A friend of mine recently sent me an email about something we can all understand. She was having a rough go of things. I didn’t ask too many questions. I don’t need to know the details of someone’s life to understand what it means to feel lost, afraid and struggling just to keep on moving forward.
The quote on this picture is how I responded.
It didn’t hit me until yesterday how much I needed to hear those very words at the exact moment I was typing them to her. My life is no longer about how many calories I burn or what my next weigh in is going to look like. My life is no longer centered around writing down everything I put in my mouth or accidentally walking into Lane Bryant for the umpteenth time because I once again forgot that I no longer fit into the plus size clothing. It’s no longer about finding a new muscle, adding heavier weights to my lifting or proudly proclaiming for the very first time (and rather loudly I might add) I was considered “overweight” rather than obese (and morbidly obese before that).
In the beginning of my Life Changing Journey I used to daydream what it would be like to shed the weight. I daydreamed that my life would be so much easier 110 pounds lighter. I daydreamed what it would be like to walk into any store and without having someone mock me for being in the “smaller” sized section. I daydreamed what it would be like to not struggle with my weight and be someone who could years down the line show someone an old picture of me and have them say “who is that?”
Those daydreams are a reality for me. But even in that reality the struggle to move forward is a constant reminder that this life of change is never-ending. I thought I would love the person in the mirror when she moved out of the morbidly obese and into the healthy weight. I thought I would love the person in the mirror when she moved out of the size 24 into the size 8. I thought I would love the person in the mirror when she went from 10 minutes on the elliptical the first time to becoming marathoner and a triathlete.
Truth is I struggle as much today to love my body, my heart and my soul as I did when I first began making the necessary changes to lose weight and take control of my life. I struggle with the idea that I’m a good person. That I have self-worth. That I deserve to be loved as much as the next person. I struggle to love my body and see it the way others see it. I wake up in the morning and check myself in the mirror to make sure that the weight is still gone. I look at my body and instead of seeing what’s not there anymore I only see what the “not there” has left behind: Saggy skin.
In the constant struggle I fight. I fight to move forward. I fight to believe in myself. I fight to see me the way others see me. I fight to accept compliments and heartfelt thank you’s. I fight to believe that I am someone important. I fight to believe that when someone tells me they love me, miss me or want to hang with me that they are being truthful.
“Struggling is what makes us survivors”
My struggles (frustrations fears sadness) are not yours but we are the same. Everyday that we open our eyes and make decisions to be better people, to change our lives, to push away food made by companies that don’t care about us, to spend an extra few minutes breaking a sweat, to take the elevator instead of the stairs, to drink water instead of soda, to looking in the mirror and finding even the smallest thing to love on our bodies is a day that we continue to fight.
“Without struggle there would be no reason to fight”
Yes life would be easier if we could just wish away the fat, the excess skin, the addictions, the negative thoughts. Life would be easier if we could just snap our fingers and be the person we so long to be. There is a reason we have an obesity epidemic and not a “everyone is a healthy weight” epidemic. There is a reason the world is heavily medicated with heart medicines, blood pressure medicines, anti depressant medicine and <insert whatever other disease you can think of here> medicines. Most people want to just pop a pill and go on with their lives. Most people want food to come in a small paper bag with large bobble head faces or ginormous red lips plastered all over it. They want to be encouraged to “think outside the bun” instead of thinking what to cook inside the kitchen. Most people want words like “chik’in”, “filet-o-fish” and “super size” on their menus or have meal options ordered by numbers instead of trying to eat the right about of proteins, carbs and healthy fats. Most people want to turn something on for entertainment and grow into a chair rather than get out of that chair and grow out of those XXL clothes.
Yes I struggle. Yes you struggle. We cry. We wonder if it’s all worth it. We hang our heads and take a deep breath as we painstakingly move (even if its just the smallest step) forward. We make choices that cause us to pump our fists in the air and pat ourselves on the back and in the blink of an eye we make another choice that causes us to lock ourselves in the bathroom and emotionally (and in some cases physically) beat ourselves up until our hearts are bruised with shame and we are so sure that we will never win this fight.
I may never “win this fight” but I have already won.
I win because I dig in deeper on days that I’m struggling. I win because on days when I feel like I can’t do anything right and I am the last person that deserves to succeed I let those emotions wash over me knowing that this is just how I feel at the moment and not how I feel in a lifetime of moments. I win because I have friends that look to me for inspiration and advice and truth be told if I wasn’t succeeding, friends would not be asking how do they start a life changing journey. I win because in times that I can’t look in the mirror and find one good thing about me I have someone in my life that is a reflection of the love that I deserve. I win because on those days that find me crying more than laughing, afraid more than confident, emotionally weak more than stable I am still living, still pushing through and more importantly (and most importantly) fighting for me.
Don’t be ashamed of your struggles and of your fears. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re tired and frustrated. We all are at some point. Don’t be saddened by the notion of having to be present in the life you lead today instead of just ignoring everything around you like the masses.
Thankful for the struggle.
Thankful for the fight.
Thankful that today you survive.
(and that today you live)