Journey Out of The Uncomfortable: Trying Again

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

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Beneath Your Beautiful: Instagram, Make-Up and Filters

Wonderful readers! I have returned! – Lol, listen to me getting all dramatic. Anyway!

It has been a while since I added my pocket full of cents (sense, maybe?). I must admit…the past few months have been rather hectic. Fruitful! But hectic. Friends were made. Friends were lost. Bridges – and hair, fingers and toes – were burned. Some are being reconstructed. All in all…Chipo is growing up! *insert random applause here*

So, wonderful readers (both new and old), today’s topic is going to be a little soppy but there’s nothing wrong with a little soppy every now and then! But first – a story!

So during my attempts to study, I decided to go through a few pictures I’d taken a couple of days ago – boredom had taken over. I found one that was totally…weird. But I loved it and for some reason, I wanted to make it my cover photo on Facebook.

“But it’s not ‘pretty’, Chipo. People will think it’s weird.” – my inner voice spoke up.

I froze.

“Edit it first.” It continued. “You know? A little grayscale effect and a bit of smoothening then bam! Hellloooo pretty Mama!”

I felt myself agree with my thoughts as I attempted to close the photo. Suddenly – I’m not being dramatic here – a stronger thought entered my mind.

“Since when were you a girl who hid behind lots of effects just to look ‘pretty’?”

I honestly felt rather nauseous – and trust me it had nothing to do with the lame cafeteria food I’d eaten. The thought came in quietly but it had a hell of a ripple effect! I removed my hand from my mouse and stared at the photo. I reflected on my life for a few seconds. It had been a while since I’d last put up a real “No filter” photo.

“No one will like your photo” The inner voice tried again. I think I need to invest in a new inner voice. This one’s becoming a problem.

I’d become “that” girl. “That girl” who dolls up her photos or ONLY puts up pretty-looking photos just to prove to the world that “Hey! I’m super pretty too and you better know it!” Sounds lame, huh?

Well that’s what a lot of people (Male AND Female) feel when they put up photos. All of these glamorous, movie-star looking, edited photographs that end up with 56 likes. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong. Hey, I don’t mind a couple of likes for a photo every now and then – or more frequently than that.

The problem comes, though, when we become incapable of putting up a real “no filter”/”glitz and glam” photo on because we’re afraid of what people will say. The power we give Facebook Like’s is pretty scary. The fate of a simple click has the ability to crush or build one’s self-esteem in seconds. Is this life, people? Is this life?

Sure zits and uneven skin aren’t exactly the highlights of a photo but we kinda have to realize that just because we erase them on a photo on Instagram…people will see the real deal the next day.

“Well that’s what concealer is for, Chipo.” Someone just said as they read this.

Well, honey, there’s only so much help concealer can provide before it turns on you and turns your skin into something you wish you could physically filter. True story.

beauty

Look, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with make-up, photo-editing and all that jazz. I partake in those things too. But I’d like to think that I remember that these things aren’t the be-all and end-all of our self-esteem and appearance. I like to walk around without make-up sometimes (or often) because I don’t want to lose sight of what I truly look like.

Random pointer. Ladies, if you cake on that make-up just to get a man remember something…there will come a time where he WILL see you without that make-up…and I pray  he doesn’t go “Ohhhh snap!”

Instagram is a great place to exhibit our editing abilities but hey…let’s not let it get to our heads. There are enough the cover-girls and cover-guys in the thousands of magazines out there.

It’s okay to show the world who you really are. Because, honestly speaking, you can look absolutely stunning with that make-up or in those glamorized photos but…if you don’t have the self-esteem and personality to match it…you’re kinda wasting your time. I’m just saying…

By the way: For those of you who may feel offended by this post please realize something I NEVER MENTIONED YOUR NAME. If the shoe fits well…wear it. If you don’t want to wear it…find some better looking shoes that’ll make you look good!

I think my rant is over. I’d like to end this post with a status I put up the other day

“I want to see the real you. The real beautiful you. Beneath the fake beauty Instagram, Filters, and Make-Up give you. Why? Because You can erase edited photos. You wash off make-up at the end of the day. That fake stuff? Disposable. But let me tell you something. No one can ever erase, wipe out, or wash of the real beauty you were born with!”

realy beauty*comments of all opinions – mature though – are welcome :)*