I never had a healthy relationship with my body or food growing up. I was 10 when I first decided I was too fat and my boobs were too small. I was five feet tall and 110 lbs and most of all, ten years old! My mother used to threaten me that I would end up fat like my aunt if I didn't stop eating, and I believed what she told me. I went through binge and purge cycles starting at 12 years old, and still to this day battle to just accept that sometimes I will eat unhealthy foods and it isn't the end of the world.
I added sixty pounds to my standard 145 pounds (I'm 5'3") when pregnant with my son. After he was born in 2005, I continued to eat for two and quickly spiraled back up to the 200lbs I was at 9 months pregnant. A year and a half later, I saw what is now my before photo and vowed to make a change. I joined Weight Watchers and knocked off fifty pounds in a year by eating right and exercising.
I divorced not long after that, in 2008, and my weight just hovered between 145 and 155, but I just never believed it was possible for me to lose more than that. I ran a full marathon in 2010, and multiple half marathons after that, as well as a few mud runs. I was always active, but ate like crap. My daughter was then born in 2012 and shortly after I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. After starting treatment, my weight dropped down to 140, and with my new energy I started working out a little more.
In 2013 I discovered weight lifting instead of just cardio and yoga, and I feel like my life has changed. I love my body and the amazing things it can do. I don't fight with my food like I used to.... It's fuel! Not the enemy! I went from running a 22 minute two mile to my new record I set yesterday of 13:30 for two miles, and the only thing I changed was that I now lift weights 3-4 times a week. I see strength in myself I didn't know was there. Most importantly, I feel like I can teach my daughter to love her body in ways it took me thirty years to learn. She does push-ups with me and shows off her muscles with pride. And she is only two! I have her whole childhood ahead of her to show her how to love herself and be amazed at what she is capable of.
I'm roughly 135 lbs now but it doesn't matter. I've lost 5% body fat in the last year, but that doesn't matter either. What matters is this is my body and I own it. And finally, I love it.
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“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown