2019, how do I say farewell to a year that brought me to the highest of heights and it also brought me down to my knees in prayer? It was a good year, with lots of wins, but it also presented some challenges. Most years have their mix of ups and downs, but 2019 felt a bit more dynamic for me. The ups made me feel on top of the world, while the downs kept me up at night.
Nonetheless, 2019 is a year that taught me a lot. In fact, I believe that this year was a pivotal moment in my professional life, spiritual life, physical/wellness journey, and in my personal development journey as well. I’m happy to see 2019 end on a high note, but most importantly I’m ready to march into 2020 with my head held high, ready to grasp whatever life throws at me.
Without further adieu, here are the lessons that 2019 taught me.
In last week’s post, I discussed the challenges I’ve had losing weight in my 30’s. I gained 10 pounds in one year and when my belly was bulging from the cute outfit I had chosen to wear in my engagement photos, I decided to make a major change. I needed to be back to my normal size by August for my wedding. I encourage you to catch up here, if you haven’t already.
You’ve spent the entire day getting ready for a huge event. Your make-up is perfect. Hair’s on-fleek. Outfit’s snatched. You feel like a million bucks. You do your Naomi Campbell walk into the event. Strutting your stuff. You stop; grab your phone and take a selfie. You look at the photo to admire your beauty and what do you see?
A strange man in the background making a funny face in your picture. He just photo-bombed your selfie. Now, the photo you thought would embody your moment has now resulted in minutes of aggravation as you desperately crop the weirdo out of your image.
And that’s how I feel about my body.
I’m over here, kicking butt at life: meal planning, exercising, and getting my beauty rest and my body refuses to lose weight. It acts like it’s allergic to weight loss.
I used to be a nice size. I’m 5’2. When I met my husband five years ago, I was 27 years old and 126 pounds. That was my natural size. No gym or counting calories needed. I simply ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. And I’ve always been a potato, rice, bread and pasta lover, so I ate a lot of that.
On the rare occasions that I wanted to lose weight, I would put forth minimal effort: fast for a couple days or maybe follow a juice diet for 2 weeks. And BAM! I’m at my goal weight.
But those days are gone like audio cassette tapes.
My body started to change when I turned 30. That year was an eventful one. I relocated to North Carolina and enrolled in a graduate school program. My days were long and filled with studying, writing papers, and completing group projects. Snacks were my late night companion. Exercise and I grew further apart. I gained 10 pounds in one year.
I was the largest I had ever been. Clothes that I had been wearing since college couldn’t fit me anymore. Suddenly, I had a muffin top. To lose weight, I turned to my go-to smoothie diet. I lost 2 pounds in one week, but I was having weird indigestion issues.Issues I had never experienced before in all my years of crash dieting. I was forced to resume a normal diet, which for me, consisted of carbs and sugars. The indigestion went away, but the pounds – they returned immediately.
I didn’t have time to worry about losing weight though. I was focused on finding a new job. I was also on an unintended shopping spree. None of my old work clothes fit anymore.
My heart broke each time I tried on an article of clothing at the mall and it was too small. Forget finding clothes that were cute; I just wanted something that would hid my love handles!
I did not like what I saw in the full-length mirror anymore. My eyes had always been a source of insecurities, but not my body. My self-talk was terrible.
“If you’re unhappy, babe, why don’t you just lose weight?” My then fiance (now husband) asked.
It’s a novel idea.
But, I couldn’t do it.
It’s not because I didn’t want to. It’s because I didn’t know how. I was a foreigner in my new body. I didn’t know what it needed. What used to work (fasting, smoothie-and-Tostito diets, juice diets, etc.) no longer worked. Such diets would now result in debilitating headaches or weird indigestion issues.
Oh, and then there was exercise. I didn’t have money for a gym membership, so I relied workouts on YouTube, but I was miserable and unmotivated. When my alarm would sound in the mornings, I’d ask myself, What’s the point? And go back to sleep.
The last straw was on New Year’s Eve in 2016. My fiance and I were taking engagement photos. I had been shopping for the perfect outfit all week and my belly bulged from each of them. My wedding was 8 months away and I vowed that I was not going to walk down the aisle looking like the Pillsbury DoughGirl.
So, I had to change…
Stay tuned for Part II, where I discuss what I did and what I learned in my journey to lose weight for my wedding day. Oh, and follow me on Twitter @scribsandtosts. See you next Thursday!