Monday, June 14, 2010

A series of ephiphanies

Last week I was able to visit with one of my closest friends Stephanie, who was visiting from Germany. I haven't seen her in over a year and I needed my Stephanie fix! We did what girls do best when they're together; talking, eating, & shopping!

One of the things that we discussed about was body image. And though I haven't been feeling good about myself physically, I realized how negative I felt about my body. I let my weight gain take control of my self-esteem.

As we were talking about body image, we went to a portrait studio so Stephanie could review some proofs. When I entered into the studio, I was amazed at the photos that were displayed- they were works of art.

There was one section of the studio where only photos of women who were over the age of forty were displayed. All of the women depicted in the photos were beautiful. I assumed they were models until the photographer told me they were just ordinary women that he asked to model for him. I asked him how did he make these women so beautiful and I was surprised by his response;

"I tell them when they can believe in the person that they can become, then they eventually become that person."

One woman had a bad skin problem, the other woman had a weight problem, but when they posed for the pictures, they forgot about their poor self image, and became the person that the photographer wanted to convey in his photos- women who were radiant and beautiful.

When Stephanie and I left the studio, we knew that it wasn't a coincidence that the photographer talked about the very subject we were discussing, just minutes before we entered his studio. I took the wise words from the photographer and started applying it. And shortly after wards, it was time to say goodbye to Stephanie. You know you have a good friend when they make you feel better about yourself, which has always been the case with her.

For the rest of the week, I avoided negative self talk. I concentrated on eating well and exercising because it made me feel good, until...

...I went clothes shopping. My wardrobe for the work force were basically non existent and the ones I did have- didn't fit. Enter my other close friend Linda- She came to visit me from the Bay Area and helped me find some clothes to wear.

We picked out several clothes that I thought I would fit into. I went to the fitting room and as I struggled to button one pair of pants and had a hard time pulling down one shirt- I looked into my image in the mirror and broke down crying. I didn't like what I saw.

As I sobbed, I looked at Linda and said, "How did I get to this place?"

She hugged me and replied, "You've had a rough year, don't be hard on yourself. Don't let your weight define who you are."

Her words hit me really hard, and at that moment I remembered the talk that I had with Stephanie, and the photographer, and I remembered how good I felt just prior to trying out those clothes.

Was I really going to let my dress size affect my attitude and the strides I made in feeling good about myself?

After I took a few deep breaths to calm myself, I asked Linda to give me the same outfits but a size larger as I stayed in the dressing room to change. She brought back some more outfits and though I slightly cringed at the dress size, they fit really well and it hid the curves I disliked and accentuated the curves that I did like.

In six months I have gained twenty pounds and have gone up two dress sizes. The numbers on the weight scale and the dress size on the tags don't lie. I try not to think about it too much or else it gets me down.

On a daily basis I try to make myself believe of the person that I can be; a fit size 10!

RM told me once that instead of concentrating on the numbers, exercise and eat right because it makes me feel good and the end results will be weight loss-Adopting that attitude has helped me to eat better, and to exercise, even when I don't feel like it.

I'm really grateful for my friends Stephanie and Linda whose honesty, support, and love, have helped me get through this hurdle.

Food for Thought: "A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are."