Remember last year when I came out about my love of reality TV. About how I secretly (or not so secretly now) love American Idol, America's Next Top Model and Big Brother. Well, I've discovered a new reality TV love, The Biggest Loser. Unlike it's reality counterpart X-Weighted and the lesser Last 10 Pounds Boot camp, The Biggest Loser leaves me feeling empathy for the journey those people are on, but more it leaves me energized, encouraged and grateful.
I feel like I stare down the barrel of the "weight gun" every. single. day. Every morning I wake up feeling fat, bloated, jiggly, ugly or all of the above. I shove those thoughts to the back of my brain long enough to enjoy some time with my children (read: feed Audrey breakfast and hope she doesn't spit it all over my face while trying to to pull my hair out in a desperate attempt to get Bethany to "Eat your Cheerios already!"). Then it's time to get dressed, I sneak in for my daily arguing match with my scale (hint: it's best to weigh one's self first thing in the morning, pre breakfast, post urination and in the absolute buff). (hint hint: if the weight isn't to the standard you were expecting or wanting it is not wise to have a temper tanturm, stop your feet and yell at said scale. It doesn't like that so much and won't work too well after, trust me. ahem)
I carefully step on while clinging to the counter, and slowly one finger at a time release all of my weight onto the scale so as not to shock it up to a higher number. Then, because I have a stupid scale I get off and repeat the process twice more to make sure the number I saw was correct (because quite often you can weigh 4 times and get 4 answers). Then I turn, smash my head into the wall (not the literal wall the proverbial wall), plan my day, head to my closet and start yet another battle.
Many times during the day I'll think "I'm fat", "She's skinnier", "Will I ever look good enough?" "Why can't I just be skinny, pretty and have a great rear view?"
Shallow are we?
Yes. Yes I am. I am also very concerned that this ol' body I haul around with me or rather that hauls me around won't be healthy for my daughters. I want to be fit and healthy for a long, long, long time to see them grow, graduate, marry and have children.
I'm pretty ok with who I am as a person, you know the "me" on the inside. Not all the time but most days I'm pretty good with who I am and how I act. I am not however, almost ever ok with who I am on the outside. I don't like my weight, I don't like my freckly skin, I don't like my itty bitty boobs and my not so itty bitty rear end (why is it by the way, that I was given small boobs and a big butt? I crave symmetry in the rest of my life why the heck can't I be symmetrical?)
It's not as though I haven't tried to work on "me". Both the inner me and the outer me. I have exercised regularly, I watch very, very closely what I eat. I bathe (That counts for something) and brush my teeth (nobody feels beautiful with stanky breath). I try to dress in a flattering and age appropriate manner, so as to avoid a "What Not to Wear" disaster. And I really haven't done that bad, I lost all of the baby weight I gained - a whopping 60lbs - with Bethany, then I had Audrey, gained 35lbs and have since lost 42lbs. (The numbers are only to make a point not a comparison, I will NEVER blog to you about the actual scale number). I now weigh less than I've weighed since, I don't remember when. I'm into the digits I thought would make me "happy" and you know what. I'm not. I don't see anything different when I look in the mirror than I did 20lbs ago. I know that I only have 1 pair of pants that fit, the rest hang or fall off but it still doesn't help, I'm not happy.
And While I love the person I am, I don't always like that she has some super huge self esteem issues. I don't like that whenever my Mom says she thinks I look nice, I think "She has to say that because she's my Mom." or when my husband tells me I'm sexy (yes he says that), I think "He's just saying that because he's stuck with me and he needs to think that or it's gonna be a long 80 years", and I don't like when someone else says they like my shirt, hair, shoes, I think "They're just saying that because they feel sorry for me".
I've tried to changed those thoughts, I've tried thinking positive, I've tried looking in the mirror and seeing what "they" see, I've even listened to Christina Aguilara's "Beautiful" on repeat until I want to scratch my eyeballs out and nothing. I've taken it to the feet of my Father the one who gets both credit and blame in my eyes for creating me. I've cried at, pleaded with and leaned on Him. Please don't think that I ever for one second wish He hadn't created me, that's a NEVER. If He hadn't I wouldn't know the love of my family, of my husband, my friends, I wouldn't have two beautiful daughters who supply my breath of life. I do however, wish He'd have picked a different mold, with a different metabolism. And if none of those things, why can't He make Me content with Me?
My greatest worry even still, when it comes to my body, is that I won't get a grip on this issues before my girls are old enough to pick up on them. I'm terrified that my self loathing will translate in to their own self loathing (not that I would EVER criticize them the way I do me. They are beautiful and perfect. Period.) by way of imitations. I worry on a daily basis that I will teach them to be as miserable about their bodies as I am about mine. I don't ever want that for them, or anyone else. Some days that particular journey as both a mother and woman feels unbelievably overwhelming.
Then I'll turn on the TV and The Biggest Loser will be on. And as if God is giving me a big slap upside the head, "See Ashley, you've got nothing to complain about. Yes you may have weight you want to lose and yes, you may need to work on your body to be fit but your journey is small. You aren't facing what those people are facing and you need to be GRATEFUL!" And He's right, I have not a thing to complain about, God is good. I have my health, I am in a healthy weight range, I have my husband who's encouraging and loving, my daughters who are joyful and love bugs and that's what matters.
But knowing that and believing that are two different things. What I want to know is when will the person on the inside be happy with the girl on the outside? When will the image in the mirror be less daunting and the scale be less scary?
When will I be good enough, for me?