It Starts With Me

I don’t know why I’ve struggled to be comfortable in my own for so long.  For years, I tried to convince myself that I was cool…together…happy the way I was.  I cannot count the times in my life that I’ve tried to be the person I think others want me to be as opposed to who I am.  And I honestly can’t even tell you why.

Maybe the answer is simple…I mean, I obviously didn’t like who I was at nearly 400 pounds.  Only a few years ago, I wished to be anyone other than who I was.  I avoided mirrors whenever possible. I looked away during commercials as I watched TV because I didn’t want to see my reflection during the milliseconds in which the TV would go black.  On holidays, I took pictures with my family, but I hid them away.  At one point, I even met someone online and totally misrepresented myself, my looks…I didn’t post pictures of my face on Facebook or MySpace.  I posted pictures of my hands or my feet or myself as a little girl (before I felt like the most disgusting person on earth.) 

I wanted people to like me, but I didn’t believe they would.  In my mind, I knew they wouldn’t so I didn’t give them a chance.  I retreated.  And when I did have to face new people it was my goal to convince them that I was better than I was before they had the opportunity to learn that I was really just a big, fat, failure at life.  That is, after all, how I saw myself.

When I was forced to look in the mirror I saw a stranger.  I didn’t know the girl looking back at me, and I really didn’t want to.  I was angry with her for giving up on herself.  And I hated her for looking the way she did…for passing up countless opportunities to better herself because it just seemed too hard. I believed she was stupid and undeserving, and I despised her.

My insecurities owned me for years.  I wished for change, but I truly believed that change was something that happened to other people.  By the time I entered my mid-twenties I believed that life had already passed me by.  I believed that I had my chances, and I let each one of them slip through my fingers.

How could I ever become a confident, successful woman?  How could I ever become someone I was proud of?  How could I take the first step (and the hundredth step) toward becoming someone I could respect? How would I ever be able to look in the mirror and not feel utter disgust about the face that was staring back at me?

You just start..that’s how.   You take that first, scary step into the unknown and keep trying until it works. Let me tell you something folks…losing weight takes hard work some days/weeks/months.  Some of us eat like champs everyday and struggle with working out. Others workout like fanatics and have trouble staying away from ice cream at midnight.  And some of us suck at all of it. 😉

Many of you already know this because you’ve faced your own challenges, conquered your own demons and learned to love yourself.  I’m somewhere in the middle right now and confidently headed in the direction of total self-love.  I am learning to appreciate the person that I am right now…today…instead of giving myself pep talks about how I’ll be worthy later.

At some point I learned that I don’t have to reach a certain number on the scale to feel good about myself.  Don’t misunderstand me.  The numbers are extraordinarily important – and I want to see them continue to go down..but there’s so much more to living a healthy and fulfilled life.  I can’t believe I missed it for so long!

I’ve lost over 100 pounds, but that has been a fact for several months now.  It’s still a glorious feeling, but it’s time to do more.  I’m at least five pounds skinnier than I was at Christmas.  I’m back in a good groove, but  the biggest changes in the last couple of months have happened on the inside. And these changes in me, in the way I see myself…have been the hardest changes of all.

Most areas of my life need work, but for the first time I can honestly say I’m working on them.  I’ve been actively pursuing my weight-loss goals for a year and a half, and I’m working on improving other areas now too.  I’m no longer just talking about becoming a better person; I’m actually trying to do it.

There will always be cruelty in the world, and there will always be someone who doesn’t believe that change is possible.  A few will always see me as I was – not as I am, but those people just can’t matter.  They do not define me.

Some of you have believed in me and supported me day after day when it was nearly impossible to believe in myself, and I’ll probably need you to do that again at some point.  A few of you have been with me since day one.  Some of you are new, and I hope you’ll stick around. Some of you have never struggled with your weight, and many of you are on the same road as I.  It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight for the first time or the twentieth time.  What matters is that we find enough good in ourselves keep fighting.

I wish I could apologize to every single person who had to listen to my smug talk about how being fat never held me back and every person that had to hear how together and all-around awesome I was.  But my self-loathing and transparent insecurity is part of the past now.  It has to be.

I can still write a long list of things that I want to change about myself..my body…I still have wrongs to right.  But what I’m learning is that the person I am today is better than the person I was a month ago. I’m learning that happiness doesn’t come from relationships or superficial acceptance or even Prada bags.  It comes from me.  And it’s not a privilege only set aside for certain few.  It’s a choice.

I regret wasting so much time wishing I could be someone beautiful and perfect instead of just working to become the most beautiful version of myself.  But those days, those regrets are old news now.  I’m still far from beautiful and perfect, but I will no longer hang my head in shame.  And I no longer believe, at 30 years old, that life has passed me by.  I believe that I have the power to be the person I know I should be and want to be.  And I’m done wasting time.

I may not be able to rewrite the past, but I can make damn sure that today is better.  And a better today leads to a better tomorrow.  Hang around friends..I’m about to prove it.

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    als
    January 12, 2011 at 8:39 am

    ((((Kenz))))

    "(Happiness) comes from me. And it's not a privilege only set aside for certain few. It's a choice."

    Wonderful post. I'm so glad you're choosing happiness – you deserve it!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 12, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Dear Kenz,
    This could have been my post. I have identified with everything that you have written here. The difference between you and me is that you are 30 years old and I am 58. I have struggled with my weight since I was a little girl…10 to 15 to 20 pounds to now. I weigh a little over 300 pounds and need to lose about 160 pounds to get to the chart weight of a person of my height and build.
    I still struggle….try, retry, join Weight Watchers, quit, rejoin, quit, rejoin. I've joined health clubs, tried hypnotists, doctors, many other weight lost programs, bought countless diet books….seriously, countless books…the list goes on and on. I am a smart woman. God has given me many gifts and talents. He has given me two wonderful children and two beautiful grandchildren and I thank him everyday for my blessings and I makes promises to him to try to conquer this beast and become the person that he wants me to be and that I want to be but I keep failing.
    I now need two knee replacements (due to the stress on my body from the weight) and this has affected my ability to move well….less movement = more weight gain. I read your blog everyday and I think that you are a beautiful young woman. I am writing to you as if you were my own daughter. You are an intelligent caring and gifted young woman. You have your whole life before you. You are young and you have already accomplished the lost of 100+ pounds through hard work and commitment (by the way, something that I was never able to accomplish). You have the gift of being able to write, a gift that touches and inspires others (including me).
    You have a beautiful loving family and I know that there are some people out there who will try to tear you down and cut to your very soul but don't let them.
    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I wish for your continued success in whatever goals you set for yourself. You will meet you soul mate one day when it is your time. Love is hard, as your poem conveys…but it is so worth it.
    Chin up, Kenz….you can so do this thing.
    God Bless You.
    Debbie in Maryland

  • Reply
    Joan
    January 12, 2011 at 10:36 am

    OMG You have written my story, because I have been discovering lately the things you are thinking now. I'm almost twice your age and it's taken me this long to figure all this out. I should get an award for the number of times I've joined WW but this time it stuck due to a great leader and great support around me. So you are ahead of the game by coming to these conclusions are your age. So far as beautiful, I think you are a beautiful young woman. Your face just seems to light up in your pictures. As I told you on twitter you inspire me and that still holds true. I'm also single and can look at my weight loss and relate it directly to how things are going in my "love" life. Thanks for reinforcing the thoughts I've been dealing with lately. These things apply whether we're 30 or pushing the heck out of 60. You stay on the path your on because you aren't alone. We're all there with you.

  • Reply
    Deb Willbefree
    January 12, 2011 at 11:37 am

    This post needed to be written. Great job!

    Hugs.

    Deb

  • Reply
    The Monkey and Me
    January 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    "At some point I learned that I don't have to reach a certain number on the scale to feel good about myself. "
    "I'm learning that happiness doesn't come from relationships or superficial acceptance or even Prada bags. It comes from me. And it's not a privilege only set aside for certain few. It's a choice. "
    I'm keeping those in my pocket.

    Thank you for starting my Wednesday with those words.
    Kenz that is the most beautiful post ever. Thank you for that gift. And I am so happy to see you've reached this place. Keep it coming lady. You are amazing. And we are right there with you.

  • Reply
    Maude
    January 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Great post! I could really relate. We're pretty close in age, and it sounds like we both spent our earlier lives in similar situations.
    It took a long time for me to make the realizations you state so eloquently above. Part of me wishes that these realizations could have happened so much earlier in my life, but it's become clear that I NEEDED it to take awhile. Because now that I've made them, they're not going anywhere. Both the habits and lifestyle changes that I had to initiate in order to lose weight, and the feelings of self love and self confidence that had to grow. It all had to come in its own time, and now they're here to stay. Not to say that I won't have slip ups or make mistakes, but the deep seated knowledge is that there's a stability about them that wasn't there in my early 20's when I was so heavy. Again, great post – thanks so much for the reminder and for sharing your own story

  • Reply
    J
    January 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Kenz,
    I, too, have felt this way so many times. Someitmes the self-doubt still creeps in…and other times I stand proud and strong. It is truly a day to day battle. I am 36. I found the book, So Long Insecurity, and it has really helped me. However, I find myself needing to reread parts of it frequently!!! Obviously, I need reminders. 🙂

    I believe in you!
    J

  • Reply
    Chubby McGee
    January 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    This is a wonderful post! Wonderful. I felt like it was something I could've written.

    It's amazing people like YOU who are helping me along in my own weight loss journey (via the blog). I'm trying to do what you're doing, too. When you write what you HONESTLY feel and what you're honestly doing, I don't feel so alone. Ya know?

    Thank you. Thank you for being you and being so wonderful.

  • Reply
    Umm Omar
    January 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Wow…such a touching, honest, reflective post. I've been reading your blog a while now, but don't think I have ever commented before. This post was just so honest, I couldn't help commenting today. I think you're amazing, really. Standing up for yourself the way that you are takes so much will power, self discipline, and a huge change in one's mindset, some days I feel it's impossible. But you're doing it, and that inspires me. I also understand from reading your blog that you've had a rough time in your personal life lately and yet, you didn't make that an excuse to revert to old ways. Amazing. May God be with you. Keep inspiring.

  • Reply
    Laurie
    January 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    That was really heartfelt. I admire all your hard work, and like you, I'm working on me, some days just suck and are really hard and I just can't do it and I feel like everyone else in blogland is doing it….but then there are beautiful days when it just flows easily, don't you love those days?
    This is on the top of my blog and it reminded me of something you said in this post:
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind" Dr.Seuss

  • Reply
    Heather B.
    January 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Never regret you past! It made you who you are today and as long as you learned lessons from it, the past was totally worth it! Even if it wasn't the best spent time!!!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    This rang so true for me and really made me think! You are an amazing person and such an inspiration! This post gave me so much encouragement…thank you , thank you, thank you for writing it 🙂 You made my day!!

    Kelly in Illinois

  • Reply
    Neva4getme
    January 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I'm very close in age to you and I too went through a similar growth recently 🙂 Isn't it liberating? Count yourself as one of us lucky ones girl…some people don't get to "this place" until waaaaay later in life (if ever). You're a strong person!

  • Reply
    KCLAnderson (Karen)
    January 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    What a beautiful, heart-felt post. I spent a lot of years feeling the same way and it took me until I was well into my 40s to start turning those feelings around. There are times when I feel regret for the seemingly "wasted time" but then I realize that it takes as long as it needs to take…that it's okay…and that there are things I wouldn't have learned (even though it was painful) if it had been any other way! Keep shining your light!

  • Reply
    Annie
    January 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    This post is so great, Kenz. Thank you for your honesty and for putting into words what so many who are struggling with their weight and self-image feel on a daily basis. I often told people that I was happy and healthy. Ugh…not quite! Happy people don't shove food into their mouths when they're feeling down or lonely. Healthy is not weighing almost 300 pounds at 5'7". I wasn't fooling anyone but myself. Now that I look back at where I was just 8 months ago, I can't get over just how unhappy and unhealthy I looked. I still have a long road ahead of me, but I'm happier and healthier than I was 8 months ago and I know that I'll continue to be happier and healthier as each month passes and I get closer to my goals. Thank you, again, for posting this and inspiring us all to look within.

  • Reply
    trippingtiffies
    January 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Miz Kenz! You are and continue to be inspirational. I love coming to your blog and reading your thoughts, and seeing your progress lets me know that I'm not alone in the battle and that it CAN be done!
    I have just started my weight loss blog, but strangely enough (according to 'stats') most people are finding me though you! Don't know how that works, but THANK YOU!

    ♥tiff
    measuringmyself.blogspot.com
    fashionintheforest.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Steelers6
    January 12, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Not sure where I got this, but I know you like quotes:
    "What other people think of me is none of my business."

    I think it is cool how you just put it all out there in this post. I feel like you are always so forthright with us on your blog. A very neat result from that/your blog is how helpful it is to readers. I don't know that that was really your intent upon starting the blog; I suspect it was more about it being a tool for YOU. Super 'side affect' though, is how it blesses many. YOU are a blessing to many, and of course some of us have never even met you.

    As always, thanks for sharing. I know it's a 2 way street, as you are blessed by your blog too.

    And now I must go take my beating from Jillian. ha. Chrissy

  • Reply
    Heather A
    January 12, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Best.Post.Yet! 🙂 *HUGS*
    We're just a text/tweet/post away. <3 u!

  • Reply
    reem
    January 12, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    great post, felt every word like I was saying them myself. Good luck on your journey and hope to be strong enough one day to start for the twentieth time myself.

  • Reply
    Heather Forcey
    January 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Beautifully written. I appreciate your honesty in laying it all out there about your feelings, struggles, and victories. Great post!

  • Reply
    seattlerunnergirl
    January 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    What a heartfelt and honest post, Kenz. At first I was gearing up to leave a comment about how much you need to love yourself before you can be happy with anyone else. And then I kept reading and realized you're way ahead of me.

    Give yourself the gift of love, today. It's not perfect and it's a process; a choice; a practice. I'm working on this, too, and it's a lifetime work, I believe.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Shelley
    January 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Wow, I LOVED THIS POST! Very eloquently written, and very honest. I have only about 10-15 pounds to lose, but believe me, I have experienced the same feelings that you just articulated so well.

  • Reply
    Xazmin
    January 13, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. And you may not be perfect (who is?) but you ARE beautiful! And I have been around off and on for a while, not always commenting, but definitely following. Hope you are having a wonderful week!

  • Reply
    erinmakesitwork
    January 13, 2011 at 1:33 am

    I must tell you that your attitude is absolutely infectious. I am stuggling on my own right now too. I was doing well over the summer, but then I just crashed..and I crashed back down into feeling bad about myself.

    Today, I embarked on a Biggest Loser 4 Week Challenge on my Wii Game…we shall see how it goes, but thank you for being an inspiration to restart on my journey to a better me.

  • Reply
    Lifeaswearelivingit
    January 13, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Well said!!! Keep on and I am so proud of you! You give me so much inspiration. You have helped me realize that I am important and I must make the time to take care of myself. I am worth it. I know this, I just need to me reminded.My favorite paragraph is the one about wasting time. So true! I am going to copy this and put this on the refrigerator. This could not be any more true.. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply
    Leslie
    January 13, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Samuel Beckett said, "Try again. Fail again. Fail better." I think you have understood the wisdom of this quote; that life is a struggle that we have to embrace and even cherish for all its imperfections.

    Lovely, insightful post. Congratulations.

  • Reply
    Dizzy Girl
    January 13, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Kenz- we've been blog friends for a year and a half, but I think this is the best post I've ever read of yours, trumping your airplane post that originally got me hooked on your blog. 🙂 I'm so proud of you and the growth that you're showing- keep up the hard work. You deserve it every bit as much, if not more, than the next girl. Which is why you're going to get it- I have no doubt. I love love love you!!!

    ATX baby!!!!

    xoxoxo-

    D

  • Reply
    thinspired
    January 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    This post was beautiful. So well written…and so closely related to what I'm constantly feeling. It was nice to hear someone approach some of the same issues that cross my head daily. Especially now…when I know I'm doing everything right in my journey (eating right, working out)…and I'm STILL not seeing any change in the scale. You are such an inspiration and have convinced me that I just have to keep working at it. I'm not going to give up…quitting is for losers.

    You made such great strides & I wish you luck as you continue on this amazing path!!

  • Reply
    Calotren
    January 14, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Great job: Thanks for sharing this informative post. keep it up.

  • Reply
    Jules
    January 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Absolutely wonderfully written. Though I've never struggled to this extent, I went through years where I was too thin/not thin enough/too talkative/not talkative enough/too weak/too outspoken/too hispanic/not hispanic enough. We can go crazy chasing someone else's ideal or just love what and who we are. Well done. I write similar posts, feel free to stop by.I love this post, I came about thisclose to actually licking my screen! I love your honesty, writing style, and latest WW post. Will be back again 🙂
    Feel free to peruse mine as well
    http://blogs.inlandempirefamily.com/author/skinnyjeansmom/

  • Reply
    Brad Gansberg
    January 15, 2011 at 6:20 am

    This is a beautiful post.

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