This last weekend I went to Palm Springs for a good friend's bachelorette party. An event that has been the source of A LOT of anxiety over the last few weeks. Not because I didn't think it would be fun or anything like that, but because I've been feeling really unhappy in my own skin lately.
For a LONG time, I was always the 'fat friend.' I dreaded going to parties and social events and being seen in public. I was so self conscious and hated being in group photos. It wasn't a jealousy thing at all, but my own body image and self esteem issues that made me want to hide from the world. I'm naturally an introvert, but in these situations my anxiety got worse.
At my peak I was 220 pounds and it truly affected my physical and emotional well being. I worked really hard for a long time to make changes, and made wonderful progress. I lost 90 pounds and worked on my emotional happiness/self esteem issues too. For many years I didn't have any of those anxious feelings, I no longer cared what people out in public thought of me, I wasn't embarrassed of who I was. I wasn't perfect by any means, but I was comfortable in my own skin. A feeling I hadn't felt in I can't even remember when. But over the last two years I've slowly been gaining weight back and those old feelings of body shame have been creeping back in. I catch my self hiding my stomach and in front of my boyfriend, and wearing baggy clothes to hide what my body looks like.
One of the requirements for this bachelorette party was to wear a 'sexy' outfit. The other girls attending the party were all 10+ years younger than me, and (in my eyes) far more fit and attractive. I flat-out felt inadequate and dreaded being the 'fat friend' again. Those feelings of needing to hide in the background of pictures all came flooding back. When they said we needed to bring bathing suits too, I had a major panic attack. Obviously this is my fault for letting old habits sneak back in and not being more pro-active sooner, but here I am.
The trip ended up being a lot of fun, and though I caught myself having feelings of jealousy for the girls with those 'perfect' bodies, I had an epiphany. One night while all us girls were getting ready, the bride (who is easily a 10 on the hotness scale) pulled out Spanx she intended to wear for the night. My mind was boggled. I asked her "what ON EARTH do YOU need spanx for!?" She proceeded to talk about her own insecurities and shaming her own body. I was blown away. Then it dawned on me, no matter our size or how "perfect" our bodies are, we ALL have those feelings that it's still not good enough. And loving ourselves is in the eye of the beholder. Here I was with this dear friend, who has a body I would quite frankly KILL for, and she thinks it's not good enough?
This moment truly put it all into perspective for me. I have been beating myself up for what? For not being 'as good' as others? These people I compare myself to, have the exact same fears and feelings as I do. Being happy isn't just about liking the way you look, but it's about accepting and loving yourself. Do I need to lose a few pounds? Yes. Do I need to eat better? Absolutely! Should I be pushing myself to work out consistently? HECK YA! Do I need to give myself a break and find my confidence again? YES! So, that's exactly what I'm going to do.
Before I left for the trip I had already committed to this, but I let all of the other distractions get into my head. The weekend was filled with cocktails, which wasn't good. But we did a lot of walking, and did a pedal bike thing (that was actually QUITE the workout), and I did pretty good on the food front (a few Doritos though). Most importantly I learned I need to lighten the (brrrrp) up and cut myself some slack. We are all on our own unique journeys and everyone has issues, not just me. All I can do is focus on what I CAN and WILL do to get to my happy place again.
My "sexy" outfit
When I got back home, I had a package waiting for me. My FITBIT had arrived, and I was stoked to get that puppy on. The sleep tracker on it is awesome. As I feared I sleep HORRIBLY. I had 23 restless episodes last night alone. Something I need to work on. I took today off as a recovery day and plan on going to the gym before the guy and I go see John Wick 2. I'm excited to see how the FITBIT works at the gym :)