Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Year of Self Discovery

Today is the one year anniversary of my "transformation". Transformation is a weird word because sometimes I don't feel that different at all, I'm still me. And I think that's good. But at other times I feel like I barely recognize myself, and not just on the outside. I am amazed at who I have become on the inside as well.

March 2015

March 2015
A few months ago, I was looking forward to this post, excited to tell you how much weight I had lost, and planning all the before and after shots. I was spending way too much time trying to find the "ugliest" pictures of myself at my heaviest weight, so that you could all see how much "better" I look now. And while, yes, my outward appearance is a bit smaller than it was 12 months ago, I don't really think that that is the most amazing change that happened. Don't get me wrong, the fact that I did lose weight, is in a way, a reflection of the changes that have happened on the inside, but I like to think that I would still be happy with myself if all that had changed was my mentality and the ability to love myself unconditionally.

April 2015

May 2015

August 2015

Sept 2015
I didn't start to love myself overnight. It took a lot of time. For the better part of last year, I struggled. I had hit a low point. Feeling so ugly and disgusting. I talked badly about myself, in private to myself and my husband, and in public to my friends and family. I would casually mention that I was fat and gross, and kinda just laugh it off, like it was nothing. But it wasn't nothing. I was bullying myself. I would pick apart a picture of my beautiful new family, feeling ashamed to post it or share with friends because I was embarrassed by my looks. I decided that enough was enough, and that I needed to change something. I had to do something drastic in order to be able to like myself. I decided to go 'Low carb". I cut out carbs (even in fruits and veggies!!). I restricted food, made myself feel terrible for "cheating" or "binging" on "off limit" foods. But I dropped weight really fast, and that made me excited. I was so accustomed to believing that my self worth was dependent on the number on the scale or the size of my jeans. So the fact that these numbers were going down, somehow meant that I was more worthy of love now. I became obsessed with that "high" that I felt, and started to become even more strict with my foods. I was watching my macros, refusing foods if I was too close to my calorie limit, even if I was hungry. There was a point where I was trying to eat less than 1000 calories a day, and to exercise to burn at least 600 calories. I would go on multiple walks a day, go to the gym and only drink water if I felt hungry.

I had an eating disorder.

I was sick, and hungry and grouchy. My poor husband. If someone put me in a position where I couldn't control how what I was eating I was mad, and so things like family dinners, double dates with friends and holiday parties became stressful and annoying. I was mostly in denial about the fact that everything I was doing to my body was unhealthy, and went against everything I knew I should have been doing. I wanted to see results so badly, that I was willing to compromise my health and my sanity.  I was just talking to my friend Hope, and she said, "I remember sitting with you in your living room and you telling me how you had worked out and burned more calories than you'd eaten that day, and how MyFitnessPal was urging you to eat more. And you were so excited by that. And I didn't even know how to respond because I love you and I want to support you, but it was scary."
It was scary, but sadly it took a few months before I would admit that something was going to have to change. I couldn't live like this forever. Regardless of the excitement I felt when I would see the scale go down, I was so unhappy the rest of the day, it wasn't worth it. I knew that everything I had been doing up to this point wasn't anything I could do for a lifetime. I can't live without carbs forever, I can't workout more than I eat for the rest of my life, and I can't hate my body and be unhappy in my skin for the rest of time. I knew something had to change.

October 2015 
November 2015
I started by simply upping my caloric intake everyday, but still making sure I was eating healthy, fueling foods that helped my body have energy. I was amazed that as I did this the scale started to move more. It was like it was rejoicing with me, saying "THANK YOU! I have been waiting for so long for us to love each other!" I started to go to the gym, simply because I did truly enjoy it. I left the heart rate watches at home, I didn't log my workouts. I just went and moved my body and enjoyed the feeling that I had afterwards. It was amazing how much better my life was. But I didn't do this all on my own. I don't actually remember how I came to find this group on facebook, but all I know is that I owe so much of my success to the other amazing women I found in Happy Habits for Healthy Moms. These woman focus on creating a healthy lifestyle and not participating in 'quick fixes', fad diets, or harmful supplements or diet pills. No wraps, no shame, no guilt for having stretch marks or love handles. They celebrate each other, focus on non scale victories, encourage you to be your best and have a happy healthy balance to your life. At first I just silently scrolled through the feed, reading everyone else's success stories and watching these women blossom. I slowly started to add my own story to theirs, and I feel like I've gained such an amazing support system, even though most of them live all the way around the world (I'm serious, a lot of them live in Australia! Haha!) As cliche and silly as at sounds, I truly believe that this group saved my life. Had I not found them I'm sure I would still be struggling to find balance in my life. I love myself now. I'm happy in my skin. I feel at peace with the decisions I make every day. I listen to my body and fuel it's needs. I eat a lot of veggies and protein, and also lots of bread and chocolate. I don't have a goal weight or a goal size anymore, just a goal lifestyle.

I'm sure my body will keep changing, and I'm excited to watch it transform. I plan to have more children, and to go on more hikes, and play with my kids in the park and have lazy days and overall just be kind to myself. I have found peace with body and my mind, and for this I'm a better mom and spouse and friend and daughter and sister.

These are my current body pictures. I'm so happy.

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