DO YOU! LOVE YOU!
Like many women, I have struggled with my body image since I hit puberty. Puberty was not my friend. It hit me like a freaking wrecking ball; I had terrible acne, I had braces for three years, and it seemed like my boobs blew up to a size D overnight. I felt awkward because I was extremely uncomfortable with my appearance on top of being an introvert. So, this was probably when my real body image issues began.
As I grew older, my skin cleared up, and the braces came off, but, I was also gaining weight in all the wrong places. Honestly, I wasn’t eating as healthy, or exercising as much as I should have been. So why didn’t I stick to a plan and commit myself to a healthier lifestyle? It’s constantly thrown in our faces that it’s a simple process, so why is it so hard? For me, it’s due to my lack of self-worth.
I’ve never been the top student in my class, I’ve never won anything. The mean little voice in my head has been whispering in my ear “You’re not good enough” my entire life. I tried many different 21 day fixes but to no avail, although I start with excitement and motivation, it usually only lasted about 2 or 3 weeks. Then that mean little voice would wake up and say, “You failed! Big surprise again.” Then I was introduced to the idea of adopting a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to a quick fix, or even a diet. I was no longer exercising and eating healthy with my primary goal to lose weight, but I just wanted to be healthy!
My mom introduced me to a program that she had recently begun, which she truly loved. Let me tell you a little bit about my mom, so you can get where I’m coming from. She has ALWAYS been remarkably fit, although she’ll probably deny this. She’s the type of person who feels sick when she doesn’t work out, or when she eats some cheese. She has had some chronic health issues over the years, including anxiety. This woman does her research before she starts anything, so when I saw how excited she was to be sleeping better, losing some weight (when she wasn’t even trying to), and her anxiety levels had improved, I knew I needed to try it out.
Before I started this program, I had no clue how to eat healthy, for real. So, I was learning how to properly fuel my body, while detoxing with the right products. This may have been a “30-day program,” but it was so much more than that because I was able to integrate what I learned into my lifestyle afterward. I had to make changes, but I now knew what changes needed to be made! I no longer strived to lose twenty pounds, I just wanted to be healthy. That’s it. Losing weight was just a bonus!
Then, I got pregnant and of course gained everything back and then some. But that was fine because I had changed how I thought about my body. My body was creating a life, and after I gave birth, my body was keeping that little human alive. I have never been more proud of my body. Stretch marks and all, I had just achieved the greatest accomplishment that I’ll ever make.
Let’s be clear, I am still not 100% happy with how I look, but I don’t let it control my life. I don’t have an end goal; my goal is to continue on this journey of living a healthy lifestyle. I don’t step on a scale. I don’t even own a scale.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” I am guilty of this. So, I did a bit of a clean-up on my Instagram account. I unfollowed individuals that did not make me feel great about myself. I’m not saying that I unfollowed everyone who was more fit than I was, but I chose to follow those who promoted a healthy lifestyle and were honest about the struggle.
I’ve also learned that my appearance does not determine the type of person that I am. Sure, there are people out there who will judge me based on that, but I no longer beat myself up over that fear. Now I try to focus on helping others feel good. Anyone can do it! Compliments resonate with others. How do you feel when someone says, “Your makeup looks great today!” Does that not stick with you for the rest of the day?
At the end of the day, we are all different. Find what health plan makes the most sense to you, and just do your best. If you don’t find the perfect one for you right away, DON’T GIVE UP. Keep looking, keep trying, it’s so worth it. Every day is new and brings a new chance to restart.
Caitlyn is a creator, an entrepreneur, and a published author. She has overcome many obstacles in her life, but her greatest accomplishment is her daughter, Isla. On the weekends, you can usually find Caitlyn with her family walking the waterfront of Halifax, or taking advantage of the beautiful beaches that Nova Scotia has to offer. It is where she hangs her hat with her beloved husband, daughter, and dog. She believes that living a life of balance is important because chocolate is just too good to miss out on.