A note before we begin:
This post is about ME and MY feelings about myself, my body and my self-esteem. It is here to help anyone who might feel this way about themselves. Please, I ask you to be kind as you read my story.
“When do you feel the most beautiful?”
I asked myself this question as I stared into the mirror after washing my face on Sunday morning.
I had no answer.
Kyle often tells me I’m the most beautiful woman in the world. He tells me I have a great ass and beautiful eyes and I don’t even care if that was TMI.
My friends, who REALLY ARE the most beautiful women in the world, tell me I have the ability to light up a room. They tell me I have great hair, a great smile and great style.
Yet, as I stood there looking in the mirror, face freshly washed and hair thrown up in a top knot, I couldn’t recall a single moment when I felt beautiful. Staring back at me where numerous imperfections and about 10 pounds that I’ve decided shouldn’t be there.
I have always based beauty on the size of my pants.
Size 4? Beautiful.
Size 11? Ugly and never leaving the house again.
At 5’2” it’s really hard not to hide weight gain of any kind: 2 pounds can look like 5, 5 pounds can look like 10. I often joke that my metabolism is so slow that I’m still burning off last Thanksgiving’s mashed potatoes but sometimes it really does feel that way, especially when I’m bloated. And trust me; Its always been about my weight.
I should probably start at the beginning, for continuity sake.
I was always athletic. Not skinny, not fat, but athletic.
I was a tomboy growing up: in 4th grade my mom forced me to wear a dress to school (I didn’t want to) so I hid bike shorts in my backpack so I didn’t miss a second of playing kickball with the boys at recess. I was a basketball player, and a beach bum who loved boogie boarding and swimming. In high school, my athletic prowess (or lack thereof) was sidelined (pun intended) by a career-ending knee injury. What was not sidelined? My love of ice cream, pizza and hamburgers. I quickly gained 50 pounds and I fell into a horrible cycle of self-loathing and comfort eating. Pizza soothed the ugliness. Hamburgers fixed low self-esteem. Ice cream basically fixed everything. I still ate like a 2,000 calorie burning athlete….I could not exercise like one….and my weight kept going up. And all the while I kept calling myself names: “fat”, “ugly”, “unworthy”, “gross”. At my heaviest I was 165, and, coincidentally, that’s also when I was at my lowest emotionally.
I took my first diet pill in college. It worked for a guy I knew who lost 50 pounds using Hydroxycut and swore it was a miracle worker. I stashed pills in my dresser drawers; I hid them in the depths of my purse and popped them whenever I felt bad about myself, hoping for a quick fix. I tried them all: yellow pills, red pills, white pills, blue pills, hoping one would end up being the “miracle pill” that transformed me into the beautiful woman I desperately wanted to be.
“Suffer for beauty” I told myself. (aka suffer until you’re skinny).
One day I took too many diet pills and ended up in the bathroom with shakes that would not end and a heart that was close to beating out of my chest. I couldn’t catch my breath, couldn’t get my heart to stop racing and I was terrified.
I wish I could say that after this scary episode I dramatically changed my life after that and I’m now a super model with a body that rivals Gigi Hadid's (just learned who she was the other day, thanks younger co-workers!). Yes I started working out, yes I started being more mindful of what I ate, lost 40 pounds and got down to a size 4 in the process but alas I still find myself haunted by the feeling that I’m not beautiful.
Every day I’m working to find out what beauty means to me. So far, I’ve learned that I can’t find it at the bottom of a bottle of diet pills or in the crust of my favorite pizza. Beauty isn’t a size 11 or a size 4: it comes from accepting yourself exactly as you are, no matter what you wear or how much you weigh. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it, and well, apparently it doesn’t happen overnight….which is rude.
I’m not sure WHEN I feel the most beautiful, but I do know that somewhere, deep down I am beautiful. And you are too, even if you don't think you are.
Sidenote: If you are like me and are looking for help with breaking up with diet pills, feeling beautiful and finding out how to start working on a better relationship with yourself, you can join me in the new program Finally Free Mastery. The program was created by my friends Sim and Paige and includes the following benefits:
- 12 video sessions to help you break up with dieting and find new ways to connect with your body.
- Worksheets, goal setting and notes for each session.
- 12 LIVE coaching calls with Sim and Paige that focus on the week's video session.
- Access to the Finally Free Mastery Facebook group, where you will be able to connect with other women on their journey to find the best body and healthiest weight.