Love The Skin You’re In

I am often asked about my personal health and wellness journey and story. Some people see my before pictures and don’t even believe that the person before them is actually me. As crazy as this may seem, at one point in my journey it was difficult for me to admit that the woman in those photos from the past is indeed who I was at the time, and it became more difficult to share my personal journey and photos because of this. 20151213_115818

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: sharing my story wasn’t difficult because of the way I previously looked. The difficulty became apparent once I willingly allowed myself to become so unhealthy internally that it reflected externally and put me at high risk of medical issues.

I have never been an insecure person when it comes to my looks, appearance, or body image. Taking in the opinions of other people’s reactions once they saw my progress then became an issue.

In a fitness-crazed and trendy world, it’s common to see before and after photos. However, it is rare for those in this field to allow others to witness their progress as their journeys unfold. After final results are shown, people only notice the physical changes displayed after one embarks on a health and wellness lifestyle. But it seems to me that many fail to notice that the change itself starts on the inside. No one ever notices how other’s reactions can truly alter your own personal thoughts about your progress.

Think about the last time you saw your friend or family member who had embarked on some kind of “diet”, weight loss regimen, or healthy lifestyle journey. Your first thought usually is, “wow, they look good.” So are you saying they didn’t look good before? Are you saying they look better now? I’m confused. This was my reaction when I first started to receive comments, feedback, and “compliments” from my progress and results. For a while, because of this, I was self-conscious to reveal my previous photos. My new morale became overshadowed, ironically, by the self-confidence and contentment I held with myself in the past. However, acknowledging this duality allowed me to embrace myself now in the present more than ever before, and I am proud to say that no matter what stage of life that I’m in, that I AM BEAUTIFUL NO MATTER HOW I LOOK.

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It is very important that you are mindful of what you say to people. Comments and pseudo compliments can alter someone else’s thoughts and perceptions. I remember hearing, “you look great”, “thank God you decided to change.” Like, what the hell was that supposed to mean? I remember thinking to myself, “thank God I decided to change?”— for my health?…. or for my looks? … I still, to this day, don’t get it. I witness this every day on social media and in person, everyone making loose comments and giving half-hearted “compliments” to those embarking on their health and wellness journeys without taking the time to think about what it is they are actually trying to say. My advice is to take this old rule into account: think before you speak. As the New Year rolls around, many of you will be embarking on lifestyle journeys and I want to give you a little advice: there are going to be plenty of people with lots of things to say. I advise you to not take these “compliments” to heart. Don’t let those “compliments” fuel your journey and path. Continue on your own path for YOU because at the end of the day, no one has to live in your body and skin but YOU, so embrace YOURSELF no matter your size, shape, or weight. Love yourself always. Happy Holidays!

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