I was a skinny little thing growing up. I hated being so tiny. Clothes didn’t fit. My arms were so skinny, and I didn’t want to wear sleeveless shirts. I was skinny through high school and college, and hated it. I could eat anything I wanted without gaining weight, and I didn’t realize what a gift that was!
When I went to graduate school, I headed to Seattle for an internship and had lots of free time. I spent a lot of time in the gym and while I actually lost weight, I looked much healthier. I was happy in my body for the first time – it lasted three whole years.
I’ve kept this picture of myself – on my student ID. It’s the only photo of me that I’ve actually liked.
When I got married, I bought my dress a year before the wedding, and put on weight before the date. My grandmother told everyone (at a graduation party we were all attending) that I was “contented” because I’d found a man, but the truth is, my metabolism started to change. I needed to have my size 2 wedding dress taken out to accommodate those whopping 5 pounds, and I felt fat. I wasn’t fat. Not at all.
After I had my kids, I lost a lot of weight. I was back in a size two but I wasn’t healthy, because I wasn’t eating. I started a fitness routine, and gained the weight back. Plus more. But I was healthy. And I hated the way I looked.
Here’s the thing. I look back at old pictures and realize how great I looked. When I was busy hating my body, I didn’t appreciate what I had. I wish I could go back and love myself at each stage.
I’m determined now, to appreciate my body and myself. I’m not a size 2, but I’m very healthy and feel great. I eat well and am exercising. I will stick to the right amount of calories for myself and will keep active. I won’t starve myself, and I’ll make sure I get lots of pictures of me with my children, even if I don’t love the way I look. Because in a few years, I’ll wish I did.