Everyone has challenges in their life, and when you are working toward a goal, those challenges can be minor bumps or major detours. What’s important is what you do about it. So, this week the Eat. Live. Be. crew is talking about our biggest challenge.
Talking about my challenge is hard for me, since it’s really a personal thing … something that creeps up on me and influences my body image — if I let it. Often I don’t, but when it comes to my weight, I have fallen victim to it again and again.
My biggest challenge is self-doubt. That’s likely to come as a shock to those who know me. Overall, I am very confident (ahem, some might say too confident — I don’t think there is a such thing as overconfidence though) and capable and driven. But sometimes, when it comes to matters of weight, I fall victim to that little voice that tells me I can’t do it.
In the past, I have triumphed over that voice. After having Will, I lost all the nearly 80 lbs that I had gained during pregnancy … plus some. I felt awesome, though not at my ultimate goal. But then I got a full time job and gained 10 lbs back (not feeling so awesome anymore). That little voice piped up, making me feel like losing that 10 lbs was impossible.
When I found out I was pregnant with Paige, I still had that extra 10 lbs hanging around. And though I didn’t gain that much weight with her (maybe 40 lbs?), it didn’t come off easily. Heck, I am still more than 5 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight and it’s been three years.
Over the last three years, that little voice has been working overtime. Every time I get close to losing, the voice rears it’s awfulness and puts me down. I stop losing. I get stuck. I give up.
It wasn’t always like this. I’ve been thin and physically fit for most of my life. Looking through pictures, I realize that I really took that for granted. Heck, I thought I was overweight … But I wasn’t until I had kids.
This photo was taken on the evening of my senior prom, and it was an important time for me. I’d finally had the epiphany that although my body shape wasn’t like other girls, I wasn’t fat or overweight. Quite the contrary. After hitting the gym several days a week — sometimes twice a day — for months, I was fit and slender … womanly, even. And moreover, I felt beautiful, sexy and thin.
It was a big thing. For many years I hadn’t felt that way. While most of my classmates had slim hips and thighs, mine were wider … more developed maybe. Although my stomach was flat and I had little fat anywhere, I couldn’t wear the Mudd jeans that were so popular back them, since they were cut for juniors and I wasn’t that shape. It made me self-conscious. Sad even.
Every time I would go to take a shower, I would turn sideways and study my waistline, wondering what I could do to make it more perfect. It was a ritual that I performed every day for most of my teen years, and into my 20s.
This challenge, my self-doubt, is a huge one. It’s easy to just give in to it. But the truth is that I am not happy at the weight I am, or the shape I am in. I want to be thinner, happier, more fit. I want to be more like the girl in this picture.
Now, I am not so naive to think that even with weight-loss I might ever look like I did at 17 again. But I would like to get close, to be the 30-year-old version of that girl. I would like to have the pleasure of shopping without having self-doubt crowd into the dressing room with me, telling me how awful everything looks. Shopping — and trying on clothes — used to be fun. I would like it to be fun again.
And another thing … while I battle self-doubt, the doubt of others has an opposite effect on me. My family is encouraging about my efforts, though they are cautious. I can hear the slight bit of doubt in their voices whenever my weight loss or new exercise habits come up. And I get it. I have tried to do this before — to lose all this weight. And I have either failed or given up. But I am not doing that this time, and self-doubt just needs to shut up. But their inklings of doubt are good for me … it’s made me more apt to head to our home gym and do something. I want everyone to be wrong … I want to lose this and be done with the heavy stage of my life.
To that end, I’ve been walking on the treadmill and using the elliptical. I’ve been weight training. And sometimes, I do it twice a day. And when self-doubt tries to stop me, I do it anyway.
I hate that I let self-doubt impact me like it has. It’s embarrassing. For something who believes so firmly in the power of believing in yourself, I have failed myself big time. But I am not doing that anymore. I swear I am not.
So, there you have it.
What’s your biggest challenge?
Be sure to visit the other Eat. Live. Be. bloggers too to find out about their challenges as well.
- Cate O’Malley – Sweetnicks
- Maris Callahan – In Good Taste
- Chris Arpante – Melecotte
- Faith – Blog Appetit
- Kristen –Dine and Dish
- Jenna – Stop, Drop and Blog
- Casey – The Starnes Family
- Patsy – Family, Friends and Food
- Tri-Fit Mom
- Claire – Cooking is Medicine
- Allison – Sweet Flours
- Jen – NJ Epicurean
- Leslie – The Hungry Housewife
- Rivki Locker – Healthy Eating for Ordinary People
- Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook
- Jennifer Schulz – Lick-a-Plate
- Sarah Rogers – Sarah’s Sweet Creations
- Denise and Lenny – Chez Us