Since I was a little girl I have always been confident about my body. When I was about six years old I wiggled into a pair of jeans and yanked at the button until it finally went in the hole. I looked down perplexed and looked up at my Dad and said, “Dad, my fat is hanging over my jeans and I don’t even have any fat!” God do I love that little girl whose mind worked that way. Weight wasn’t ever really an issue for me. I danced hours upon hours a week and ate fairly healthy and never really had to think about it. It wasn’t until I was 23 and tried a new form of birth control that things got complicated in this department for me.
I stuck this rod full of hormones in my arm and while it may work for some people it quickly became my family’s and my, arch nemesis. Not only did I gain more than 25 pounds in two months, I had raging mood swings and my period for six months straight. I was, of course, in total denial that I was continuously on my period and proceeded to ruin every set of sheets Domi and I owned with my staunch guarantee that it was over every single night when I went to sleep only to find out that I was sorely wrong when we woke up in the morning. (Needless to say, Domi is also a trooper for going along this ride with me.)
After six months of trying to adjust and my doctor promising me the longer I waited the better it would get my Daddy finally turned to me one day and said, “honey, I love you, but this is not who you are, I will pay you $1,000 if you get that thing out of your arm.” I knew it was bad. I knew if he felt the need to say something to me about how insane I was acting because of these hormones than it must be real, real bad. It wasn’t a tough decision to make. I called my doctor and said, “get this thing out of me” and made an appointment for later that week. After what had been promised to be a rather painless procedure turned into a very painful one; I finally had the foreign object out of me. Within a matter of days my moods returned to normal, and my cycle began to get more regular over the next month or two, but the weight went nowhere. Months and months in the gym and it was next to impossible to take the weight off.
All of the sudden Domi and I were engaged and I had huge motivation to get myself in shape for our wedding. I was sick of trying various workouts on my own and trying to figure out the multitude of diets on Pinterest and hired my parents’ trainer to work with me to try and make the difference I wanted to see in my body. I worked my booty off, working out six days a week, training with a trainer once a week, eating a very strict diet, but never starving myself and ended up losing more than the weight I’d gained. I’d lost about 30 pounds by the time our wedding rolled around. However, throughout this process everyone felt the need to comment. They all said very nice things about how good I looked and made me feel amazing, but it started an unhealthy conversation in my head. Was I not as beautiful when I was 30 pounds heavier? Am I too skinny now? How am I supposed to look in these shorts? No matter what I was weighing looking in the mirror wasn’t fun.
After the wedding I didn’t want to continue to maintain the diet I had been on to get to my ideal “wedding weight” and instantly put on a lot of the weight I took off with all of the celebrations and everything one does surrounding their wedding day. I had gone my whole life without worrying one ounce about how much I weighed and suddenly it felt like everyone was constantly monitoring my waistline as much as I was.
I’ve been trying to be a bit more healthy the last few weeks, but my self-control has been minimal at best. I’ve been disappointed in myself and again not wanting to look in the mirror when I’m naked. I put a t-shirt on to brush my teeth and run past the mirrors in our bathroom on my way to our shower. I’ve been really hard on myself. I talked to Domi about it because there’s really no one else I trust to share these intimate details with that I know won’t judge me or blast platitudes at me that I don’t really want to hear. I sat curled up next to him on our bed. I told him, “I am not happy about my body right now. I want to eat healthier. I want to work harder in the gym again. I want to look how I did at our wedding.” He reached out and put his hands on either side of my face and stared at me, “baby, you are so beautiful. Everyone believes it but you. Go and stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are because you’re the only one left to convince.”
Well, shit, I thought. He’s right. No matter how many people comment on what I look like and regardless of what those comments are, I don’t hear them because I only hear the loudest voice which is the one in my head telling me I don’t look good in my favorite bikini or that I’m not as skinny as the models in that magazine or that my boobs will never be the right size.
So, I’m trying. I am standing in front of the mirror naked working to convince myself of my beauty. It is not easy. It is not all that fun and I have not been so successful, but I believe he is right. We are the only ones we have to convince in regards to how we look. It’s all in our heads. My control center has been sending me the wrong message for too long, but I am striving to be the girl who looks down and thinks, “Dad, my fat’s hanging over my jeans and I don’t have any fat.” I am still that girl. I will find her even if it means staring at myself in the mirror every day for the next year while saying every positive thing I can think about myself. I will do it.
PS so can you.
PPS If you are thinking about a new form of birth control I feel the need to urge you to ask as many questions as you can think of. Especially before putting a foreign object in your body. What works for you is what works for you and it is a very personal decision, but I didn’t have nearly enough information before I made a major change to my hormones and I only ask that you do much more research and ask all of the questions I didn’t.