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Saturday, May 18, 2013

I've been struggling to find motivation over the last week or so--struggling to choose exercise over television, struggling to choose vegetables over junk food--and so I thought it was important to write down some of the reasons I came here and decided to get healthy. I'm hoping to create a touchpoint I can come back to when I lose the plot a little.

I was a skinny kid. I was a skinny through high school and had a healthy body weight through university. I wasn't pleased with how I looked anyway... minute body flaws were a huge part of my conversations with my friends in school and were often mentioned by the women in my family, so I learned to be very self-critical. I experienced bullying for social reasons, but I never experienced teasing or ostracism because of being overweight. In fact, other girls sometimes gave me a hard time because I was so thin and flat-chested. This has not been a life-long battle for me. It crept up on me suddenly, when in my mid-20s I realized I was heavier than all my friends, most of my family, and many of my coworkers. My pant size crept up until I found I couldn't by jeans at the mall anymore, and I started to feel ashamed of my body.

Rather than acknowledge that I might need to change my diet and exercise habits, I tried to find acceptance with my new shape. I was overweight, but not so much that my doctor thought I should be concerned. There were (and are) lots of women my weight that I thought were gorgeous, and that were confident with their looks and attractive to others. I'm grateful I spent this time trying to find love for myself. I have much more respect for others' bodies, others' struggles, and I discovered some great independent clothing stores.

I was also going through a lot of other life stress as I put on more weight--I had a terrible work situation that lasted almost 5 years despite my many attempts to make changes. When the situation finally ended, I realized I was truly unhappy with my body and I had run out of reasons to ignore it. I had back pain, was having trouble sleeping, had been through several wardrobes in increasing sizes, and hated looking at myself in pictures. Strangers repeatedly thought I was pregnant enough to ask about a due date (ugh). I felt like I was living in a body that wasn't mine--It was time to change.

I'm so proud that I've made the progress I've made in the last two months, but I don't want to rest on my first successes. I want these changes to be permanent changes. I don't want to feel the shame of overeating, and I don't want to feel tired all the time. I don't want to shake the whole bed when I roll over in the night. I want to be able to run for the bus, and run up two flights of stairs, and to go on long walks without having to heat my back for hours afterward. I want to love eating fruit and I want to include all kinds of activities in my life. I want to enjoy buying new clothes and I want to feel tall and lean and strong when I wake up in the morning. I want to know, and I want others to know, that I'm my best self. I want this--AND I WILL FIGHT FOR IT.

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