I think it might be easiest just to start from the beginning. It is difficult to give this much information but I think it will help ME and hopefully others out there. I don't want this taken the wrong way but I'm seriously putting everything out - with no filter. I'm sure this post sounds choppy but this is very hard to write about...I am crying as I write this and re-read it. This post has been in the works for a LONG time...LONNNNNG time. I finally decided to include it with our "He and She Unfiltered" series and got the final push I needed to release it when my friend Pam opened up about her body image struggles in this post.
Most people probably don't know this but ever since a few years ago I've struggled with body image issues. I've shared bits and pieces but not the whole story until now...
I've wanted to shut down this website numerous times. Sometimes I feel like a fraud because I'm probably not as lean as people think I am. I cringe when someone emails me that they want to prepare for a competition or photo shoot...
I also didn't EVER get into the "celebrity worship". I think that helped me to not care about weight. I still don't understand the obsession we have with "celebrities". Most of the time when someone talks to me about a celebrity I have no idea who they are. My sister, who was the exact opposite of me growing up, would buy those celebrity gossip magazines and I would always say something to her about what a waste of money they were. She would buy them weekly and I would add up ($156 per year) how much she spent on those dumb magazines and let her know. :-) Now you know why we are starting 40isthenew65.com. ;-)
I WAS very self-conscious but for other reasons. My family was always telling me how beautiful I was and how I had a body that most people would kill for. What I had was a DDD/F size chest and a 24" waist. This led to we walking around with my arms always crossed in front of me because I was so uncomfortable with my chest - even though it's what most people wanted (or so they thought). I had to have all of my swimsuits and bras made for me and couldn't wear tank tops. I had a breast reduction at 16. I was small - probably a size 6 with a large chest = back problems. I remember coming home one day and just laying on the ground because my back hurt so bad. So at 16 I had a reduction down to a "full C". At the time it wasn't an out-patient surgery, I had to stay in the hospital overnight. It wasn't that bad of a recovery though and I was super happy with the results. I felt proportional but I was still very self-conscious. Now that I think about it I probably never cared about make-up because I thought it would just draw more attention to me. I wouldn't walk into a store or even put our name down at a restaurant by myself until I was in my 20s.
When we got married is when we started gaining weight (you probably read that in "Our Story"). It was a combination of a lifestyle change (sitting at jobs), getting older, and eating out ALL the time. I remember being anywhere from a size 6-10 but, again, it didn't really bother me until Scott started to eat healthier and had so much energy and started a bunch of new hobbies (working out, hiking, kayaking, etc). I wanted to be part of those too!
It was the next summer (2011) that I really began to embrace the lifestyle change that Scott was making. I wanted more energy and I wanted to be strong! I started going to the gym, even though I was terrified, and completely changed my eating habits (again, I had already started slowly just because he was eating better).
I quickly went from a size 8/10 to a size 2/4. I say quickly and what I mean is 3-6 months. I didn't restrict myself or create any unhealthy habits. After joining the gym I fell in love with lifting weights and the entire lifestyle. I absolutely LOVED it. I had become such a positive person and wanted to help everyone I could!
I KNOW the reason that I was so successful so quickly is because I did NOT have any stipulations or even really any goals in mind. I know that sounds weird but I didn't. I also did NOT compare myself to others. Instagram wasn't big (it might not have even been around?!) when I started so there wasn't a ton of "fitspo" to look at. I was on Pinterest but I never spent time on it comparing myself to others.
If I were to see the picture on the right of anyone else I would think she looks great, but I compare it to the one on the left and I'm not happy that my stomach isn't as flat as it was and that my hips are starting to bulge over the sides. Yet as I type this I UNDERSTAND how crazy this sounds. I am comparing a random day of just living life to a day from years ago when I was preparing for something in particular. I'm at a different point in my life. My goals and focus have changed and I KNOW that but I still do it.
I've been lean enough where you could see my abs but I feel stronger and healthier and more FIT now. I can sprint uphill at the same speed I could sprint on a flat surface years ago. I can hike more difficult trails in less time. I can lift more at the gym but for some reason my head can't get around the fact that I am not "lean enough".
I know EXACTLY what to do workout wise and what/how to eat but my MIND is not in sync like it used to be. My MIND is always thinking that I am doing something wrong and that people (YOU, our readers) won't trust me if I'm not super lean. So I second guess myself even though I know what works.
I am a HEALTHY SIZE FOUR and still can't shake this! When I was featured in Oxygen Magazine I even wrote about the importance of keeping a positive mindset and thinking positively about yourself.
Look, it's right here. It says "I built up my confidence with positive thinking!".