I know what it feels like to feel like you are not enough. Like maybe you aren’t good enough, not pretty enough, not fit enough, not smart enough. There was a point when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t even recognize who I was anymore. I got up each morning and did what was required of me, the absolute bare minimum to make it through the day. All the while I was battling a constant internal struggle.
When I was young growing up I always struggled with my weight. I had amazing friends, a supportive family, played sports, participated in school activities, but always felt like the “fat kid”. Finally in college I was like OK GIRL, I need to do something about this. I felt that I needed to take control of my life.
When I was halfway through undergrad I started to really dial in on my eating and workout regimen. I could tell that there was a big change happening in my body and I kept on going. I was feeling amazing. When I graduated college I moved in with a girl who suffered from anorexia and bulimia. I picked up some of her eating disorder habits and became obsessed with getting thin. Little did I know how harmful this would be for me throughout my life. At one point I was too thin, some of my friends and family came to me and asked I was working out too much, but I felt I was doing great. After awhile I knew that this was not realist. I was going to the gym sometimes for 2 hours a da and restricting my diet dramatically.
Eventually I learned how to become healthier and workout and eat in a more holistic way. For a few years I found a balance and was learning to workout for around 30 minutes a day vs. 2 hours. I was also doing it because I wanted to not because I felt obligated to. I also began to nourish my body with healthy whole foods and eat veggies and fruits and would not restrict myself. I was really feeling good. Then my life got a little crazy. I went through a divorce and enrolled in grad school while still working full time as a nurse. I found ways to shift my schedule “so I could do it all” (work at night and do clinic in the day… talk about turning my metabolism upside down), hardly slept (for nearly 3 years), and honestly totally but ME on the back burner. Through that time I gained weight and started having some of those tendencies like restricting or binging creep back into my life. Such a vicious cycle. Even though this was a rough season, I found “strength in the struggle” and learned so much about myself and that God does not give you anything that you cannot handle.
When I finally graduated and got a chance to catch my breath, this is when I realized that I really needed to focus on loving myself in every season of my life. This means that I am worthy of love no matter what I look like and coming to the realization that is true whether I am size 0 or a size 8. I am still the same person, I have still been crushing my goals and a freaking #bossbabe.
Even though I was really working on loving myself and digging into that journey, I was just not feeling my best- this is what made me take that step back and look at ways to start feeling my best all around. Getting back into my workouts that I loved, taking my dog for a walk, getting outside and enjoying hikes. Having more time for me, stopping with the excuses. Getting back to making whole healthy food meals to nourish my body to feel the best that it can be. Taking time to rest when my bod needed it, getting massages, getting facials, learning to card pull, spending more time on personal development, etc. Just really getting back to myself. This is where my real deep self-love journey started. Was it easy? No. Was it hard, emotional, a lot of self-realization and coming to terms with some hard things from the past? YES! But was it worth it to get back to me again?? HECK YES!!!
This is what drew me to the topic of self-love and self-development. I want to help women not only become physically strong, but mentally strong and strong in the sense that no matter what they may look like or what they may be going through or feeling, that they are worthy of love. To receive love fully, you have to first love yourself. I was getting love from my family, from my boyfriend, from my friends – but I was having so much negative self doubt! I had to put that shit away!! I want to help people understand that physical appearance only goes so far and does not necessarily make a person happy. Being beautiful is so much more than outward appearance, true beauty = a beautiful soul.
For me self-love means loving myself and giving myself grace not matter what size I am. It means taking the time to recognize that I have done really amazing things and that I am capable of big accomplishments. It also means listening to your body and treating it with respect, you only get one after all. It is also realizing that I can do anything I set my mind to. The hard things, the tough things. Nothing is too big of an accomplishment. I really have to just believe in myself and I can do it. I have done it an I am proud of what I have done in my short 29 years! When I have someone telling me that I can’t that is fuel pushing me harder. Never doubt yourself, because you are freaking magical and strong. If you are willing to love yourself and work hard, the world is your oyster!
This is so important! How can we learn to love ourselves no matter what our bodies look like?
Thank you so much for sharing your story. It sounds like you have grown leaps and bounds. I’m always working on self-improvement – not necessarily physically- but mentally, and am currently trying to live in the present.