I've had my smart phone for a little over a year now, and occasionally I'll get a google alert showing me a series of photos taken exactly one year ago.
Today, I got an alert with this photo on my phone:
We were in a crumbling old castle in Wales, and my adorable one year old was in a sling. I look happy (if a bit shiny) and it was a gorgeous day. I was even wearing a coordinated outfit with my baby, haha!
It was an awesome trip, but it is hard for me to look at that photo. The first thing my eye is drawn to is the lack of definition in my face and neck, the obvious "largeness" of me.
For a very long time, I pretty much ignored my weight. I knew I was big, but honestly? I have felt "big" for as far back as I can remember. When I was 10, I thought I had big thighs. Sigh. I have wasted a lot of time feeling bad about my looks, needlessly. As I got older and had a few babies, I carried on with my poor eating habits that were easily counteracted in my younger years with exercise. I found it difficult to exercise with 3 under 4, or 4 under 7, or 5 under 11... you get the idea. My weight climbed and climbed, and my personal blinders got narrower and narrower.
I can't really pinpoint an "aha" moment for when I decided to break my sugar addiction (the main cause of my weight gain) and exercise daily. (yoga for the win!) I think it was more like a culmination of several different nudges and promptings that finally gave me the oomph necessary to start day 1.
This is what I looked like earlier today:
Still a bit shiny, hanging out in my kitchen on a gloomy English morning. I am now hovering a little below my pre-kids weight; five children and 13 years ago! I can finally wear my wedding rings again, and I feel wonderful. I've kicked my sugar addiction to the curb at long last; I finally have a normal relationship with food and don't let hunger control me. Like, I can actually fast for 24 hours at church and not feel like I'm going to die! This is a breakthrough, let me tell you.
So there is no doubt I feel happy about my decision to change my eating habits. Not only am I healthier, but I can also fit into normal sized clothes! Hahah, living the dream. But, and there is a but, I do feel kind of strange about it all. My mental picture of myself hasn't quite caught up with the reflection in the mirror, but I'm nearly there. I spent so many years ignoring how I looked (in the hopes it would change on its own or something), that I know feel slightly crazy and obsessed with choosing outfits and the wobbly bits still hanging around on my body. I am far more critical of my looks now than I was 3 sizes ago! Mental! (though not to any extremes, I hope)
I'm trying to be gentle with myself. From what I've read online of other people's experiences, losing so much weight can be crazy making, a bit. My weight crept up slowly over the years, with five pregnancies in between, so I've always felt a little bit disconnected from my appearance, like I had little control over what my body was doing. Now I am doing yoga and meditating every day, I am far more grounded into myself than ever before. I feel comfortable in my skin - whoda thunk?! I recently completed a 40-days-in-a-row yoga kriya that focussed almost exclusively on my core; after completing that the other day I started a new kriya that requires the use of all sorts of muscles! I have a new challenge to complete. :) But what made me happy was when I realised how strong I already am - I felt my core muscles working and knew without any doubt that I wouldn't have been able to complete those exercises as easily a few months ago.
Life is good.