of finding balance, I sacrificed in every part of my life by losing control of the one thing I can have control of, my self-worth and image of myself.

When I stopped feeling beautiful and accomplished, I stopped pushing myself to be better. Eric was there reminding me how pretty I was and encouraging me to move towards my goals, but when you don't feel beautiful, you won't accept people telling you that or treating you like you are. It's a really sad truth that I think a lot of people (men and women alike) face at some point in their lives.

I think the times in my life that I've felt most beautiful are the moments when I knew that I was using everything God gave me to be the best version of me possible. Because striving to be better is not only a gift to myself, but an obligation I have to family, friends, and people who love me. This goes beyond weight, my new shoes, or the amount of make-up I'm wearing for the day. Beauty is a lot deeper than that, and the most beautiful people in my life are the ones who are living each day to the fullest, taking care of themselves, and striving to be good to people. Maybe those things shine through in the glow of their skin or something, but I'm not imagining that.

I've been struggling a lot with body image lessons lately. There are a couple shows on TLC right now focused on being "fat". One is about a woman who is 250 pounds overweight. She just wants to lose a little weight, but is happy how she is. The other is about a "healthy" woman who gains 40 pounds to prove she can lose it in three months. I turned the channel after she goes for a jog with the extra 40 pounds. She is nearly in tears. "It's so hard being fat." She weighed 40 pounds less than I do in this picture below.

Both shows rub me the wrong way. I'm not a fan of complacency if there are parts of your life that you want to change, and I'm also not okay with "fat-shaming". If you haven't run around the track at 300 pounds, you probably have no idea what you're talking about regarding the issue. But if you're 380 pounds, and you've been overweight your whole life, you probably don't know how different and wonderful it feels to stop carrying some of that extra weight, and what it means to be healthy. Why aren't we focusing on all the glorious and wonderful ways that God made us different and unique?Each comes with unique challenges and gifts. Why is beauty not more about how we use what we've been given to be better quality people...in all aspects? I know for me, that's when I feel most beautiful. I haven't been using everything I have lately. I want to be better for me, for my family, for my friends, for my best friend and boyfriend. That's how this improved me started anyway (except for the boyfriend...I added him later. :) 

When I looked in the mirror the other day and felt ugly, it was less about that trouble spot or that new wrinkle. It was more about knowing I could be better, stronger, healthier. Giving up has never made me feel beautiful. I'm well on my way to balance now, which is what I've been searching for this whole time. I have great allies, and I can't wait to see what's in store for my new-found dedication. I made all of our lunches for the week last night, I conquered my DQ Blizzard craving tonight, and I got a 30-minute workout in. Tonight, I feel beautiful.

Here are other moments where I've felt beautiful, at all different sizes. My perception of these photos have changed over time, but I remember how great I felt in those moments.

Blast from the past. 

At our premiere.

Post - Run picture.

New Year's Eve a couple years ago.

Hardcore workouts.

A run with my sister.

The night after our half-marathon.

3 Weeks into working out 5 days a week.

First time wearing non-plus size dress.