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Falling In Love Again

At Weight Watchers this week we were talking about being kind to yourself. I was asked when it was I decided to stop beating beating myself up and I started to cry the moment I said “it all started with a bikini”.

I instantly felt my face flush as I realized I wasn’t going to be able to keep talking without tears rolling down my cheeks and I paused for a moment to look around the room. Was what I was about to do career suicide? What would my boss think if she walked into the meeting room and witnessed the leader having an emotional breakdown? 

My job as a leader is to facilitate a conversation among members, to create an environment where each and every person who walks through the door feels safe and supported and to ensure that each week members leave feeling like they got a figurative hug with a side of science.

It’s great to be warm and fuzzy and I love that Weight Watchers has moved past the days of a leader lecturing for 45 mins to an hour about what you SHOULD or SHOULDN’T eat, and who doesn’t need support??? The whole point of a meeting is someone saying “I get it”. On the other hand, I want to know what I can do to make progress. I want to know WHY I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to leave with a plan and as a leader that’s what I try to do. 

My goal with every meeting is to uplift AND educate, not one or the other. Being a leader is a lot different than I thought it was going to be. When I sat in the seats as a member I thought “this is a cake walk!” (Bravo to me for the food reference, LOL!)

As a member I was always excited for Wednesday nights when I got to see MY leader. Emphasis on MY. I loved her and I looked forward to seeing her. She walked on water, she could do no wrong!

I thought as a leader I would walk into the meeting room and be flocked by thousands of adoring fans like myself. They would put me on a pedestal the way I put my leader on a pedestal. They would all want my autograph. I thought it would be easy. I would stand in front of a group, talk at them, lecture them, clap when they lost weight and leave at the end of the night.

I had no idea I would create relationships with members. I had no idea I would wake up EXCITED to go to work everyday to see the members. I thought I’d get a high from being loved and adored, I didn’t know my high was going to come from loving and adoring the members!!! I didn’t know I’d think about them between meetings and wonder how they were doing. I had no idea that I’d take them into every part of my life. 

I love every single member that I get the pleasure of working with in a way that I never could’ve imagined I’d love them. This “job” is not a job. It is a gift. 

One that I’m terrified I’m going to ruin. I have sabotaged myself a million times in the past. As I began to type that last line I actually wrote “I am a self sabotager”. Then I realized I don’t think “sabotager” is a word and even if it is, I refuse to identify as one. I DID self sabotage. I DID set myself up to fail. I DID have unhealthy habits. 

I am not a self sabotager, a failure or unhealthy. That doesn’t mean I don’t sabotage myself or set unrealistic goals and it doesn’t mean I’m 110% “clean” with my choices. I tried that, it didn’t work.

I learned the hard way that restriction was not a sustainable lifestyle for me after I tumbled down a rabbit hole and became obsessed with and simultaneously terrified of food. 

Somehow I became convinced that if I could fall in love with my perfectly imperfect self I could fall even deeper in love with a more perfect self. 

The deep, dark and ugly place I went after that destroyed my mind and my body. Thankfully I didn’t stay there too long, only a few months but my recovery has been long and my body has changed a lot in the process.

I told the members in the meeting on Friday that I would share the blog I wrote 2 years ago because I didn’t want to monopolize the meeting; I thought it would be easier to just post it if they wanted to read it. When I posted the link on the private Facebook page I hesitated before I clicked “publish”. I was afraid if I showed them the realest, most raw and vulnerable parts of me, it might destroy me if they didn’t like me. It was only one meeting who heard the story, witnessed the tears. That’s 12 more meetings who didn’t need to know what happened...

...but, the members who were there reacted with love, kindness and compassion. They thanked me for my honesty, they called me brave. They said my story impacted them and spoke to them. I owe it to every member, whichever meeting they attend to have that experience. It was scary and uncomfortable to be so radically honest and real but it was necessary for all in the room, especially me.

The truth is, I haven’t taken that bikini out of my drawer for over a year and a half. That blog and the picture were taken a couple years and a couple pounds ago which makes me feel tremendously guilty. I somehow convinced myself that a leader who loves her job would never allow herself to gain weight. 

Of course, I’d never expect that from MY leader, or any other leader for that matter. I’d absolutely allow them kindness and compassion. 

I have become consumed by the number on the scale lately which totally contradicts my beliefs when it comes to OTHER people. 

I have been struggling to accept the change in the numbers on the scale and on my clothing label lately. I’ve been trying to come to terms with the fact that they might not get as low as they once were. The truth is, I was NOT healthy when I was skinny but I was convinced I had to be skinny to be a good leader. I’ve been struggling everyday trying to get skinny I could be a good leader. I was certain I could be better if I was thinner. 

Recently I went back to the leader I idolize because I just couldn’t get skinny on my own. I’m sitting in her meetings week after week and I am following the program. I’m not getting skinny. In fact the scale is proving to be extremely challenging and it could be for a plethora of reasons, I’m not sure. What I am sure of though? The scale is not a reflection of my efforts. It is not moving the direction I’d like it to be moving but I am committed for the first time, probably EVER to taking quality care of myself. 

I’m not losing weight but I am gaining so much.

I’m gaining strength! I’m empowered by WW to make choices that make me feel good. I LOVE the freedom of FreeStyle and my zero point go-tos! I love that I can rollover points for indulgences and I don’t have to say “no” to anything! I’m not food-phobic anymore! This is more important than anything! I’m finally feeling better!!!

I’m lifting weights which makes me feel strong and sexy I’m gaining, dare I I say it? CURVES!! I’ve always joked that I’m a rectangle. I always wanted hips and a strong booty and I think my squats are finally paying off!! It means I have to get rid of my super skinny jeans and at first that made me really sad and I’ve been fighting to get back into them but on Friday I remembered I don’t want to be the girl who was wearing those jeans anymore. 

I want to be the girl who cried in the Target dressing room and she was not skinny but she was in love anyway! 

I have held onto a lot of the clothes I was wearing at my lowest (and by lowest I mean mental state in addition to weight) in hopes that they would inspire me to get “back on track” but what they were really doing was trying to lure me back to restrictive dieting. 

I’m tracking, I’m in a meeting, I’m involved with Connect and I’m eating food I absolutely love without feeling afraid and without binging. I am not willing to give all of that up in the pursuit of skinny.

I’m donating all of the clothes I don’t need anymore, not because I’m too fat for them, because I’m too FULL for them!! I’m full of love from and for the members, I’m full of pride! I’m full of compassion...I could go on and on!

I decided I would keep that bikini no matter what. I need to get rid of the old clothes but the bikini in that picture was a catalyst and it set some major changes in motion. I  wasn’t at goal or as thin as I wanted to be when I wore it but I loved it and I loved me. It’s ironic that I thought if I lost more I’d love it more and I’d love me more but when I lost more I pushed it to the back of the drawer and I never wore it again. 

It was like as I was losing weight I was losing myself. The lower the number went, the lower I went. I couldn’t see any of that until Friday when I remembered that day in Target when I wasn’t at goal, I wasn’t “skinny” but I was enough. I was more than enough.

I used to say “if the members knew the real you, they would all leave.” Well, when the members were introduced to the real me, they thanked me. They supported me. They encouraged me and they loved me as much as I love all of them.

When I was a rookie I thought this would be easy and when it turned out it wasn’t easy I thought I’d just act as if it were easy which made it harder. I couldn’t, wouldn’t allow myself to be honest with the members for fear I’d let them down if I was and by lying day in and day out I let myself down. I forgot how amazing it felt to be totally exposed and real standing in a bikini with nothing to camouflage the lumps and bumps.

Then there was a moment, a split second, where I could’ve responded to a members innocent question with a joke which is something I have done in the past. I could’ve said “I just looked in the mirror one day and said “girl! You’re amazing!” but instead I chose not to lie. I chose instead to fall in love with myself AGAIN and honor myself by telling the truth. I felt like I did that day in the dressing room. Raw, exposed, vulnerable and absolutely perfect. 

When I came home that night I took the bikini out of the drawer and I held it. I wasn’t sure I should put it on. I wasn’t sure I was ready to see the changes in my body so blatantly. But I conquered that fear once and I was riding a high of love and acceptance of the members and I knew no matter what happened I’d have them with me. 

So I put my bikini on again and there were changes. It was not the same body that wore that suit 2 years ago but I’m not the same girl that I was 2 years ago! Some parts are tighter, some parts are thicker, some parts are smaller and some have expanded. I have fuller hips and a rounder backside which changes the inverted triangle shape I had in the first pic. Some of the gains might be fat, some might be muscle. I don’t look as lean as I did then, but I feel a lot more feminine now. I was perfect then and I’m perfect now! 

What makes me beautiful isn’t the number on the scale or the size of my clothes. It was terrifying it was to share my story with the group but I am tremendously grateful I am that I pushed through that fear. I feel whole again after almost 2 full years of feeling broken and defeated. 

I thought I would feel relief when I saw lower numbers again which is part of the reason I’ve been struggling so hard to get back there. Friday I saw myself through the eyes of those who loved me and I remembered that I could love me too. And I do! 

I’m not skinny. I’m not at my lowest weight. I’m not a number on the scale or a clothing tag...

I am strong.
I am weightless.
I am kind.
I am smart.
I am beautiful.
I am brave.
I am compassionate.
I am empathetic.
I am powerful. 
I am strong.
I am unique.

I am unstoppable.



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