|My cousin and me (November 1999)|
When I was morbidly obese, I daily suffered with knowing that I had huge rolls everywhere and just looked plain dumpy. When you are pushing 340 pounds at age 19, it is hard to feel good about yourself. It was a struggle to get dressed; it was a struggle to go to class; everything was a struggle.
Of course, when you do lose weight, it is extremely hard not to always see the image of your old self. It seems like a vicious cycle, and it is. You have to find a way to free yourself from those thoughts, no matter how hard it may be.
Every single day of the week, I have to deal with thinking back to where I was and still seeing the image of my body at its highest weight (May 2000). I see extra skin, dimples and ripples in my legs, and stretchmarks every time I look in the mirror - the battle scars of having been obese and losing weight.
Over the past several months, I have tried to look in the mirror each day and think about something positive with my body. Now, I see those sections of extra skin, dimples and ripples, and stretchmarks as success. Over the past 11 years, I have managed to lose a whole, average-sized, healthy person in body weight. Along with shedding pounds, I have shed bad habits, destructive behaviors, and I am working daily to build more and more confidence in my body.
Is there more work to do? Yes, absolutely. There are more pounds to be lost, but I will not let those pounds keep me from focusing on the good things. I will continue to look at my body as a place of improvement, but also as a victory over the things of the past.
It is that victory over things of the past that makes me want to:
- find healthy recipes to cook;
- pack a delicious and healthy lunch;
- go run;
- workout with my personal trainer;
- compete in races even though I may be one of the slower people on the course;
- go in new stores to try on clothes (even if I have to don some shape wear);
- encourage other people on their journeys;
- smile at strangers that look like they are dealing with their own struggles;
- and have a better outlook on my life and body.