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Operation: Am I Beautiful?

Friday, August 06, 2010

If you happened to read any food blogs lately, if you happened to watch the Today show yesterday, or if you happened to check out the book giveaway on the Daily Spark www.dailyspark.com/blog.
then you know that Caitlin’s book Operation Beautiful is in stores now! If you didn’t know that, then…seriously, where have you been?

Many bloggers are posting blogs this week to celebrate!

Caitlin has done an amazing thing starting with just a little Post-It. In her efforts to banish negative self talk and raise the self esteem of womankind, she has really inspired me!

I just got an e-mail that my copy of the book is ready and waiting for me out at my PO Box and I’m heading out there as soon as I post this blog!

I fell in love with Operation Beautiful operationbeautiful.com/ and her other blog Healthy Tipping Point www.healthytippingpoint.
awhile ago. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I do know that hers was the first food and fitness blog that I started to read. If you want to know more about her story, check out the post she did today www.healthytippingpoint.

Whether she is creating and sharing new recipes or running races (she has participated in 28 of them!) she is living her life to the fullest. And that got me thinking…what am I doing with my life? Do I live it to the fullest? Or does negative self talk stop me from reaching my dreams?

Growing up, I was always one of the bigger kids in class.

While I wasn’t obese, I certainly was above average.

While I do remember getting teased in elementary school it wasn’t really bad until middle school. Let me just say this: middle…school…girls…are…MEAN! I had horrible rumors spread about me, was picked on, and then I was called out in gym class by one particularly awful girl and a whole group started in on me. I would be thankful that it never turned physical, but the emotional/psychological warfare was, in my mind, way worse.

I hated my body, myself, and my life at the time. I remember a few moments when I would grab my side and ask it to kindly, please, go away.

Even though things weren’t great at school, they were worse at home. Negative body talk was all I heard. I was picked on by certain members of my own family (with their own body issues). Their comments would torment me and that would usually lead to emotional eating.

I literally had no clue why I was overweight. I knew that I didn’t eat the best foods, and that my favorite pastime was watching television, but I didn’t know what I could do about it!

When I moved out on my own, my food choices got worse. I had free range to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without anyone making any comments. My weight continued to grow.

Fast forward to my wedding, (okay I know that is skipping a LOT, but I’m trying to make some creative edits or this blog will never end!) I was at my heaviest weight then, around 250 pounds.

I knew I wanted to have a baby and I knew that I wanted to be healthy for that baby. I told my friends online that I was going to try to lose weight and one recommended this amazing website you all know as SparkPeople. I joined and started just by keeping track of what I ate.

I. WAS. SHOCKED. Seriously. I had absolutely no idea that I was eating three and sometimes four times the amount of calories I should have been. Over the next 18 months I was able to get rid of ninety pounds of excess guilt, shame, and emotional stress.

It wasn’t easy, but it was possible and I had no idea I had it in me. Maintaining the weight loss has also been harder than I thought it would be, and I’m realizing it is because I am still plagued by the negative self talk that I have known since I was a child.

It seems like I have a little voice in my head that likes to talk badly about me, no matter what it is that I am doing. As I have read more food and fitness blogs, I realize that it is not necessarily an uncommon thing. However, the difference between me and the bloggers I read is that they don’t allow themselves to dwell in it. They have quieted that voice and sometimes have even shouted it down! They know they are worth it! (Read Angela’s post today on Oh She Glows for a great blog on happy weights: ohsheglows.com/2010/08/0

Am I there yet? I don’t know if I am quite to that point. Especially since my little voice isn’t just in my head. I have someone in my life who puts me down, makes snide remarks, and also has been known for infuriating eye rolls and disgusted faces. I am stronger than I used to be, as I don’t let them get me as down as I used to.

But building myself back up after spending time with them is still hard. And that’s exactly why I LOVE the Operation Beautiful website so much, as it really helps me remember to love myself. I got some great feelings after I left my own notes, and I love to read the stories of those who have found them. If a stranger can realize that I am worth a dose of self esteem, why can’t I?

While I have to admit that my journey with a positive self image is ongoing, I know that one day I will arrive at a much more comfortable place. It’s not that I will be perfect or that I will never have doubts again. I’m sure they will creep their way back in sometimes, but I will be able to shoot them down more easily.

Because the truth is, we are all worth self esteem. No matter your size or shape, you are worth a kind word, a loving hug, and the knowledge that someone out there loves you.

Have you ever heard of Operation Beautiful? Have you ever left or found a note?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Your story is so moving...it makes me want to cry, first with sadness and then with joy that you've been able to make these huge changes in your life! I am inspired. I so totally understand about the negative self-talk...I've always been truthfully a fairly positive person and yet this voice pops up telling me I am stupid, I can't do this or that..I have no idea where it comes from...I want to say it comes from fear...but I am working to quiet that voice, and I am happy to say I hear it less and less. I've laternately ignored it, reasoned with it, stared it down, told it I feel sorry for it...and whatever it is, it seems to be working. I highly recommened yoga, not just the physical practice but the philosophy too. It teaches love for all beings, including yourself. Carry on, sister! You are beautiful!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2833 days ago
    This is the first time Ive heard of operation beautful, at your blogs today. I have made a personal commitment to stop even thinking about beauty as a visual concept. The bible brought me to this! I purposely avoid looking in the mirror, and refuse make-up. Beauty comes from within :) AnYWAY! I STILL thought you were an ADORBALE little girl! Aw. It just warmend my heart to see those pics. I guess its just some weird thing, after you become a mom. But, you just looked so cute! Aw. I think you are defiantly a beautful person, and its even better that I am telling you this NOT based on how you look, sister :)

    God bless :)
    2838 days ago
  • *AMBER512
    Sometimes I totally think I am bigger than I am. I'm not really sure when that'll go away or if it ever will!
    2840 days ago
    Your blog rings true in my life too. Thanks for putting yourself out there. One day I hope to have the bravery of posting a similar blog. Do you see yourself as you look now? Or do you have the same issue I have, which is seeing myself as I was at my heaviest? I often think the mirror plays tricks on me.

    Keep up the hard work Amber!! You are doing amazing things for your body, brain, and people around you!
    2840 days ago
    I love Operation Beautiful too. I'm reading the book and enjoying it so much.

    I remember growing up and grabbing my side too...but not kindly asking it to go away....instead, thinking of how I wish I could just cut it all away. Just looking in the mirror and hating myself. Even now, I still struggle with it.

    Nice post. :)
    2844 days ago
    I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. It makes me very happy to know that you are learning to love yourself in spite of everything people have said over the years. I love you and I am always here for you.

    2844 days ago
  • DNJEN471
    You are amazing! I love that you are willing to share all you have gone through to get to where you are now. We are all beautiful! We are all worth it! P.S I agree 100% middle school girls are awful!
    2845 days ago
    Thank you so much for the information. I read slow so it will take me a while to wade through all the information you have provided.
    2845 days ago
    You possess that beauty inside and out, Amber! I'm another one who was teased 'til college, and Shari is right; it's quite scarring. Let's hope this new book will help to bring a new healthiness and acceptance for us at any weight! Beautiful blog! - Sandi emoticon
    2845 days ago
    I was teased as a child too, from kindergarten through high school. I know how much those words can hurt, and the scars they leave. I can relate to your blog; to this day, even though I am at my goal weight, sometimes I still struggle with my confidence and self esteem.

    I was skinny for my age, (I didn't start putting on pounds until after high school), had straight, stringy hair, and bad skin. It's just been in the past few years that I have stopped labeling myself as "ugly". Being on Spark has really helped me a lot to regain my self esteem about how I look.
    2845 days ago
    2845 days ago
    Yes, I know that blog! I keep meaning to post a note somewhere! Thank you for sharing your story - I know you inspire so many people on this site! Way to go, girl! :)

    2845 days ago
  • TERRYT55
    Great post.....you are beautiful! I have heard of Operation Beautiful but I've never left a note but I intend to today. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks again for the post, Terry

    Oops....almost forgot, you have a wonderful smile.......looking at your pictures I found myself smiling more and more.
    2845 days ago
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