Honestly, I strongly dislike the phrase “health journey”. It feels very…crunchy, or idealistic, or something else strange that doesn’t feel very genuine when I say it, but I’m just truly not sure how else to describe it. I want to describe it as the phase where I got tired of making excuses (and I have made them all). The National Institute of Health had my post 3 babies weight at almost 40 lbs above the TOP of “healthy” weight for my height…and just a couple lbs into the obese category. I kept an extra 10 lbs from baby #2 and baby #3, and clearly started above that healthy range as well.
The truth is, I am not rolling in confidence in any area of “looks” in my life…but I was raised by a mother who completely ROCKED in the helping us have a good self image arena…or more so, it just was not ever EVER addressed. I worry that I am doing this a little wrong with my own daughter because we both have a love of clothes and shoes and accessories, and I do freely tell her how beautiful she is (in addition to how kind and smart and helpful and and and…). My mama just never honestly addressed any of it– so I grew up honestly just thinking it didn’t matter very much. And while I was always interested in all the beauty things, it was never the focus of my time or my concern. And weight falls into that too. I am so THANKFUL for that because I see so many women I love who really struggle in many areas of their life because of how they feel about their bodies, and I know those feelings have deep roots. I think this was one of my mother’s greatest gifts to me.
So while I never looked in the mirror and felt particularly great…I also don’t loathe everything that I see…I am just sort of impartial. I love hair, makeup, and fashion as a way to feel better about what I see, and I just feel ok about it all! But I have never been super thrilled with the way clothes fit me, or with the diagnosis of the number on the scale, that I am either over weight or just in that obese category. I am naturally curvy, have been for as long as I remember (I don’t EVER remember being smaller than a size 8!), and I think that disguises the numbers a little…but for a long time, I have needed to take control of my health.
I want to be able to run and keep up with my kids and not feel tired quickly. I want to be less sore at the end of long wedding days. I want to be able to do fun runs and races with my kids and friends because I actually can do them. I want to be healthy for a long, long time. I want my kids to learn to choose healthy foods even when they have a choice (and to learn when and how to indulge because we Gums LOVE food!). And a nice side bonus of the weight loss is certainly appreciated, because I want to be healthy and strong for my kids (I do believe the strength comes from working out, which isn’t a part of what I am doing YET).
I’m going to share more about my history with “dieting” and all about what I am doing now in the next post, but I want to share the catalyst that finally got me moving now here. 2 experiences happened in the last 8 months that made me finally realize it was time to stop with those excuses. You see, my MAIN excuse was always that those people who WERE healthy according to the charts, and who were skinny were just BORN like that (unlike me). They were just built skinny…and that was not my lot in life. And that was it. But the first experience was at a wedding I photographed in the last 8 months, where I heard a group of beautiful, healthy (and yes, thin) bridesmaids discussing what they ate. And what I heard was things like “I haven’t had pizza in months!” and “Salad for lunch every day”. I remember getting in the car with Michael and telling him all about it, mind blown. Because I HONESTLY, even at age 33, believed that strong, healthy people all ate whatever they wanted and were just healthy by luck of the draw. Hearing these ladies talk about it started to change the way I felt about it, and the work that it seems many people have to put in to be healthy.
And then the second, the day it really changed for me. I was getting lunch with my 3 closest mom friends and all of our kids (which is a regular event for us) at McDonalds. When we got to the tables to sit, I looked around at the table of moms (our kids are old enough now that with the exception of E3, they all sit at a separate table together), and saw 3 beautiful, healthy, strong women all eating salads. And I had my double cheeseburger and small fry (which I have ALWAYS told myself was fine because it wasn’t 2 buns, or something with sauce, or large fries). We have eaten together a lot of times and often 1 or another would have a salad, but it was all 3, and then me, eating just like my kids, as usual. Now I am NOT one who will ever believe in or promote never eating food that makes you happy or that you really want or that sounds great to you. But I saw that I was choosing food that fit those 3 things, and my friends were choosing salads, and realized that maybe as an adult, if you want to be healthy, maybe you have to make it the HABIT instead of the rare occurrence to eat well (and make the double cheeseburger and fries the rare occurrence). It was a total mindshift for me, and I felt embarrassed about what was in front of me and how I looked in comparison to my 3 size 8 and smaller friends with salads.
It isn’t about a size or a number for me, it truly isn’t. And it will never be about “skinny”. But when my 3 friends can sign themselves and their kids up for an inflatable toy 5K race and I know I just can’t keep up so my kids don’t get to experience it? And then I see what they are doing to help make that happen for them vs me?
It was time. So I started to do something about it, and I’m excited to share what that was next time!
Read Part II of this mini-series on my health HERE! This is where I share exactly what I have been doing!
Read Part III of this mini-series on my health HERE! I shared my big takeaways here as this journey began!