This post was created as part of a relationship in which I was sponsored by Weight Watchers and given a free three month subscription to try their new Personal Coaching product and write about my experience. Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own. #WeightWatchers #WWsponsored
You guys know that 2014 has been one of the worst years of my life. It’s not only emotionally but physically taken its toll on me. One of the only things that has probably saved me this year is the fact that I am finally at a place where I accept myself for exactly who I am on the outside and the inside. You guys know that teaching you how to love yourself is what I’m all about!
Despite my quick wit and mischevious smile, it’s not always been like that. There’s been more years, ok decades, of self-hatred and weight battles than I would care to admit. As long as I can remember, even as early as age nine, I’ve struggled with my weight. If I had a dollar for every pound that I’ve lost and regained throughout my whole life, I would be a very rich woman.
It wasn’t always that way though. From about age five until about age nine, I was just your average kid. Not a care in the world. My body told me when I was hungry, and I ate. My muscles told me when they craved activity, and I moved. Food and I weren’t the enemy then. Birthday parties were times filled with cake and ice cream. Summer nights were filled with lightning bugs and pedaling my bike until my legs were on fire.. Life was good.
It was right around third grade when things got difficult. There wasn’t any traumatic event that I could recall, but as I got older I also got bigger. This was the slow beginning of my lifetime struggle with weight gain. This was the beginning of the end of me.
Even in third grade, I wasn’t the biggest kid in class. At most I was 10-15 pounds overweight. We’re not talking huge, but it was enough of a difference for my classmates to notice. To me, I was still just Ashley. To them, I was a brand new target.
Springtime my third grade year, there was this particular instance that is seared in the back of my brain. Some people say they can’t recall the day the began hating themselves, for me it’s as bright in my memory as the yellow shirt I was wearing. This was the first time body shame reared it’s ugly head.
North Carolina spring time, and I was strutting my stuff in my bright yellow shirt with matching black and yellow spandex biking shorts. (It was the 80s, don’t judge) Walking through the halls like I owned the place, things were looking good. As I turned the corner, one of my “friends” looked me up and down and then like a mea girl in training. With all of a sudden begged to know what the heck I was wearing.
The reason I remember this incident so clearing wasn’t because she made fun of me, it was because at the time I had NO idea why she was making fun of me. Until that point, I thought that I was ok. Until that point, I thought I was allowed to be proud. After that day, everything changed.
Third grade was much more of the same. Slowly, but surely, I became more and more self conscious. Through kids yelling at me to “not break the bar” during the flex arm hang in gym class, to a whole bus full of kids singing Weird Al Yankovich’s “Fat” to me (yep, just me) I physically survived, but by the end of the year my soul and self respect was in shambles.
I wish this was a tale where I could tell you that it was just third grade year that was that bad. Sadly, that wasn’t so. Despite moving several times and starting to grow into myself a little bit as I hit the teen years, I was forever labeled the fat kid. Sometimes it was as if there was a brand of shame on my forehead.
I am not sharing my sad tale with you to make you think that my life was so pitiful. I am sharing it with you so you can see the flip side of it. What’s the flip side? Being thin? Nope, you know me better than that. The flip side is that from a childhood of weight problems and cruel kids, the weight wasn’t the problem. It was the fact that I let my weight steal my self respect. I let the weight define me as a person. I put my value in a number on a scale (or on a pair of jeans)
Now at 35 years old, life has taken me well past that nine year old little girl. If I could go back and befriend her, and tell her she is so much more awesome that the outside, I would. Since I can’t go back and tell her, I am telling you guys! You are so much more than the weight on a scale. You are epic. You are perfect just the way you are.
Confused yet? This post is supposed to be about weight loss and my new partnership with Weight Watchers. Well, it is about my new partnership, and yep I am actually really excited about it. I am not excited because I’m going to get my self worth back because of how my body looks, but I am going to get a little bit of my life back.
Despite how I feel about “diets” and am always sharing with you guys about how you should accept yourself right now, not 20 pounds from now, what I also tell you is that your body needs to be able to let you live your life to the fullest. Right now, I can’t do that. Right now, my body and I are not friends.
It’s not because I can’t fit in jeans I could fit in 5 years ago, it’s because my body hurts. The last six years has been filled with physical therapists that would give Bin Laden a run for his money, knee surgeries, and Achilles tendonitis (oh my!) Thanks to all this joy I am also carrying an additional 50 pounds, and slowly but surely my body isn’t doing what I want it to do anymore.
What was the turning point? Well, when your thighs are getting so big that they are chafing in your sleep when you toss and turn it’s time to figure something out! That and hoping that taking a few pounds off will finally put me on the road to getting my life back. A life filled with snowshoes, cross country skiing, running, and long hikes in the mountains. That is what life is about.
The other part that I am excited about is my new Weight Watchers coach. Last time I did Weight Watchers, about five years ago, you had the option of going to meetings or doing it alone online. Neither really fit my lifestyle. Now in the personal coaching option, I can chat with a personal coach one on one once a week via phone to check in and have 24/7 support via online chat when I need a royal kick in the butt. Support is definitely something that’s really important to accomplishing your goals. That’s why I want to ask you guys to join me on this journey!
Also, make sure to check out the You Rock section on Quirky Inspired. It’s filled with all my posts about how to learn to love yourself, and how to learn to love your body again!
I’ve set up a Quirky Inspired Facebook group, where we can chat about how we are going to feel better in 2015 (including joining my 30 day no soda challenge too!) If you want to take it a step further, I would love for you guys to sign up for the Weight Watchers Personal Coaching program. That way we have even more support on this journey. I’ve already picked my coach. Her name is Crystal, and I can’t wait to get to know her even more.
Weight Watchers is going to be just one tool in my toolbox to meeting my health goals this year. Don’t you think it’s about time that you invested in yourself a little bit and join me?
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