Many of you know that I have struggled with my self image for most of my life. It’s something that I’ve opened up about here on the blog over the past few years. Today is another one of those days where I’m going to share some of those thoughts with you.
On January 1st, like many of you, I sat down to think about my New Year’s intentions and resolutions. For years I’ve been looking for the thing that “works” for me. The magical way of eating or working out that will make me lose weight and hit a number on the scale that I can be proud of. In reality, there probably isn’t a number that I could reach (and maintain) that would change the way I feel about myself.
As someone who has suffered with an eating disorder, the scale and I have a very nasty relationship. Since I was 10 years old I’ve been fighting with that horrible voice in my head that tells me that the number on the scale in some sick way equates with my self worth. I could be having the best day ever and then step on the scale, see a number that is higher than what I expected and I feel like the whole world is crashing down around me. A “bad number” makes my mood plummet and it can often take days for me to be able to dig my way out from those feelings of self loathing.
Setting SMART goals and resolutions
This voice, was there in my head screaming at me as I sat down to set my New Year’s Resolution. It was telling me that I would fail and that I’d never be good enough. I had recently heard a study that said that the majority of people who set New Year’s Resolutions have dropped their resolution by the end of January. I wanted to be the anomaly and prove the voice in my head wrong so I started reading articles on how to successfully set resolutions. Most of what I read suggested not trying to overhaul your whole life at once but rather to implement small, sustainable changes that then become long term habits.
In all this reading I also came across a Canadian study (yay Canada!!!) that found that just one 30-minute workout made women feel stronger, slimmer, and better about their body, with the effects lasting after the workout finishes.
That was something that I could relate to because I personally feel that way after I work out, but my problem has always been finding an exercise regime that will both work with my life AND keep me interested… I get bored easily.
I sat down to look at our family’s crazy, hectic schedule and asked myself realistically where can fitness fit into my life. I decided that realistically I wasn’t going to get up early before my husband left for work each morning to go work out (I like my sleep), I also didn’t see myself keeping up long term with going to the gym after dinner when everyone was all warm and snuggly cuddling on the couch. Working out during the day has also been a struggle for me because then I fall behind on work and end up skipping breakfast and lunch to make up for the time. By process of elimination, I found that the best time to work out for me is at the end of my work day, right after the kids got home from school.
Since my kids come home right after school, I needed a workout that I could do from home while they’re here with me. I also hoped to find a fitness regime that I could do in a relatively short period of time (I didn’t want to be able to have an excuse of “I don’t have enough time today.”) I also hoped for something that had a lot of variety so I wouldn’t get bored and that started out relatively easy and worked it’s way up in intensity so that I wouldn’t get intimidated and walk away from it.
Sounds like a tall order right?
Getting a bit of help from my friends
I turned to my tribe online and asked all of you what programs you have tried that you can do from home. There were a bunch of great suggestions. I visited a ton of websites and found one that seemed like it would work for me–Briana Christine’s Bikini Body Mommy program.
Before I get to far into Bikini Body Mommy info I want to let you know that in no way am I affiliated with Briana or Bikini Body Mommy, I’m just sharing something that I have found works for me.
Briana has 7 different 90 day challenges that are free to use. She also has a premium membership which includes weekly ab workouts, partner workouts, diastasis recti workouts, coaching sessions and more for $4.99 a month. Additionally she has monthly meal plans and a VIP membership that you can subscribe to for an additional fee.
I decided that since the Bikini Body Mommy 90 Day Challenges are free that there was no hurt in trying one out, so I started looking at each of the challenges to figure out which one I wanted to try. I decided on Challenge 5.0… want to know why? Briana looked the most like me in those videos! She created the challenge when she was 3 months postpartum with her fourth child. I figured it was a great place to start. And do you know what? It was!
The Bikini Body Mommy workouts are 20 minutes long, with 2 or 3 videos that you repeat for a total of 6 workouts a week. Yes, 6 workouts a week but they are only 20 minutes long so no excuses! I’m not going to lie, the workouts have KICKED MY BUTT!!! but I’m now on Week 6, Day 37 and I haven’t missed a single workout. Even when I was sick I made myself workout because it’s only 20 minutes and I told myself I’m not giving in to excuses anymore!
I never thought I’d say this but I actually have been looking forward to working out. That’s not to say that I don’t ever think “Oh god no… it’s cardio day and that means I’m going to have to do burpees and mountain climbers”, because I do say that, but I push through, do it and after I’m done I feel SO GOOD about myself. When I first started, 37 days ago, I couldn’t do a burpee and now… well I’m not great at them, but I can do them, which is amazing!
I’ve started feeling a rush after each workout, I can feel muscles starting to form and I feel a bit better when looking in the mirror.
But then… that voice came back tearing away at my self image!
At my 4 week “weigh in/measurement day” I had lost over 12 inches (I’m now up to 16 inches!!!) but when I stepped on the scale I hadn’t lost any weight. And once again that voice started going in my head. That voice told me that I wasn’t good enough, it asked me why I was even trying, it told me that I had been working hard for a month and all for nothing, that I’d always be fat. That voice ruined my day.
A few days passed, I decided to ignore that voice and keep at it, I didn’t miss a single day of the challenge and I started feeling good about myself again.
My epiphany moment
One afternoon after working out I went upstairs to take a shower. My husband was home and playing with the kids and I was able to take my time. As I got out of the shower and was drying off I took a long hard look at my body in the mirror– stretch marks, scars, mommy belly, big breasts, thick thighs, curvy hips…
I stared at my reflection in the mirror and suddenly heard a kinder voice in my head. It said to me “Who is it that you are feeling a need to be thin for?”
It’s not for my husband. Somehow I was blessed with a man who has always loved me just the way I am, no matter what my weight. It’s not my kids. As long as I’m happy, healthy and am here to love on them, play with them and take care of them, they are happy. They love resting their heads on my chest and call my boobies their “heavenly soft angel pillow”.
Really the only person who REALLY cares if I’m “thin” or not is me. I’ll confess I always have this nagging thought in the back of my head wondering what other family members, friends, acquaintances and even strangers think about my weight… but chances are, most of them probably like me for me, not my body and are probably more caught up with their own life things to be worried about if I’ve gained or dropped 5 pounds.
I stood in front of the mirror with all these thoughts rushing through my head and I suddenly said to myself “STOP! You have spent so many years, so many tears, so many unhappy moments consumed with my weight. Life is too short for all the negativity. I want to be done with it!”
I started thinking of all of the women who I think are beautiful. Women who I know in real life and women in the public eye. These women are all different shapes and sizes but to be honest a lot of them are curvy voluptuous women.
Finding positive role models
I put on my bathrobe, grabbed my phone and started looking up pictures of plus sized models. I subscribed to their instagram channels, I watched their instagram stories and delved deep into their photos and videos. I thought about how beautiful they are, how gorgeous their curves are and how it looks like they are enjoying their lives. They don’t appear to be starving themselves and saying “I will no longer eat carbs” or “I’ll never eat another donut or hamburger for the rest of my life”.
Their bodies may be more toned than mine, but if I continue working out 6 days a week, mine will get there too.
Taking it all in it finally REALLY hit me that:
Being healthy doesn’t mean being skinny
That the number on the scale isn’t a sign of my progress or self worth
That life is about living and ENJOYING and while I’m going to continue to try to eat healthy that I won’t be eliminating any food groups from my life in an effort to drop weight
That comparing yourself to others is silly and that there are so many types of beauty, including my own.
That I was going to surround myself with positive role models to continue reminding myself that being beautiful has nothing to do with fitting into size 4 skinny jeans or the number on the scale.
It’s been 2 weeks since my epiphany moment and I’m feeling healthier mentally than I’ve felt in a really long time. While I’m still excited to see my progress, I’m finding other ways to measure it than the number on the scale. I’ve even found that I’m able to weigh myself and not care what the number says which is something that I don’t remember ever feeling.
If you read this far, thank you. I can’t tell you how much it means to me knowing that I have my tribe. Since this is my monthly recap post, I’m going to share the books that I read last month along with some of the things I love below.
(The following links may contain affiliate links, that means that if you buy something I get a small percentage of the sale. )
The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens (read this in December but it was too good to miss sharing!)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (I can’t believe this was the first Margaret Atwood book I’ve read!)
Beauty Products I’m Loving-
Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder Tres Invisible Dry Shampoo with French Pink Clay– This is the BEST dry shampoo I’ve ever used. Every dry shampoo I’ve tried before this has left a colored residue on my hair whether it be white or brown powder (brown when I used dry shampoo for brunettes). While I didn’t mind the way the dry shampoo for brunettes looked on my hair, I hated it on my scalp. The “white” dry shampoo I liked better on my scalp but I was always worried that it looked like my hair was turning white if I didn’t rub it in good enough. This leaves no colored residue behind on my hair. It soaks up the oil, gives my hair refreshed fullness and is FABULOUS. My daughter hates the smell of it, but I don’t mind it at all. I just try to spray it when she isn’t in the room.
ORIGINS Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores– I used this mask on Instagram stories last week (you can follow me here) and loved the results. I’m a mask girl and have fun experimenting with different brands and formulas. This one is probably my favorite mask that I’ve ever used. I used a deluxe sample size that came with my Sephora Play box but I’ll be purchasing it in full size when I run out. It left my skin looking flawless and my face was so soft and moisturized the following day.
ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lip in color Wolfie– I’m a big fan of ColourPop Cosmetics. The pricing is amazing, they have a ton of fun colors and formulas and the quality is right up there with makeup that you find at Sephora. This lip gloss arrived for me right before Christmas and it’s one of my new favorite shades. It’s a rich rosy pink that has a metalic finish with a bit of gold in it. So pretty and fun for a night out!