19 days. It's been 19 days in a row that I've been craving mozzarella sticks, and there's no end in sight. Why would I deprive myself of such cheesy goodness, you ask? Well, because I've done something that makes me want to punch myself in the face. I've made the decision to eat better.
I know. I think I'm an idiot too.
Around this time every year, we start paying more attention to our bodies. All winter long you get to hide behind oversized sweaters and leggings, with no cares in the world as to what's going on underneath it all. Eating on the couch doing absolutely no physical activity – while it snows outside – is probably one of my favorite things to do, EVER. And then before you know it, the seasons have changed and you're in quite a pickle. (Did someone say pickle? I'm starving.)
Sorry. Anyway. So, yeah…summer's here. The layered clothing gets put away and the self loathing comes out. I used to hate dressing for hot weather. Tight tank tops that wrap around my belly? No thanks. Shorts that make my thighs look like cottage cheese? Ew. A bathing suit that shows off…EVERYTHING? I'll pass. I didn't like what I saw, so why would anyone else? I assumed I would just always feel this way until I died, and I accepted it. Thankfully for me, I came face to face with my new "mom body" after having Weston, and I found a way to love every single inch of this new and improved me. I once had the hardest time finding things I liked when I looked in the mirror, let alone loved. Now it's two years later and I'm still proud as hell of everything this body of mine has to offer, and what it can do.
I think this is the part where I'm supposed to give empowering advice about how beautiful you are, and that you need to be happy with yourself and all your imperfections…and I couldn't agree more, except for one little detail. One tiny thing that people seem to forget when giving this super cliché tip to others – it's just not that easy.
You're not going to hear an enlightening quote or read your fortune cookie, and suddenly have your life changed. You won't magically look in the mirror and see all the wonderful qualities that other people see in you, just because you're told to. Looking past your "flaws" can sometimes be difficult, but the only person who can change the way you see yourself…is you.
In the past several months, I've begun to notice myself gaining weight again. Nothing serious, but definitely putting some meat on these bones. (No seriously, I typed that and then instantly smelled meat. Does anyone have steak?) I could have freaked out the second that my scale told me I had gone up a pant size…but it didn't bother me at all. In fact, it just reassured me of my comfort level in my own body. It reminded me that I'm in complete control of how I feel when I look in the mirror…and as long as I remember that, then no one else's opinions will matter. You see, after having such insecurities about my physical appearance for so long…and then finally being satisfied and feeling good about myself…I realized that I'm capable of feeling that confidence all the time – even when I'm not at my best. Even when I'm bloated and gross, and just want nachos at midnight. Even when I hop on the scale and want to kick it across the room for telling me I'm 5lb heavier than I was last week. I need to remember that I'm more than just a number on a scale. I'm more than a quick (sometimes scary) look in the mirror. All that matters is the certainty inside of the girl who looks back at me, and remembering that I hold the power to see those wonderful imperfections in myself. I don't think confidence just goes away – I think it sits somewhere inside of you, waiting to be found again. All you have to do is hold onto it and refuse to let go.
You do not need to go on crazy diets to be beautiful. You do not need to cover yourself with makeup to divert attention from your flaws. You do not need to physically enhance any part of your body. And please, oh please…do not give up on bread. If I hear one more person say "I lost all this weight by cutting out carbs!" I will stick a fork in my eye. WHY?!? We were put on this earth to live life, reproduce, and EAT BREAD. Have you learned nothing from Oprah? Say it with me now. "I LOOOOVE BREAD!"
If oprah were my friend, I bet she'd bring me bread right now…..
Okay, moving on.
We all have the power to feel good in our own skin, and it's up to us to figure out which path to take there. Do what you need to do in order to pull that self-assured side of you out, so everyone can see and feel it too. If you're self conscious about wearing a bathing suit, then find something that accentuates your body type and ROCK IT. If you don't feel comfortable with your size, or want to lose that extra bit of baby weight, grab the kids or a friend and go for daily walks in the park. If you wake up one morning feeling extra confident, make sure to take a selfie and say "YAASSSS, gorgeous!" You need to find the things that make you feel beautiful, and then use them to your advantage. If you feel good, you'll look good.
The most important lesson I've learned is that it's okay to not feel 100% thrilled about your appearance all the time. It's easier said than done, and sometimes the road to self confidence can take forever. You'll have ups, you'll have downs. You'll take 5 steps forward and 10 steps back. You'll have days where you feel proud, and other days when you wish you could change a million things about yourself. Stop wanting to look how you think you're supposed to, and start discovering the beautiful traits that you get to offer the world. Once you understand that, no one can take it from you. And the next time you come across someone who can't quite see themselves the way you do – make sure to teach them the same lesson. I think everyone could use a little confidence boost once in awhile, don't you? Especially in the middle of July.
Okay, time for a snack.
What? Oh, you honestly thought I was just giving up my not-so-healthy lifestyle? No no. I just meant that instead of 10 mozzarella sticks, I'll eat 7. Baby steps, right?
Shut up. I look beautiful the way I am! But you know what's more beautiful than me? Cheese. YUMMMM!