Sunday, April 10, 2016

Because I Deserve It: The Beginning of My Lifestyle Change

Growing up I was never as thin as all my girlfriends. At the time I thought it was because I was just naturally fat and they were just blessed with fast metabolisms. And yes, my metabolism was something I thought about as early as elementary school, because I have never been happy with my body, as far back as I can remember. I remember being in gym class in 5th grade and watching my best friend, thinking how unfair it was that I looked like me and not her. What I didn't realize at the time, or just couldn't quite understand, was that I just had a different body type than a lot of girls my age. I got curvier, much quicker than them and in my mind, that meant I was fat. And I think somewhere along the line, between each diet I attempted and failed, I gave up on myself. Losing weight (that at the time I probably didn't even need to lose) was just too hard and I think subconsciously I thought "Why even bother. I'm gonna be fat forever anyway." Looking back at pictures of myself, I wasn't even fat. I definitely wasn't a size 0 like a lot of my friends were, but I didn't look unhealthy. I look at those pictures now and wonder why in the world, did I feel like such an ogre next to my friends, when clearly, I wasn't? That alone makes me realize how much time I wasted hating myself and my body, for no reason.

Unfortunately, the older I got, the more weight I gained. I guess in that way I became a self-fulfilling prophecy and I just kept gaining. I would diet for a while and then get tired of it and go right back to what I was doing before, and I would gain it all back and then some. It was absolutely exhausting hating myself. It was exhausting measuring every single thing I did and said against what I looked like. It was exhausting being hyper-aware of what I looked like at all times, even when no one else was around. It was exhausting feeling unworthy of every good thing that happened to me, just because of what I thought I looked like on the outside. It was exhausting trying to blend in to my surroundings so that no one had the opportunity to point out my flaws, that I wass already very aware of. My life was exhausting. Mentally and physically.

I wish I could say I knew the exact moment when I decided I had to change, but I don't. I think it's been an accumulation of many different things, over many years two of the biggest being my health and my faith. Now hear me out. This isn't going to get preachy, but I can't tell my weight loss story (or the beginning of it anyway) without talking about my faith.

Anyone who has attended church since childhood has heard about God's amazing love for each of his children. It's something you hear so often that it just becomes a thing you know, but don't necessarily understand. At River Pointe Church I belong to a women's group and often our lessons and talks revolve around the great things that God wants for us. And at some point, thanks to discussions with my girls, I came to the realization that I want to love myself the way that God loves me. And what would that look like if I did?

I realized I didn't know, because I've never loved myself. Because I've never been good enough in my own eyes. God tells us that he loves us as we are, and He wants only the best for us! In order to love myself, I would have to start treating myself right and giving myself the best possible chance. And for me, that meant first and foremost, losing weight. And not to look better, but to FEEL better about myself. To have more energy to get off the couch and go work out. To stop drinking so much on Friday nights and not waking up until 11:00am on Saturday, just to lay around the rest of the day watching tv and feeling guilty about it.

So despite the cost to my bank account, I started Jenny Craig. I did it briefly once in college, but gave up after hitting my first plateau. So I knew it worked for me, I just knew I would have to stick it out longer than I did the first time. I knew that I needed to lose weight as quickly as possible to begin with, and get my journey started, so that I could see results and gain enough momentum and energy to start working in exercise. And that's exactly what I've done. I think for the first time I'm realizing that it's a lifestyle change that I have to make, not just a diet change. It didn't matter how many times I heard that over the years, it's just now almost syncing in.

Posting this for everyone to read is absolutely terrifying. In the past I have prided myself in keeping this weakness a secret. It's one thing for people to see me and know I'm fat, but it's a completely different thing for people to know how much I hated myself and pity me for it. It's easier to act like nothing is wrong than to admit there's a problem. But I've come to realize that being vulnerable is not a bad thing. And it's when you're the most vulnerable that God can begin to change you for the better.

I also have a small (or maybe big) nagging fear in the back of my head that this isn't "it." That this will be just another failed attempt to get healthy and that everyone is just waiting for me to metaphorically fall on my face and gain all the weight back, in which case this post will only serve as evidence in the future of yet another failure. But that's when I remind myself that I have to stop thinking that way and that isn't coming from God. I have to stop waiting for myself to screw up.

In the last 3.5 months I have lost 30lbs and have gone down at least 3 pants sizes. I have more energy, and I feel better, about everything. It's amazing how feeling better about yourself, makes you feel more positively about every aspect of your life. Or at least that's the case for me. These days I don't feel guilty when I spend an evening watching tv because I've already been to the gym that day and worked my butt off. I don't feel bad about eating a cheat meal or two during the week, because I know I can handle it and it won't send over the edge. I'm learning self-control and discipline and most importantly, I'm learning how to treat myself which is translating into loving myself. I'm nowhere near where I need to be, but I am so much further than I have ever been before. And at the end of the day, that's what counts. I'm taking one step at a time and I am changing my own life for the better, because I deserve it.



My most recent comparison. Picture on the right is from today, 30lbs down.


I was 23lbs down in this March picture.



1 comment:

  1. Hi Kirsten,
    Not only are you amazing for writing this and sharing it, you're courageous! I admire that you are learning to love yourself with the same love God has for you. This is one of the hardest things an adult will do in their life. I have been trying and succeeding with self love over the last ten years. Sometimes it is remarkably hard. Other times it's easier to remind myself to be kind to me. You are so successful in so many lovely ways that I am positively elated for your remarkable self and know that you will be just as successful in your journey for a new physical self. Much love and adoration, Mary Cotton

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