My Time for Change

Do I like myself? Sure, my personality is awesome! But, is that enough? I’m not sure anymore. Lately, it’s become clear I need to take action to be healthier, stronger, and better overall. For myself, my family, and God. I have to lay down my fear. It’s time to accept where I am and embrace my why. 

I have always hidden behind sarcasm & humor. If you can’t be pretty, you better be likable, am I right? However, as life moves forward, it gets harder to hide behind the magnificently constructed screen that I have spent decades perfecting. Is it possible to be vulnerable? To be real? To, as they say, get my “poop in a group”? I guess we’re about to find out. 

That Brené Brown

I’m the last person to make it to the “Brené Brown party”. Her ideas are wonderful! That is until you attempt to apply them to your own life. That’s the moment you want to send her the hand gesture originally seen on Friends. You know the one. While reading “Daring Greatly”, one line really struck me.

Are you the person now, that you hope your child will be? 
(Here is where you insert the hand gesture.)

OF COURSE NOT. My daughter is nearly 3 years old and over these last few years I’ve thought often about all the things I need to change in order for me to be a proper example. Key word: THOUGHT. But recently, when I read that line from Brené’s book, something in me changed. 

Who I Am Now

I’ve been fat for as long as I can remember. Growing up we always had junk in the house. We ate out. A LOT. That’s just always been my life. I now know many people who are struggling with weight, especially after becoming a mom. I’ll admit, I have no idea what it’s like to have been one version of yourself and then look in the mirror, after having a child for example, and literally see someone else entirely. To wonder what my husband thinks of this new person. Would he have married me then if I looked like I do now? I can’t relate. I’ve always looked this way.

In this same way, I’ve struggled because those people can’t relate to me. They say things like, “I know, it’s so hard” and I’m sure it is for them. But I struggle in my mind thinking “Sure, but your ‘fattest’ has been for less than 5 years and it’s still smaller than my high school prom dress––which looking back I look great in!” It doesn’t seem like we are on the same page. 

Finding My Why

The things I hear most in the “getting healthy” community is “find your why”. “Remember your why”. It annoys me. Greatly. I’m not dense. I get the sentiment and even appreciate the idea behind it. Yet, for anyone who has been unhealthy their entire life, it feels condescending and mildly insulting. By asking me to find my why, I feel like you’re implying that I have been clueless.

I haven’t been. It’s not that I’m now in my mid 30’s and getting smart enough to know that positive body image is something I should now find and embrace. Please. I’ve had that “why” since the first time another girl called me Thunder Thighs in elementary school. What’s the difference now?

My list of whys has grown. Not only is my body on the wrong side of fashion magazines, but now it’s moving to the wrong side of aging too. In the past I never got to the promised land of health or skinniness for hundreds of reasons. Fear. Laziness. Lack of modeling. Fear. Oh wait, I said that one already…. It’s just that now, it has been compounded with health issues that can come with aging. For instance, all the sudden autoimmune stuff shows up in the form of Hashimoto’s. And the pounds just keep adding up faster after having a baby. In addition, throw in a naturally slowing metabolism. I find it has gotten much harder to keep healthy blood pressures, cholesterol, and blood sugars in check with a curvier figure. Moreover, all anyone will tell me is how it’s just going to get harder.

Taking the First Step

It’s just going to get harder!?! GREAT. Thanks for the pep talk. As annoying as it is, all sarcasm aside, it doesn’t make it any less true. Therefore, it is obvious I NEED to make changes. I’ve never had good habits regarding nearly anything in my life, so where on earth do I start? I could attack it all at once… although I’ve bought that t-shirt before, and it’s still too small. Or, do I take it one painful step at a time?

I am the queen of do it all at once––yes, I am the girl that will carry 30 grocery bags at once because I’m not going back to the car. Since that hasn’t worked well for me in the less practical avenues of life, one at a time seems to be the better choice. But now, to choose where to start… my horrible diet, lack of exercise, lack of time spent with God, etc.? This decision alone creates enough anxiety in me to give up before I begin. Like the millions of times before. However, after time spent in prayer and seeking the counsel of trusted friends, I found the best course of action was to first attack the way in which I fuel my body.

Choosing My Course

I’ve tried all sorts of programs. Many helped me lose weight and may even tout “healthy habits”. But, what I’ve found, is they only work as long as I am buying their stuff. The drink mixes, the food. If I’m only drinking shakes or eating bars and making 1-ish meals a day for myself, how am I really building new habits? Ding, Ding, Ding!! I’m not. I can see how this works for many people that got away from the wagon for a time. Similarly, for those who just need help kicking the sweets and volume to help them get their habit muscle memory back. My issue? I never had the habits to begin with. So I fall flat on my face and in no time at all I end up loathsome of myself; fatter and unhealthier than when I started.

When I look at all the things I’ve tried before, as well as at the things I’ve yet to fail, one program stands out. Whole30. Talking to others, it always sounded like climbing Everest. YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK. You have to prep, shop, read labels, chop, cook and clean. Then be prepared to do some of it all again in just a few hours. The thought alone is pretty overwhelming. I can see why people give up before they begin. Lord knows I’m considering it. Can I actually DO this with a full time job, a husband and a toddler? In the end, it all keeps circling back. “How can I not?” 

Time for Action

I want to be here a long time. I want to enjoy the time I have this side of Heaven. Therefore, I have to be healthier long term. Will Whole30 be my answer? Will I be able to do the work? I’ve seen it work for others like me. My hope is I will kick the sugar and all the other potential things that make me feel like complete junk. AND I will build the habits to make this a lifestyle change. I will have the tools to continue the journey to becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be.

So, like I said, it isn’t getting any easier. My whys are building up. I can’t ignore them anymore. I’m done being “thunder thighs”. I don’t want my daughter or husband to be embarrassed standing next to me. The solution of medications and seeing doctors regularly is unacceptable. I don’t want to be sick, and I’m done being tired. It’s time to be the person I want my daughter to become. How do I make that happen? I make a start. Next up, my first round of Whole30… stay tuned for my thoughts!

Julie makes a living in insurance & makes a life with crafting, reading, & connecting with friends. She keeps a special place in her heart for preemies & their moms; bringing them into community. She lives in Lincoln, NE with her husband Matt & daughter Eden. 

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