April 3, 2010

Facing Insecurities in the City of Vanity

(UGH! The 'before" picture. "Before" I get motivated and start working out, that is ...)

Life in Miami ... sounds like the perfect scenario doesn't it? But for someone who has struggles with self-esteem and image her whole life and now faces the challenge of losing pregnancy weight, it is not such a glamorous concept.

Girls in America are faced everyday with the message of skinny is beautiful and beauty equal success. As we grow to women, we are faced with the sad realities of that philosophy and many of us, despite all efforts continue to compare ourselves to those we come in cantact with, even those family and friends closest to us. This constant bombardment, though we may bring it on ourselves, can be savage to our self-worth.

Though I was ever aware of doing this to myself and over the years had made every effort to come to a place where I loved myself, struggling to lose the post baby weight while living in Miami has been a downward spirally journey for my self-esteem. Miami is a place where vanity runs to the extreme. In a place where the sun shines years round and sunbathing and bikinis are prevelant even in winter months, it is hard to look in the mirror, be positive and say, "I'll get there!"

There's no hiding behind bulky sweaters and attributing clothing to "the extra 10 pounds" as you catch glimpses of yourself in mirrors and windows. You are faced with the cold harsh reality that it is "all you." That stack of cookies or extra-large slice of chocolate cake come back to haunt you for day, even weeks to come. The thought of "skinny looks better than fat tastes" may work most of the time, but a moment of weakness can leave you feeling like you'll never reach your goal.

While pills and other quick-fix solutions may seem like the perfect plan, I know that healthy eating habits and exercise are the key to keeping the weigh off and reaching my goal and staying there.

Wednesday, I played the first softball game since I got pregnant. I wish I could say it was fun, but it wasn't. As I stood there at catcher all I could think was, "I don't want to do this. I'm playing in a position I hate, with a new team filled with my husband's Soldiers, of which I had not practiced with except for one day where 4 guys showed up. I was the only girl on the team, feeling humungous in my softball clothes because I had just had a baby 6-weeks earlier."

I was self-conscious every time I ran, and therefore struck out 3 times, misses 2 foul balls I would have easily caught a year ago and was tagged out at third base after I was walked. I left the field feeling like a freak and ashamed of my performance.

I know it'll take time, I just have to stick with the exercise and healthy eating, but I want results now! Today I did go to the gym for the first time and felt good after a brief run which was actually triple what I (and hubby) thought I'd be able to do. I know I just have to stay motivated. I'll get there I'm sure. I have to focus on the journey, not the destination ... Someone keep reminding me of that please!

Until our next cup of tea ...

5 Tea Party Guest:

Sue said...

Dear Michelle,

My friend, you and I have never met, and yet I know that you are beautiful. I would know this even if I had never had the pleasure of seeing your picture.
Your post is so heartfelt - so
ok, I will begin with...It's the journey, not the destination.
FOR SURE, not too many young women would even attempt to play softball 6 weeks after having a baby - and YOU did. Each game will be easier - and don't forget that every base you run, every fly ball you run to catch are part of the journey.
Losing weight is important for your good health - BUT your journey with George, and Jamie, and SGT.Maj will be filled with adventure and fun, not to mention lots of exercise when Jamie starts crawling and walking.
And while I know this weight loss is very important to you, I will just encourage you to see the wife and mommy that you are - and the love that lies in your heart for your family, and the passion that you have for doing good things. THIS is what people see first, Michelle. I promise.
Keeping you in prayer,

lime said...

the picture of you in all your pregnant glory shows you to be a beautiful woman. i know how it feels after being all deflated and flabby after birth and you have all the hormones crashing around which aren't helping, and lack of sleep i am sure. please be gentle with yourself though. to your son you are the most beautiful woman in the world. i hope george tells you the same. and 6 weeks postpartum and you're playing softball with the boys? honey, no matter how you look or how poorly you think you did just getting out there with them is impressive!

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

You are indeed a beautiful woman, the weight will come off, you will reach your destination, a health trim mother and wife. It takes time and it take effort, but no matter what size you are beautiful inward and outward.
Just take it one day at a time and before you know it, you will have reached your goal.
Good luck and keep your eye on the prize a slimmer and healthier you...

ABW said...

I was doing good to walk 6 weeks after having a baby, so you are way ahead of me! I agree with the impression society places on young girls to achieve that "perfect" body. It's one of the things that scares me most with having two girls.

Slow and steady wins the race, hang in there!

Cheryl said...

You are doing GREAT to even be thinking about exercise already!! You sound very motivated. Caleb was 9months before i even started thinking about running again so you should be very proud of yourself :)