Self Love. What a strange concept. It should be second nature by now to love the very thing that is the only constant in our lives. But it isn’t constant. And that’s an issue.
All throughout high school, I was obsessed with being some different, someone better. I had grown up a chubby kid with lots of spunk and attitude. At around middle school, I, like many other boys and girls, started realizing the way I looked was not the way everyone else wanted me to look. I was an actress by nature and my dream to grace the oscars red carpet in a custom Alexander McQueen gown would never become a reality with my current weight. I was bombarded with images and media showing me that if I wanted to be on their covers I needed to look a certain way. By high school, this had manifested in an obsessive need to lose weight.
I would weigh myself every single day if not multiple times a day. With every bite I took, all I could ever think was where would this manifest on my body. Although all I could ever think about was my weight, I actually did very little to change it. I began rowing crew competitively and fell in love with the sport and my team. Six days a week practicing towards a definable goal changed my life. I ate healthier to make my muscles grow to make me better at my sport. The weight began to shed pretty effortlessly, now whether this was real weight rather than just baby fat is debatable. Either way, I started to look more confident and healthy. On the inside, however, the internalized self-hatred was still as strong as ever. I lamented how I looked while being oblivious to my own changes. Yes I was losing weight and smaller than ever, but I still felt fat and unwanted.
By graduation, I was at my lowest weight of 150 lbs (I’m 5’9 by the way). I was so excited to start college and new life hundreds of miles away from who I was. And college was great. Even without rowing in my life, I was able to keep my weight down and refrain from getting the dreaded freshman 15. But as classes got harder and my schedule got crazy, my eating and drinking habits got worse. I was at times an emotional wreck, as are most college students. Throughout all of this I gained more weight than I can fathom. Worse of all, I stopped working out. Sports were once my lifeline to success and happiness and now I had completely lost that part of me. If I worked out three times a month that was a good month. Going into my senior year, I knew something had to change. I was going out into the world soon and I didn’t want to be this person I no longer recognized.
The first step in all of this was joining Orangetheory Fitness. It was a gym like no other I had attended before. It was high intensity interval training in a competitive team atmosphere. I quickly became obsessed going 5 or 6 times a week. Through this gym and new gym family, I began to feel something like myself again. I began to regain my muscle and blisters that I used to be so proud of that showed just how hard I worked. Throughout the second half of my senior year, I really took the chance not just to change my body, but also my mind. I began to cultivate this strange concept of “self-love” and try and be happy with who I am.
Now it’s almost a year later and I finally feel ready to change my eating habits to match my workout routine. Although one of the reasons I am doing this is to lose weight that is not the final goal. I’ve learned that no matter my weight I’m going to have problems. Being skinny and pretty won’t solve anything. Even when I was at my smallest I look back and realize how unhappy I was. Weight doesn’t change that. I am significantly heavier today, but have so much more happiness and respect for myself than back then. This blog is to chronicle a mother and daughter’s journey to health and happiness. It is to inspire others to find their own self love. I can want to change my own body while still having respect for everything it’s accomplished. This is going to be an amazing journey and I hope you follow both of us along.