I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve had a longtime battle with my image. I spent a good number of years hating my body. I tried all kinds of things to lose weight. Some were very destructive.
My attempts always ended the same way — Gaining more weight.
I’ve watched myself fold away a favorite pair of jeans because they don’t fit…one too many times.
My chest would tighten whenever I heard the words “Let’s go shopping”
I’ve been homies with the struggle of seeing an awesome dress and realizing that it most definitely is not my size.
I hated taking full-length photos of myself because…well, I hated the way I looked.
It didn’t matter how many times I heard someone telling me how “beautiful”
I am…I never believed it.
Then July 2015 came and I had a *moment*. I was about to watch one of my favorite shows, and I had my junk food lined up. Halfway through my meal, I stopped and asked myself, “What am I doing?”. That was the umpteenth time I was having junk food that week, and well, it wasn’t doing my skin, my body or my general health a favour.
I guess that’s where I can say my journey started. I did a lot of thinking. I researched different recipes. Upped my water intake. And so started my “Lifestyle” journey. It wasn’t a diet, well that’s what I kept saying. It was me, making alterations to my lifestyle, for the benefit of my body.
I pushed away my mental calendars and expectations, and took it one day at a time. I gradually lowered my sugar intake, gradually upped my water intake, and changed the contents of my meals, bit by bit.
If I wanted take out, I opted for something that wasn’t a burger or fried chicken — that was not easy. But it was working. I was just taking joy in the little victories that were coming my way. And the changes came quickly. My skin ceased from being a disaster. My sleeping habits were improving. And my confidence increased.
After two weeks of working on my eating, which was the core issue of my weight gain, I joined a gym and went three times a week. My exercizes weren’t hardcore. I wasn’t in a rush. I was serious about getting my body into the groove. I know myself. If I approach things with too much energy and way too many changes, I quit after a while.
I was losing weight quicker than I’d anticipated. The bloating was gone. I felt good. I actually looked forward to shopping.
I put some of my ‘health’ smoothies and alternative meals up. I received a lot of encouragement. And a lot of judging too. It hurt me at first but I didn’t care. This was about me.
But somewhere along the lines, I lost focus. I became obsessed with the weight loss. Everything became about losing weight. If I ate too much, I’d starve myself the next day. Soon, that same old complacent feeling returned and well, the lifestyle stopped. Kind of.
Those six weeks of extreme caution, helped me regain power over my eating habits. All my money used to go to food. But now, I think before I spend. I’m not as fond of junk food as before…If I try pig out, I feel really sick the next day.
I soon learned that, caring for my body didn’t necessarily mean giving up all the foods I loved. No, it just meant moderating what I eat. Not everday fried chicken or a burger. Sometimes, just chicken and salad.
It took me a while to write about this because I felt like a real failure. Putting my health life out there on Instagram, only for it to fade. Some people had a field day with it.
At one social gathering, this girl, in front of all these people, shouted “Chipo, I thought you were on a diet.”
I wasn’t even eating anything hectic. It was party rice and chicken. I just smiled and let her go on.
It got to me for a while. But things changed.
Sometime last week, I was going through clothes I’d stored away as ‘too small’. And I tried them on. They fit! High-waisted jeans that I couldn’t wear in August? I wore them yesterday. I found a pair of leggings that were too small in July. They fit now. A couple of dresses I was about to give away? They fit. And awesomely.
I’d been so caught up in feeling like a failure, I missed out on the long-lasting effect of that…er..shall we call it a detox? Lifestyle change?
I’d put on weight in December, but within six weeks, it was gone. I didn’t do anything extreme. I just watched what I ate, and took long walks — and stressed a bit.
But there’s progress.And that’s what it’s all about. Progress.
This journey is a long one. And I’ve realized that I may fall a couple of times, but what matters really, is when I get up.
There will be hecklers. There will be skeptics. There will be times I’ll look at myself in the mirror and wonder where I went wrong.
But for every low moment, there is a high one.
I am beautiful.
I am precious.
I am a wonder.
I am beautiful.
And I love myself, and I will only make changes to my body, because I believe that it will benefit. Not to fit some other person’s perception of appropriate.
And with every single bit of progress that comes, I smile. It reminds me that I am capable of doing anything when I put my mind to it.
And to anyone out there who may be going through a similar struggle, know this.
If I, with all my procrastination and laziness at times, can do it.
You can. I believe you can.
But even if you can’t right now, don’t let it get to you. Just get up, and keep trying until you win.
Have an awesome weekend everyone.
Photocred: R3VD Photography