It has been a long time since I have felt good in my skin ... I mean truly good in my skin. I have always wanted to have a good body image but never really had it, even at my lightest weight. I had moments of feeling good, but they were few and far between. I have always admired women who are curvy and are able to flaunt what they have with total confidence. Women who were the same size as me or bigger, and felt like a million bucks. I have known that I need to learn to love my body NOW or I will never be able to love my body, no matter the size.
I am still on that journey, but I think that I am closer than I have ever been before and it feels amazing! Looking back at the cruise, I can honestly say that 95% of the time, I had good body image. Was I at my goal weight? No. Do I still have cellulite? Yes. Did that matter? Heck no!
In the past I have dreaded wearing a bathing suit in front of everyone, waiting until the right moment to shred my clothes. I'd hate it if there were cute thin girls around because that would make me feel even fatter. There was none of that for me this trip ... I enjoyed the snorkeling we did without worrying about what I looked like or being self conscious.
I am just realizing how much time I have spent in the past measuring myself against other women. Now, this is not something I ever did outwardly, it was always more of an inner dialog. You know all those thoughts that come in and are so damaging?
I have been receiving a lot of compliments this last week from my dear friends and last night I was wondering, what is really so different? Yes there are some outward changes I have made (new cut/color, contacts, tan skin) and I have lost weight these last few months, but why NOW would so many people be making comments? I think it totally has to do with how I am feeling about myself. I am noticing more and more, that instead of having those degrading thoughts ("Ugh my thighs are so big" "Why did I eat that THIRD helping?" "Why are you SO lazy?", etc.) I am having more positive thoughts, ("Wow, I can see muscle in my leg!" "You look nice in that dress" "You DID it!").
How can I keep this and improve upon it as I move forward? Here are some ideas:
- Listen for the negative thoughts and turn them away. These are the thoughts that pop in with no warning. I can't control them popping in, but I can control if I listen to them and how long I let them stay.
- Acknowledge myself for the changes/improvements I am making. In other words, create positive thoughts. This could be from any number of measures from weight, to a new record time on a bike ride, to being able to complete a strength measure (pushups, pullups, etc.), to finding news ways to eat and enjoy the healthy foods and on and on. Right now as the weight is dropping, that is a very big motivational tool, but I know eventually it will slow down and one day I'll be maintaining, so I want to learn now to find the progress in other areas as well.
- Take care of myself. There is such a balance when you are a mom, a wife and all the other titles we wear in life. But I truly understand the importance of taking care of ourselves. I haven't always done it, but there are so many small things even that I can do, I just need to take the time to do it.
- Present myself. It really doesn't take that much longer to put on a little makeup or put a little thought into what I am wearing, but it makes a huge difference in how I feel. So, why not take an extra 20 minutes before I leave, so that I can feel confident in how I look.