Category Archives: Body Image

Before and Now

Last weekend I took full-length photos because I want to be able to look back at these photos this time next year.  I love looking at before photos because it’s the simplest way to remind myself that I’ve come a long way.

I wish I had taken the jacket off in the photos this weekend because I’m a little smaller than I appear in that picture through the middle, but you get the idea.  I’ll keep working to get back into my groove so that we can do the same thing with these current photos next year.

Will I Ever Be Beautiful?

I know I posses attractive qualities. I’m fairly smart, well-spoken and nice. And while I’m not funny when I try to be, I’m cute and giggle a lot. I have a sweet smile and disposition, and I wear my feelings on my sleeve. That being said, why is it so hard to believe I’m lovable?

My dating life has been good for the most part. Even in my relationships that have ended poorly, I recognize good things that occured during those periods. In one relationship I fell in love with Pearl Jam. As a result of another I began to appreciate and understand golf (even though I didn’t acquire skills to play well. Ha…) And in another relationship I learned how to make spanakopita and that who I am today is as important as who I want to someday be. I’ve grown…I’ve changed, and I’ve loved with my whole heart – even in times in which that love was not fully returned.

So why is it so difficult to believe that someone awesome could be attracted to me now? Why am I so emotionally needy? How hard can it possibly be to accept that someone likes me just as I am today – flaws included?

I liked a guy…and he liked me too. And a few days ago a dear friend asked me what I disliked about him, and I immediately said “he tells me I’m beautiful all the time.” My lovely friend, who looked at me like I was insane, asked how that could possibly be a problem. And I didn’t know how to answer her. After a few minutes I jokingly came to the conclusion that something must be wrong with him. I mean, how could such a catch meet me, get to know me, see me after a sweaty workout at the gym and still think I’m beautiful?

It’s sad, isn’t it? Obviously, his attraction to me is a good thing. And it’s certainly fun to hear that he thinks I’m pretty and desirable. He’s very tall and possesses All-American features. He’s strong and lean and well-educated, and he’s nice to me. He knows that I struggle with my body image, and he is working to help me undo damage that was caused long before he entered the picture.

We have eaten great sushi together, worked out together, watched football and enjoyed karaoke together. We’ve had fun. But I wish I knew how to let go of the ridiculous insecurities I face. I wish I didn’t feel the need to speak to him every night before bed or worry that if he doesn’t call it’s because he’s with someone he likes better. I mean, give me a break Self! If he thought I was overweight and unattractive he just wouldn’t have asked me out. And he certainly wouldn’t do the things he does. (Another note to self: come on kid… use a little common sense.)

My body is changing. It’s much smaller than it was at this time last year, but will there ever be a day in which it’s easy to believe I’m pretty? Will I ever look in the mirror and say “damn girl…you’re looking good” and mean it? Will there ever be a day in which this cool, confident man compliments me without my brain arguing with him silently? I would imagine that those feelings of total self-love and acceptance won’t come from a number on the scale or a size small shirt…nor will they come from the man who tells me I’m beautiful even as I fight it.

Instead, I’m willing to bet that this is one of those things that will come from within. That feeling will exist when I recognize that I’m worthy and desirable. So how do I get to that mental place and stay there? I feel it once in a while, but not often enough. If you know, please enlighten me because I would love to adopt a healthier body image. In the last year or so, I’ve gone from feeling like the biggest, ugliest troll in existence to feeling cute sometimes, but how can total self-love become my new norm? When will confidence on the inside and the outside become my new default setting?

In my heart, I know I’m lovable. I give it freely, but my brain fights to accept it. My mind struggles with insecurities. But as I move forward on weight-loss journey, I’ll continue to tell myself that I’m beautiful…that I’m attractive and desirable. And perhaps one day this truth will click. Perhaps one day my brain will accept the rest of me. In the mean time, I’ll continue shaping my relationship with food and stealing glances of my smaller frame in the gym’s giant mirrors. I like looking at myself as I workout, and that’s weird, I know…but maybe it’s a start…