I grew up in SE Florida, a quintessential paradise - where the palm trees are as abundant as the sunshine. I remember going to beach when I was in high school and college but once I started gaining weight in my early 20’s, my days in the sun ended and I spent more and more time indoors. I let my weight get in the way of experiencing a lot of things in my life - something that I sorely regret.
When we are younger, we tend to put a lot of credence into how other people think about us and that impacts the way we feel about ourselves. Sometimes, we even go so far as to make assumptions about how we THINK people perceive us and we own that too. I am not a mindreader, and I can confidently assume that you’re not a mindreader either - yet, I’m sure that there have been plenty of times that you knew what other people were thinking about you:
‘Oh my God! Look at how big she is!’
‘I cannot believe she has the audacity to wear a bathing suit!’
‘Why doesn’t she just watch what she eats, it really isn’t that difficult.’
‘Seriously? Look at what she looks like and she’s shoving a cheeseburger into that mouth of hers?’
‘When you’re THAT big, black does absolutely NOTHING for you!’
I share this, because for MANY years (too many than I would care to admit), I allowed this internal and external perception of self cloud my self confidence and it prevented me from really living my life to the fullest.
Last week I spent some time on Captiva Island in Florida with Robby and my kids and it was the most incredible vacation because I finally felt comfortable in my own skin. For the first time, I walked around in my bathing suit, not feeling ashamed of my body or worried about what other people thought about me. We played in the gulf, spent hours laughing, swimming and enjoying the beautiful weather.
Confidence isn’t something that came naturally to me, it was something that developed over time. I know my body isn’t perfect. I don’t like my flabby arms or legs I’m working to improve them and I know they look so much better than they did. However, you can’t lose over 100 lbs. an not have some extra skin. That will likely require surgery to remove it, but I'm just not ready for that yet.
What I do know is that that I look and feel better than I did 2 years ago and much better than I did many years before that. If anyone wants to judge me for looking the way I do, then that’s on them for being cruel, unhappy people. At the end of the day, unless they tell me what they are thinking, I won’t know and it’s a waste of my time and energy to to guess what they could be thinking about me. I chose to use that time and energy to focus on my family and enjoy the time we had together.
It was a marvelous decision and one that built a lot of wonderful memories.
Bee healthy. Bee happy.
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