Friday, April 11, 2014

Why it is OKAY to feel BEAUTIFUL AKA Why I lost weight when I stopped dieting.

Yesterday I got a text message from a friend. She is brunette, tan, thin and lean with perfect teeth and great style. The text was about an unflattering picture she had seen posted of her on Facebook. She told me how it destroyed her day (this photograph) and how she loathed herself.
How ugly, how fat, how imperfect she felt.

I looked at the picture.
I saw a beautiful young woman, stylishly dressed with a bright smile.
 This was the photograph that had ruined her day?
I wrote her back.
"You need to realize that you are beautiful. You need to accept that, and you need to move on."
As I sent the text I thought to myself, how GLAD I am I no longer feel like that.
I know EXACTLY how she felt.
I know how it is to HATE the body you have been given.
To feel ugly, to feel unworthy, and most of all, to feel fat.

I honestly never feel like that anymore.

At 28 years old, I am not the thinnest I have ever been.
I am a good 15-20 pounds from what would probably be described as "goal weight" for my height.
I have had two babies...and I have stretch marks. My stomach is not flat.
I don't have perfect arms or thighs.
I am not completely fit,
and I get dark circles under my eyes when I work too hard with not enough sleep.
And I love how I look.

I am finally free from the burden of feeling ugly.
I am finally free from the burden of "feeling fat."
Why? How did this happen?
One day I woke up and just realized something.

The starving myself, the dieting, the excessive exercise,
the tears (many of them), the journals I have FILLED with self hatred for my body....
the conversations I had with so many friends about how fat I was ...
I was tired of it.

So, I released it.

It was really that simple for me.
I had had ENOUGH.
Enough is enough!
No more having a wrecked day because my stomach is not completely flat and toned.
No more dreading trying on clothing, fitting rooms, and SUMMER itself.
I wanted to be FREE.
And so I am.

It started with food.
I decided I was sick of dieting, counting calories, and hating myself for cheating on my diet plan.
I let myself eat whatever I want.
Nothing is off limits!
And when I gave myself the freedom to stop obsessing over calories and food,
I lost desire to eat all of the food I thought was "bad" all of those years.
I let myself eat cake, ice cream, and for the first time in my life, one bite is enough for me.
I am no longer feeling guilty from that one bite.
Because I know it's okay, and I know it's not the last time I am ever going to eat cake.
And guess what ... I actually lost weight when I stopped dieting.

For the first time in my life, I love getting dressed every day.
 I look forward to doing my hair, and I get dressed UP every single day.
I can't even remember the last time I wore sweatpants all day...
I just don't do it anymore.
For me, that 45 minutes in the morning is necessary.
I feel the best about myself when my hair is done, makeup is done, and I have on cute clothes.
This is a practical step I would recommend.

Take PRIDE in yourself!
CARE for yourself.
Put on some red lipstick....some cute jeans....a cute shirt.
Learn how to style your hair.
Take pride in the body you present to the world every day.
Accept that you look great, and then forget about it.
Let go of the OBSESSION.
God did not create us women to hate ourselves.

I feel complete freedom when it comes to body image.
It has been over the course of many, many years.
I can finally look in the mirror, and agree with the people who have told me I was
pretty all of those years.

It's not arrogance....
it's the quiet confidence of a woman who is completely comfortable in her own skin.

I am here to tell you ladies that it is okay to know that you are beautiful.
It is OKAY to know that you are attractive.
It is OKAY to like yourself, flaws and all.

It is okay to not have a perfect body,
and to feel like a million bucks.

I wish this freedom for all of the girls I know who struggle.
I was anorexic and bulimic and weight obsessed for so many years that my heart goes out to those beautiful women who are reading this who feel so ugly, unworthy and fat.
YOU need to find that acceptance for your body.
YOU need to release the hatred and find what you love about yourself.
I am telling you ladies, it CAN be done....
The freedom and happiness it produces can't be explained, only experienced.

I want my daughters to feel like this...
I want them to confidently accept their beauty,
and release their self doubt and body hatred.
I never want them to spend years of their life hiding from the world because they hate how they look.
What a waste!
I tell my girls every day how gorgeous they are.
Not to pump them full of pride,
but because they will be constantly told and sent messages through the media that they are not good enough. I want them to be so confident in themselves that those messages bounce off of their backs.
I want them to feel pretty,
and then I want them to forget about it,
and go live their lives.

That is what I want for you, too.
Start today.
Stop hating yourself and picking out the flaws,
because I am not looking at your flaws.

Turn over a new leaf in 2014 and accept yourself.
True freedom can be found, I promise you.

To read more about my eating disorders, read this post I wrote a while ago...
it continues to be one of my most popular posts: FAT?