The SparkPeople Blog

A Letter to My Younger Self

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/20/2011 10:00 AM   :  171 comments   :  25,094 Views

Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL) wrote a letter to her younger self...

Dear young Beth,

I know you think you are ugly and a monster rather than a girl. Well, you aren’t. Dear girl, you have listened to others far too long. From the babysitter who calls you “Monster child,” to the kids at school, and even your own family, everyone else tells you who you are. Do they ever ask you who you are? They should observe rather than label based on your weight. They would see a girl that takes all of that and then some and is still standing.

You’ll come to realize someday that you aren’t ugly just because you are overweight. Weight and beauty have very little to do with each other. You’ll learn to appreciate the beauty you do possess when you stop listening to the negative messages of the thin obsessed world around you. So, young Beth, if you can get a handle on ignoring these messages and appreciating your body right now, you will feel amazingly beautiful.

You were never without will power. Do you realize how much will power it took you to get up and go to school every day knowing you were going to be teased into tears, come home from school and hear about your weight from your mother and then listen to your boyfriend make comments about your weight? Yet, the next day came and you did it all over again. You’re strong, use that strength to overcome.

Yes, I suppose you were a “Weirdo” to some, but I prefer calling you creative. You write poetry, parodies, blogs, paint, make people laugh, find easy ways around impossible situations, and do it very naturally. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, even if it does come with a bit of Dungeons and Dragons and Doctor Who thrown into the mix. Appreciate your ability to think out of the box, because someday it gets you out of some very bad situations.

Now with these tools, self esteem, strength, and creativity, you can make it through your fitness issues. Despite the fact that your mother stands in your way for joining any gym or fitness group, your creativity can lend to creating your own workouts at home. Work out when she isn’t home. Try wearing new clothes and even try some workout clothes, they will raise your self esteem. Your strength will carry you while you make changes. You’re a very intelligent straight A student. Take some nutrition classes at school or get some books at the library. Work at small changes in eating and exercise and build from there. Count on your Aunt Jo for support. She is a gym teacher who can teach you much about physical education and eating in a non threatening environment.

We've lost 145 pounds, you and I. Here's how. Start now!

  • Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water.
  • Eat moderate amounts of lean protein with each meal.
  • Eat high fiber and whole grain foods.
  • Eat close to nature. Processed food is full of junk and won’t fill you up the same way real food does.
  • Take baby steps, getting one change down at a time. Go for progress not perfection.
  • Tune out the haters.
  • Something is always better than nothing, so always do some exercise.
  • Always order small.
  • Eat from small plates.
I hope this helps you keep from getting where we got, 460 pounds. We made it down to 315 now, but it’s harder not being young and skin isn’t so elastic. Lose now and you will have less to lose and less sagging skin. You can do it! I believe in you!

Love,
The older but wiser Beth from 2011

What would you say to your younger self?


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Comments

  • 171
    Dear Beth (Indy~Girl),

    What you wrote touched me in a way that brought me to tears! I have struggled (suffered) with an Eating Disorder since I was 10. Food and lack of food were my way of stuffing and or coping with being unique. I have been as high as 300 pounds and as low as 100 pounds and at 5'10 it was painfully thin. You are a bright light, continue to shine and thank you for this post! Amazing!

    Best,Teresa - 12/8/2011   12:35:08 PM
  • CARLAWILLDOIT
    170
    Your story is truly inspiring. What a talent you have for sharing! - 12/7/2011   9:43:18 PM
  • SUNGIRL822
    169
    Lots of hard work Beth congrats. - 12/2/2011   3:17:04 PM
  • 168
    Outstanding blog -- thank you so much! - 6/25/2011   8:51:43 PM
  • SHANDIEGO
    167
    That was an amazing post. Thank you for sharing that with us. You're truly inspirational. - 6/24/2011   3:55:23 PM
  • 166
    Hi Beth Donovan (~INDY GIRL),

    I just read your blog, honey & it so made me cry, i really need your help luv, do u think that you can help me babe - 6/9/2011   11:19:29 AM
  • 165
    I think I may have to do some thinking about this. Beth you just made me cry. - 6/5/2011   12:07:34 AM
  • LORAC25
    164
    Wow - authentic post. You are an inspiration in oh so many ways. - 6/4/2011   1:37:40 PM
  • 163
    Overwhelmed with appreciation Beth! Thank you so much for sharing this very special blog with us. It is so true, you must not believe all the negative and find the positive in every situation. Congratulations on your 150 lb. loss! You are so inspiring. - 6/4/2011   1:29:21 PM
  • MENOLLYRJ
    162
    Such a message of hope! It made me think about the things I say to my own children and the impact even a small word angrily spoken can have on a tender soul. Thank you. - 5/31/2011   10:06:07 AM
  • 161
    what a wonderful letter - applies not only to weight issues, but life itself....great job! - 5/30/2011   1:50:48 PM
  • 160
    Thank you for your incredibly wonderful blog - it made me decide to do the same and write a letter to my younger self. You are an inspiration. - 5/30/2011   8:29:48 AM
  • 159
    Wow, truly an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your letter a lot of us have felt the same way and can benefit from writing to our younger sef as well. - 5/29/2011   4:25:58 PM
  • NANCYLYN3
    158
    Stop the World I want to get off - 5/27/2011   11:49:48 PM
  • 157
    we have to be aware all the time what we put into our mouth and stop neglecting ourselves and go forward with a goal! - 5/27/2011   4:02:22 PM
  • 156
    What a beautiful post! It was meaningful, helpful and so true! - 5/27/2011   2:23:59 PM
  • 155
    As a fellow "weirdo", as someone who knows how hard it was to get moving everyday to go to school and face hell only to come home and face it too... this move me to tears. Nothing more to say beyond - beautiful. Thanks for sharing. - 5/27/2011   1:59:32 PM
  • SNOWYGIRL13
    154
    This is truly inspirational. What resonated with me was ..."find easy ways around impossible situations, and do it very naturally". And your sneak-around-Mom angle to exercise was exactly what I decided to do yesterday! (Not avoiding my Mom, but...) You rock! Please keep going! You deserve to be healthy and even happier. - 5/27/2011   8:53:06 AM
  • 153
    Wow, this is a powerful message. What I would have said to myself if I could have talked to a younger me still leaves me puzzled. Part of it would be we didn't have to hide behind the weight and be ugly to protect ourselves from the abusers. And we weren't as fat and as huge as we thought we were in high school. What I would give to be that weight today. I was large for the time, but it didn't define me like I thought it did. I was more than just fat; I was smart, creative, friendly, outgoing, confident and fun too. I've had friends tell me that since. All I could see was the weight. I was traumatized by it, while others saw a whole person. That's good!! Now I need to go back and forgive myself and let myself be those other things. Thank you for opening the door for me. - 5/26/2011   11:12:32 PM
  • 152
    Beth, you are such an inspiration. Everytime I read one of your blogs, I feel like I can conquer the world. I remember my father calling me fatty, and my sisters friends saying they would hang themselves if I were their sister. Needless to say, I grew up with such major self-esteem issues and weight problems.

    You and your blogs have helped me be happy with who I am. Yes, I have about 100 pounds to lose, but I no longer hide in the shadows. I am wearing skirts again and bright colors. You are such a beautiful lady, and you have helped me raise my self esteem many levels.

    Thank you for writing these wonderful blogs,
    Karen - 5/26/2011   9:31:00 PM
  • HELINSKI
    151
    Hello Beth, I have been reading many truly wonderful comments and blogs on Spark People but this is the first time I have left a comment. I simply could not log out until I did so. This was so truly inspirational. As a retired teacher, I could see students writing a letter to themselves being such a worth-while experience for many reasons; not just weight gain. But what an amazing idea and an incredible vehicle for self-reflection. I am trying to lose about 20 nagging pounds that have gone up and down over the past 10 - 15 years or so, and this has inspired me to do so more consistently. Thanks so much for being an inspiration. I'll be thinking of you as I work once again at reaching my goal. You have reached an amazing goal in such a short time. I know you will reach your goal. Good luck, Sincerely, Helinski. - 5/26/2011   3:51:15 PM
  • 150
    This is exactly how I felt in grade school and now. Thank you for posting this it's gave me a good idea and I think I will write a letter to my younger self and older self. - 5/26/2011   3:46:38 PM
  • 149
    WOW! I felt like I was reading my own story.. I remember my siblings calling me thunder thighs. Thanks for sharing. - 5/26/2011   3:12:38 PM
  • 148
    I cried reading this. This was exactly how I grew up. I was always a heavy child and got teased relentlessly at school. I remember coming home from school crying and my mom's response would be, 'well maybe you should lose some weight'. And, while she was right, I should've; it just wasn't what I needed to hear at the time. I needed support. I was very lucky to have some very great friends who are wonderful people. Going through what I went through has made me the person that I am. If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be that I am the strong one through all of this and the people that are the teasers are the weak ones...that's why the tease. I learned a lot about compassion and not judging someone based on looks. I am also supremely happy I've found fitness and have been getting in shape. It feels so great and it's not about how I look, it's about how I feel. I feel FANTASTIC!! - 5/26/2011   1:41:29 PM
  • 147
    Boy, it's like you read my mail. I would have to say that if writing to my younger self I would advise...don't roll your eyes at people who harp on being 5 pounds overweight...catch yourself when you gain 5, so you won't have to lose 50+. - 5/26/2011   11:12:01 AM
  • 146
    Awesome Post! - 5/25/2011   11:02:25 PM
  • IVY_13
    145
    Keep Going! It may take longer than you want, but in 2 or 3 years you could be at your goal. If you quit in 2 or 3 years will be in the same spot or worse. - 5/25/2011   10:47:54 PM
  • 144
    I would say to my younger self, there is time for everything, so get off your rear end and exercise, or when you are in your 60's you are going to be 60+ pounds overweight and it will be a struggle to take it off. I would also tell my younger self that my children would love to get outside and play or hike with me, so not to use them as an excuse to stay at home in front of the tv. - 5/25/2011   6:26:21 PM
  • 143
    Absolutely beautiful! We all should write something like this to ourselves! Thank you for making this post... It was inspiring and truly lovely! - 5/25/2011   5:47:43 PM
  • JAY75REY
    142
    I would say to my younger self: Be yourself, be brave and never lose hope. Find mentors and people to rely on in case you need help. Limit exposure to toxic people, including family members. Listen to your heart and gut. - 5/25/2011   5:22:27 PM
  • KARENANN815
    141
    Thanks for the inspiration. Your letter gives me the boost I need to begin my weight loss program! - 5/25/2011   4:47:41 PM
  • 140
    I have never been obese so I can't say I know how it feels. As a kid I was "Joanie Bonie". I started to gain weight the year Manners (I think the original fast food joint) came to town when I was 15 years old. With SP I see that we are never too old to learn and with the Lord's help we can overcome anything. - 5/25/2011   3:33:26 PM
  • 139
    Incredible - well done. - 5/25/2011   2:50:54 PM
  • 138
    Great letter and advice. Thank you for posting it. Congratulations on all of your hard work so far. - 5/25/2011   1:25:15 PM
  • 137
    Wow what a wake up call, i often sit and wonder how my life would be different if i had only listened to my mother or sister when i was 12 or 13. My body would not be racked with COPD from 35 or more years of smoking. And now that i need to lose more than 150 lbs and on oxygen 24/7,exercising can be and is a task. But your outlook has given me a new strategy to rekick start my program. thanks so much. - 5/25/2011   12:50:40 PM
  • 136
    What a great take and look at yourself, the healing, and coming back to healthy lifestyles. Good for you and keep it up, you are an inspiration! - 5/25/2011   12:10:24 PM
  • MOM4432
    135
    you go girl. That's what I am talking about. Know who you are inspite of everything that seems unlike you. You are beautiful. Be encouragbed! - 5/25/2011   9:26:53 AM
  • AMBER461
    134
    Nice letter, we all have the same problems trying to loose weight by a certain time but not sticking to it. This is so encouraging I must stick to my plans.
    Thank you for sharing your letter. - 5/24/2011   10:27:40 PM
  • 1ROSNELL
    133
    Wow! you are talking about me. Thank you for this letter, I needed to see this so i can get STARTED. My life need a push and i would tell my younger self, if you don't get started now it will be to late. I will be 59 in Aug. and i have been trying to loss 50lbs. for the last 10 yrs. Thanks again YOU GO GIRL - 5/24/2011   10:05:36 PM
  • 132
    This is really a good reminder to us! Thank you for sharing your story!!! - 5/24/2011   4:24:19 PM
  • 4SLIMING
    131
    What a brave beautiful honest letter! I so appreciate your sharing your journey and your courage because you speak for me too. I pray I'll have the courage to accomplish all that you have! - 5/24/2011   3:08:06 PM
  • 130
    It is funny how many of us have blogged to our younger selves. I had just done a blog to myself a short time ago! We sure can't change our past but we can sure move forward!
    - 5/24/2011   1:49:23 PM
  • DINIE123
    129
    Hi Beth:
    You are so brave, I commend you on being able to face yourself so honestly. You are doing amazing things and I admire you. We all need to be kind to ourselves, since others can be pretty harsh. Give yoursef a pat on the back for all your hard work and keep up the honesty and hard work, you are getting there, and so am I. - 5/24/2011   1:42:35 PM
  • 128
    Great letter...we were sooooo naive in our youth, weren't we? - 5/24/2011   1:39:56 PM
  • 127
    This letter to your younger self reveals how bittersweet youth can be...if we only knew then what we know now we would be more friendly. I remember how I defended a girl who was being picked on because she looked different than most of us in Elementary School. I still remember her first name...Julie. - 5/24/2011   12:44:52 PM
  • LADYBUGFIRE
    126
    i found your letter poignant. so much so that i've now logged onto the spark for the first time in months, emailed it to my mom, and sent it to a facebook 'getting healthy' group i'm a part of. thank you for being courageous and sharing it so that others, like me, benefit.

    oh, and doctor who rocked it! we used to play hooky from church to stay home and watch the marathons. ;) - 5/24/2011   12:23:39 PM
  • 125
    Beautiful letter. Keep up the great work! Remain positive! - 5/24/2011   12:16:33 PM
  • 124
    Thanks for sharing this ... it really helps to hear that other people have the same huddles - 5/24/2011   12:11:01 PM
  • 123
    Absolutely! You are strong, and beauty has everything to do with who you are, not what you look like. You are an inspiration and I hope to make it to one of the Indy meetings soon!!! - 5/24/2011   12:09:33 PM
  • 122
    What an awesome commentary on progress and your personal growth. Thanks for sharing! - 5/24/2011   12:02:32 PM

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