The self esteem of a woman is baffling to me. How is it that we so often undervalue ourselves, or determine our worth by others’ actions or words? I can definitely see how and why this is done, but is there a way to stop it? I am on a lifetime mission to see if this can be stopped, or at least repelled most days. There is too much in this world (from the media, to the people at work, to the people we hold most dear) telling us we are not good enough, in one way or another. It is my belief that it is how we choose to deal with this quandary, that makes us who we are, and how we will allow others to affect us.
Something that has been on my mind A LOT lately is how abuse made me fat, and what I plan to do about it. Now don’t mistake what I say for blaming someone else for my choice to stuff my face with sweets and fatty foods. I am responsible for me, my actions and my health. I know I am not a dumb woman, which is why I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how I got to be where I am, and how I can change it if I’m not happy with it.
When I was younger, I promised myself that I wouldn’t ever let myself become obese. After I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at 18, I knew that losing weight would likely always be a struggle. So I tried to stay on top of it. During every pregnancy, I gained quite a bit of weight. The year after giving birth each time, I either joined Weight Watchers and hit the treadmill hard (even though I despise running), or competed in Body for Life, and worked my fanny off. It was a lot of work, dedication and sometimes it felt like pulling teeth to shed the pounds. I stuck with it, and it always paid off. I had a strong desire to be healthier, and more fit – for myself and for my kids. After all, with tons of verbal abuse around me nearly on a daily basis, I didn’t feel I was worth a whole lot. I wanted to do what I felt I could at least control. This helped my self esteem tremendously. If we can’t get a confidence build up from someone else, then let’s create it for ourselves, right?
Even though I hated running, it became my outlet. Somewhere to release endorphins, clear my head, and to get away from other people’s behaviors that might otherwise hurt me. Running and eating better kept me going…… for a time. As I have mentioned in some other posts over the last year, I was in an abusive marriage for 11 years. From start to finish, it was negative, hard and trying. Up until about year 8, I was surviving and I was doing okay. I think I was able to maintain my happy place, if not for my sake then for that of my kids’. I did all I could to protect us and to thrive. I was done having babies at this point, and my youngest was 1 and a half. I was in good shape (for a bigger boned gal), and what happened over the next three years destroyed me.
The abuse got to be too much to handle. Nearly every time I was yelled at, I would go to the store and purchase my favorite cookies or make my own version of Chocolate Dipped Shortbread, or go through the drive thru of a near by fast food chain. I began to stuff my feelings with food. I also turned to a doctor for anti-anxiety medication, to help me deal with my feelings of angst. I felt like it was becoming more difficult to protect my kids from their father’s wrath, and this made me feel conflicted and downright awful. It became unsafe to talk to others about what went on in my home, so I got quieter and quieter about my circumstances. The quieter I got, the fatter I became. I did not deal with my situation in the healthiest way, and I know that now.
Over those three years, I gained 70 lbs. There is no describing the emotional turmoil I felt over those years, so I won’t try right now. I am grateful that I got the strength and the wisdom to see that being this type of family was only destroying myself and my kids. So I got out. (You can read more about that here) I have spent the past year and a half rebuilding my kids, and rebuilding myself. My kids are thriving and are happier than ever. Their dad is a much better father now, and I am so grateful for that. Our interactions are kept to a minimum, but we have both agreed to only speak kindly about one another, to the kids. It is working, and I am happy to say I have the kids MOST of the time, but they cherish their time with their dad.
As for me, I am happy now. I managed to find me a man who loves me for me, and all that I have to offer. He helps me to see that which I couldn’t always see in myself, before I left my prior husband. He builds me up and makes me feel like I am good enough. What I have learned though, is that just because I lost a 165 pound husband, I still had years of emotional upheaval, and 70 lbs of fat to lose. This is no easy feat. I often become impatient and want the pounds to fall right off. I am older now, and as some of you may know, being heavier makes it harder to move and workout. The pounds are sticking to me like glue, and I often beat myself up about it.
I decided that I need to take my health into my own hands now. I recently started hitting the treadmill again, and I am doing it every day. I don’t eat perfectly, but I am working at it. I release endorphins and while I still hate running, it feels so good to move and to be in control again. I am so grateful for all that I have been blessed with, and that I have the chance to better my situation. My family and home life couldn’t be better! My kids are the happiest they’ve ever been, and frankly, so am I. Now to gain more personal self control and self confidence, and undo years of bad habits! I hope you all will follow me on my journey as I rediscover myself, and my health. Be sure to follow my Instagram and tag me on your journeys, with #cleverhousewife.