For quite some time now, I've had some major self-esteem/body image issues going on. Actually, it's been more like self-loathing. Ever since I went back to work full-time two years ago, keeping extra weight off has been a bit of a struggle, to say the least.
In my opinion, I'm a good 10 pounds heavier than what I consider to be an ideal weight for myself. I've tried pretty much every trick in the book to somehow squeeze back into my favorite pair of jeans -- which coincidentally I bought when I was around 25 or so.
Even though common sense tells me that at almost 37, I need to let go of the fantasy of ever looking as thin and beautiful as I did during my younger days -- it's easier said than done. I look at the photo of me above and think, "Ugh. My face looks heavy. My arms are fat. I used to be so hot and now it's all gone in the shitter."
But still -- I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. I want to feel "like I've still got it." And that's why I just can't seem to stop beating myself up over the fact that my weight keeps creeping up year after year.
But then a couple of weeks ago, I went over to my parents' house to help them pack since they are getting ready to move to Florida. And hidden in an envelope of old photos, I came across this little gem, taken when I was 25 or 26.
And I was horrified by what I saw.
This picture almost makes me want to cry. I was SO THIN -- to the point where I actually looked sick. My elbow protruded out from my body. My boobs were practically non-existent. And the way I'm sitting there with my arms folded reminds me of a 90-year-old woman sitting in a nursing home somewhere.
But the worst part isn't how painfully skinny I was. What's really sad is that I had absolutely no idea how out of hand my weight loss was getting at that point in time.
In the year prior to that photo being taken, I had lost almost 50 pounds -- but that wasn't good enough for me. I had this unrealistic goal in my head of reaching 110 pounds -- a weight that is very low for my build and also my height of around 5'6". I was counting every single calorie -- right down to a stick of gum. I was skipping meals. And until I saw this photo, I never realized that my obsessive behavior was probably on the verge of turning into a full-blown eating disorder (if it hadn't already).
But even though I was saddened and flabbergasted by how tiny I was, I'm so happy I came across this picture -- because it knocked me back down to reality again. Yes, I still want to be thin. But I sure as hell don't want to be THAT thin ever again. I want to look fit. And healthy. And have a few curves on my body.
From now on, every single time I have a negative thought about my weight pop into my head, I'm going to pull out this photo to remind me that it's better to have a little meat on my bones than to look all gaunt and sick.
If only I could've seen things in the same light 11 or 12 years ago, I sure would have saved myself a lot of unnecessary anguish. I guess hindsight really is 20/20.
Do you stress out over being heavier now than you were in your 20s?
Images via Mary Fischer