It’s a horrible and frustrating feeling when your body betrays you. My self-esteem was the lowest it had ever been. I no longer thought I looked even remotely attractive. My face and body was just so bloated. I cringed anytime I saw my reflection or shadow. I felt no control over my body.
I let the pity party last too long. I felt defeated. What’s the point of even trying to lose the weight? Who would even care?
The ME I know would never allow those thoughts to keep ruminating like that. It was tough, but once I reached that level of despair and defeat, I had to start building myself back up again. I needed a plan. More importantly, I needed a focus.
Once again, I made a list. I wrote why I wanted to lose the weight and the ways I wanted my relationship with food and myself to change. I will share my top three motivations that helped me start this long and daunting process.
I’m WORTH it…
The one thing cancer could not change was my essence. I like to say “my essence” instead of “my core.” Though I have battled depression and anxiety since I was a teen, I knew my essence was positive, light and loving. During my breast cancer battle, the light dimmed and it was difficult to find it again. I knew it was still there but overshadowed with doubt, low self-esteem and anger.
Why did I want to lose the weight? All my reasons were wrong. I initially wanted to lose weight so I could start dating again and buy pretty clothes; so shallow, right? When I saw those reasons written down, I knew I was setting myself up for failure.
Here was my inner monologue:
How dare you want to lose weight for others?
How dare you base your self-worth on the opinion of others, especially men you don’t even know?
How dare you fall back on people saying, “If a man truly loves you, he will love you at your worst and not care about your weight.”
How dare you have so much self-hate and not see your beauty within?
How dare you stop caring about your eating choices?
How dare you stop respecting yourself?
How dare you think you’re not worth learning how to cook just because you’re single?
That’s when I kicked myself into a different warrior mode and changed how I spoke to myself and how I viewed myself.
My NEW narrative…
That’s when I stopped saying I wanted to lose weight and changed my narrative to wanting to be healthy. Instead of stating shallow reasons, I got to the meat of what I really wanted to accomplish. I knew I had to start slow and figure out how.
My goal the past year was to date food and myself. I made one of the goals to be able to cross my legs comfortably again. It sounds so small yet it was a huge thought. That’s what got me going. I also stopped telling myself that it’s pointless to cook meals as a single woman.
So, I bought a fabulous set of pots and pans in a gorgeous dark red. I got a set of knives as a gift from my mother and some other cooking utensils. I started signing up for email recipes and buying spices. I had to think outside-the-box and make it fun cooking for myself.
Before I knew it, I was naturally thinking of new things to cook that were 30 minutes or less. I really enjoy making Buddha bowls, fish, chicken and shrimp! I still have my pizza night almost every Friday. I started incorporating more fruit, water and protein into my lifestyle.
Yes, I still eat something sweet at times. Like I mentioned in the previous post, I like to crunch on things. Instead of buying a bag of peanut M&M’s, I will get an individual bag of it or snickers to curb that craving. Sometimes, it’s not even like I want it but can’t get the thought out of my mind; so, everything in moderation.
I started caring about my appearance again. Though it was tough to look in the mirror, I picked two things on my face that I really do love. I love my eyes and eyelashes. So, I rarely left home without my eye makeup on. I would focus on them instead of how full my face was. I purposely took selfies every day and didn’t use the filter to make my face look smaller. I knew one day I would finally see the change.
I also looked at a dress in my closet that became my “goal dress” to fit into. I wore it at the Best Strokes fundraising event last Sunday. I had worn it once a year ago and felt so uncomfortable and tight in it. I felt dynamite when I wore it last weekend. I also realized a few days before that I could cross my legs comfortably again.
I notice my face is looking thinner even without taking the picture at an angle.
I have been celebrating these huge, personal victories. I no longer turn to food for comfort or reward myself with it. Instead, I buy a movie, a book, a lipstick or new eye shadow.
You absolutely can change your narrative and embrace your worth on many levels. My story will continue with Part III: Dating Food, Myself and New Goals.
Until next time,