So I did something recently. I left a 33-year teaching career and decided it was time for me to be my own boss. I got to a point in my life where I was not dealing well with people that had less experience than me, telling me what to do all of the time. I also needed flexibility and more importantly, I needed to feel excited, happy, and that I had purpose again.
A friend of mine directed me to an Entrepreneur’s class for Women. I absolutely knew that I would need help understanding the ins and outs of starting and running my own business. The 10 weeks truly flew by. We worked very hard, but also had a lot of fun learning from amazing and established professionals, a few that had also gone through the program in the early days of their businesses. The best part of the program were the women I had the honor and privilege to meet and learn with. Each had their own inspiring story, and was filled with dreams and aspirations, just as I am.
After ten weeks of laughter mixed with uncertainty and hard work, we completed the course which also featured a “Shark Tank” pitch before judges who declared that each pitch was better than the next, we were done. A Graduation in person gave us the ability to finally able to meet in person, having zoomed for the course entirety.
I had done something else over those ten weeks. I had contacted a nutritionist who specialized in natural healing and wellness. I had lost 35 pounds in 44 days on a program that honestly is not that hard to follow if you do not mind eating well and very healthy. A commonsense program that sounds very hard, but in reality is that way we all should eat. I am far from complete with my weight loss and wellness journey, but I was feeling excited and happy to don a dress that I had never fit in before and walk in my entrepreneur class graduation.
My husband, has never once said a word to me about my appearance. I am often frazzled by this since I would like to know if he likes my hair or the outfit I am wearing. He tells me, I love you the same way I loved you when we married 30 years ago, it does not matter if you gain or lose weight, color your hair or grow it long or short, you are still you. I know I should be grateful since so many women are ridiculed by their spouses when they gain weight or age but, unfortunately I don’t have the same opinion of myself that he does. I did not feel like me. I felt trapped inside this person with poor mobility who looked nothing like the person I always remembered myself to be. I felt like my life would never be what I wanted it to be if I stayed like that.
I had tried diet after diet, exercised, drank water, guzzled weight loss drinks. Tried medications, took supplements, suffered through eating freeze-dried foods. Went to meetings, weighed in, got cheered for losing 4 ounces a week, and then cried when I no longer lost any weight. I felt like I was looked down on. That I was not attractive, that I was someone who people talked about behind her back. Like: ” could she fit in a seat, what size did she wear, she must eat a lot at home, a closet eater, she is slow because she is so big, she used to be thin”, among other things.
Yes, I was thin once. But sadly I never thought I was. I was beautiful, sexy and thin, yet I never thought that about myself. I always thought I needed to fix myself. I started officially dieting at age 15, with a program. After that I spent many years, depriving myself, even becoming mildly bulimic. I had three difficult pregnancies and my body was no longer a body I could control no matter what I ate or drank.
I was completely bewildered at what my next step should be My doctor suggested that it was time to call a nutritionist. I hunted online, read through reviews and checked out backgrounds of several nutritionist. I joined an interactive webinar and felt as if all the participants were just like me. The nutritionist had several ideas and suggestions. I decided to move forward and speak to her personally.
After a few weeks of debating with myself, and discussions with my husband and therapist, we all decided I had to do something. I am very grateful that I took that step. But I am far from finished. My husband who has never cared whether I was fat or thin, proudly took videos and photos of me walking in and participating in the graduation. He posted them on to Facebook and told everyone how hard I worked and what a great accomplishment this was for me.
Unfortunatly, later on when I looked at Facebook, and at the photos he took, all I could think of was how fat Iooked, even after losing 35 pounds. I worked very hard to stop myself from thinking that, but it is there. I am 57 years old, a poor body image that has been present for more than 45 years is not going to go away overnight. Looking at my photos with critical eyes, hiding in the back of photos so I could barely be seen. Wearing black even if I did not want to, cropping photos, so my body did not show. All things I am working on with the wellness coach and the nutritionist to change.
I looked at the photos again today and tried to change my lense. I read the wonderful comments from some dear friends. Telling me I looked great and that they were proud and excited for me. I looked at my classmates who had never seen me in person until yesterday, they did not care that I as not a tiny- sized woman either. A good friend texted me privately to tell me how nice my dress was and that it was very flattering. The only person that mattered who had anything negative to say or think, was me. Truth is that I am really the only one who can fix that.
I have taken step one. Found a program that is helping me lose weight, inflammation, gain health and mobility through healthy living. They are working towards getting me to understand my needs and purpose. I took a great course to help me towards my goal of running my own business doing something I enjoy. I also need to learn that I am okay. I am more than a body. Beauty is far more than a trim figure and a perfect face. I am loved, I am a presence, I am powerful. Getting healthy matters far more than a dress size. Healthy is not only physical health. It is all around wellness.
So I am going to smile at my celebration photos. I am going to rejoice in the fact that my spouse of almost 3 decades sees the 24- year old woman he fell in love with when he looks at me. I am going to stand in the front and not hide in the back.