I have been overweight, scratch that, fat, I’ve been fat my whole life. I don’t have an excuse, there is no excuse. I have always struggled with my weight. I love food and I am a compulsive eater. I eat when I’m happy, I eat when I’m sad, I eat when I’m bored… see a pattern yet? Anyway, it sucks.
In 2010, after getting out of an abusive relationship, I finally got my crap together. My whole life I had hidden behind my asthma, and used it as an excuse to not do much physical activity. It is no wonder that relationship was messed up. I was messed up. I did not love myself at that time as much as I should have. I was unhappy. When things ended I felt… relieved. I woke up the next day (why do breakups always happen at night?), washed my hair, carefully selected my outfit and even put on make-up (which I had not been allowed to do for several years). I felt pretty. I smiled at myself in the mirror, and even shed a tear. I was still in there, somewhere and I was finding myself again.
When I got pregnant, I was scared to balloon-up and ruin all the hard work I had achieved. So I watched what I ate very carefully, indulging here and there but always being very conscious of what was going in my body. I really felt that my pregnancy was no time to be selfish, my decisions affected my baby. Everything went great, I was really proud of the fact that I gained “only” 20lbs and that my OB always assured me that my weight gain was on track.
And then I gave birth… In the hospital, I was so busy and overwhelmed with my amazing newborn, that I did not even think about what I looked like. Visitors kept telling me I looked really good and that they couldn’t believe I had just given birth. It’s true: I felt amazing. I was glowing. I had no pain, no complications, nothing… so then, what happened? Well we went home, and I finally saw myself in the mirror. I cried.
Blame it on the hormones, maybe, but I cried. I came out of the shower and I cried. The skin of my belly was saggy, my boobs were heavy with milk and drooping. Where had all my workouts go? I raised my hands to my face to wipe the tears and noticed that even the skin on my arms was saggy. What was happening? I cried some more.
It took me weeks to look at myself in the mirror after I came out of the shower. At first I would only look if a towel was covering my body. And even then, I would only look at my face for a few seconds and then look away. I would change outfits 5-6 times before going to work, because I thought I could see my skin jiggle under my clothes. My self-esteem was at its lowest. It even affected my relationship with my husband. I kept thinking “How could he ever be attracted to THIS?!” It was terrible.
How did it get better?
Well, I am still having a hard time looking at myself in the mirror. My clothes fit me fine and my stomach skin is back to normal, but now it’s in my head. I loved my pregnant body, my huge belly and full breasts. Now I’m just chunky and my boobs have shrunk. BUT, I do feel better. Every day that goes by makes it a little bit easier to look at myself. Now I can actually look at myself in my underwear… not very long, but I can. My confidence is slowly coming back, and I have to say that it has a lot to do with my husband. He tells me I’m beautiful, even when I don’t feel like it.