Oh HELLO! Okay, I know, it’s been a minute. My blogging got pushed aside as I got busy with work and blah blah blah excuses…truthfully I really just wasn’t motivated to sit down and write (yes I was busy but if I was motivated to do it, I would have found the time). So, for my first post back in a long time, I have a treat for you – an extra long post! A long post that gets deep and is very very personal. Something that will give you a better understanding of myself and something I’ve been wanting to share for some time now.
A month ago I was invited to be a speaker at an event that was showing the film “Embrace,” which is a documentary about body image and self-love. I was to talk about my experience in this journey of discovering self-love… well as per usual I was disappointed in myself because I had a lot to say but I didn’t get through much. I was prepared but I ended up crying through most of it. Why did I cry? Because I haven’t really admitted my struggle out loud. I’ve finally decided to share everything I had planned to speak about because I feel like I’ve had some unfinished business since this event.
Deep breath. Hear we go…
Written March 28th/2018:
The feeling of never being or doing good enough. That is the story of my life. I’m going to talk to you tonight not about what I do for a living, my credentials etc. I’m sure you already know, or we can talk about it over coffee if you’d like – but tonight I’m going to talk to you about a personal journey that include experiences of struggles and successes and what brings me close to reality of really appreciating myself and recognizing that I AM already enough, I’m more than enough. I hope my story, my conquest, and what I do for myself, gives you ideas to help you in your own self-love journey and know that no matter how alone you feel, You are not alone.
First off I’m going to introduce you to a young girl with a creative mind and imagination, dreams of being a popstar, somewhat shy, and quieter than the rest of her family. That’s me – I grew up in a small village where you didn’t choose your friends or activities – and you felt you needed to fit in with this very small community – which I did not.
I then grew into an adolescent/teenage girl – slightly more outgoing and comfortable with the friends I grew up with, still had big dreams, still a creative mind who played piano, sang, took part in drama, but also spent a lot of time in front of the mirror cutting myself down for being too chubby or fat. I remember in grade 5, the day they lined us up to weigh us…. I was mortified because at that point I had already been made fun of because of my weight. I call this the start of my era of mediocracy and doubt – I had some talents and hobbies but never really succeeded in one. In softball, I was too slow… piano, I really disliked practicing… I really struggled with putting myself out there because of how I felt about myself – fat, ugly, I had bad acne, weak, 100 % not cool enough.
I learned to stand up for myself to others but I couldn’t seem to face the person who held me back the most… Me. After highschool I joined the winter cast of Saskatchewan Express as a singer. I was good but as per usual I wasn’t the best, and felt I stood out as the chubby one. I hit my heaviest weight that year.
Now I’m going to introduce you to a completely different person, well actually it’s still me – it’s young adult me, now attending university, in a serious relationship and physically not recognizable…
Lowest wt. 95 lbs. Maintained wt 103-107lbs; Ht. 5’7″
This was the era where I learned that if I work really hard at something, if I’m persistent, and if I really want it, I’ll succeed. I learnt how to exercise and did really well in university. However, there was a lot of struggle during this time as well. I lost a lot of weight, I exercised a lot, skipped meals, rationed my portions, very rarely ate out, and continued to shrink to a point where I knew people were saying things but never to my face…. With exception of my partner at the time calling me a skeleton – I vividly remember a point that hit me before I started losing a lot of weight – my bf had accidently slipped on a pair of my jeans and then went on to make fun of me for that fact that he could fit into them…. So I went from too chubby to too skinny.
This was a period of going through motions, or a time when you’re just coasting through. I continued to lose weight and maintain a very low weight. One of the scariest things to think back on – a moment that I remember – weighing myself in my parents bathroom and seeing 95 lbs...the scary thing about it is I remember smiling/smirking because I was pleased with this outcome.
My mind was always on food – about when the next allotted time came up that I could eat. I had anxiety with being faced with the possibility that I might have to eat something that I thought would make me gain weight. In this period I got married, finished my degree and internship, maintained a low weight while still thinking I was too fat (the trick word that I used was“bloated.”). I suffered from depression and anxiety in which I was taking prescription for, which further declined my appetite and gave me terrible tremors interfering with my ability to paint. I was very skinny but I never felt skinny enough. I was never good enough even though I excelled at school and landed a great job after I convocated. I just wasn’t happy. I began to drink more – often skipping food to offset the extra calories from booze. I got divorced and moved away from home to Vancouver, which were both really good things for me.
I can’t really tell you what happened or how I got to a healthier body weight – I assume it wasn’t the healthy way to do it – extra booze and late night snacks…. Gaining weight is hard (well not literally- it is quite easy for a lot of us) – it is hard mentally. When I did get to a point where I wanted to work out more and focus on my health, I found, well still find it- difficult to lose extra fat and tone up because I really believe I messed up my metabolism from eating very little for many years. (mainted a weight between 103lbs to 107lbs for probably 6-7 years) …now when I put food in, my body is like “Damn we better store this before this bitch starves us again.”
So how did I get to where I am now? I started setting goals, taking risks, and focused more on what I CAN do versus what I can’t. I made connections with other extremely inspiring and positive individuals. I started opening up and talking about my concerns, I got myself into a relationship with someone who is honest with me, supports me and reminds me of my accomplishments…. I started doing things I was passionate about – making and taking pictures of food (and not feeling guilty about eating it), Motivating at Wheelhouse Cycle Club, providing nutrition talks and counseling..which all connected into the biggest thing that helps me love myself more… I started helping others – I’m driven by empowering others to be their best healthy and happy versions of themselves selves – it gives me purpose. Truth is, we do and will have bad days, but we need to have less of those, and sometimes you may questions yourself, I do. But I recognise it and try to figure out how I can change. I feel stronger, I’m optimistic, I think more rationally, I’m not afraid to take risks that opens up opportunities or helps me get/be better, when I smile – it’s real, I sleep very well, and I’m continually working towards fulfilling my full potential.
Here are some tips to self-love practice:
Nourish your body with whole minimally or unprocessed foods – include more plants! Avoid short term restrictive diets that develop negative relationships with food. Food can influence your mood, while mood definitely influences your intake.
Limit alcohol- I truthfully think I was on the road to becoming an alcoholic, having a drink or more daily as a crutch to cure my stress or sadness. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy an occasional drink but since I’ve cut down on my partying and crushing half bottles of wine by myself on weekdays…I feel and think so much more clear.
Exercise – on the bike I can be who I want to be. I feel confident and I feel strong. Find something you love. Currently – I motivate at Wheelhouse + attend other rides, lift weights at the gym, run (I do my thinking when I run), and yoga. I’ll also throw in the occasional barre and boxing classes.
Sleep – we need it mentally and physically.
Continue to Challenge yourself – get bored with easy.
Don’t get involved in gossip – wish the best for others. Negativity towards others just makes you feel gross inside. Smile and be kind! Smile at strangers – it may just help turn their bad day around.
If you are not happy where you are – change it. Whether that be relationships, work, where you live… only you can do something about it. It might initially really suck but you’ll get out of it so much happier. Do things that make you feel like you, follow your dreams, be passionate about something.
Be excited about yourself! You are on this Earth for a reason. If you don’t believe in you, how is anyone supposed to?
I told you it was long! A nice light read for your weekend 😉 I’d be lying if I said I am completely happy with where I am right now with how I look – some days are better than others – but I am very confident that I am on a better path and appreciate the strength that I have. Thank you for being part of my journey!